I fired an assault rifle once.

I held an AR-15 in my hands. I pulled the trigger.  The weapon kicked against my shoulder and fired several shots at a target.

How did this come about?

I was attending a daylong FBI instructional seminar for members of the media in a suburb of Detroit. My editors at the time thought my attendance would help with source-building.

After various lectures, a dozen of us fired various handguns for about 30 minutes before each being given a turn with the AR-15.

Many of my colleagues got an adrenaline rush from the target practice.

“Did you feel that kick?” some shouted.

I felt absolutely nothing.  If anything, I was uncomfortable.

I recalled this day, which was six years ago, after details began emerging from the horrific Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn. elementary school shootings.  The gun control debate rages on and I’ve been vocal about my disdain for firearms.

I don’t begrudge hunters the right to carry rifles.  Although I never want a handgun in my house, I understand why some demand the right to carry one.

I also know that most firearms owners are responsible.

But I still can’t figure out why the average citizen needs an assault rifle?

For that kick?

For that rush?

Sorry.  You’re not going to convince me.

The debates will continue. The National Rifle Association will remain polarizing. 

I felt one thing when I heard NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre utter these words: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Complete anger.

His argument of arming schools is nonsensical and out of touch.

And then I remembered.

I fired an assault rifle once.

And I hated it.

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Copyright © 2012 Ben Schmitt; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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