At the height of the ignorant war on AR-15’s with their “assault-style” capacities, the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot and Trade Show hosted their 14th Annual event whereby legitimate assault weapons were made available to civilians. Hundreds of people lined up to shoot a variety of fully automatic weapons—an opportunity that, despite what the media might tell you, isn’t common or generally accessible to civilians. A row spanning the distance of at least a football field held shooters of indiscriminate age, gender, and race, all grinning ear-to-ear as they got their first taste of the adrenaline and thrill that automatic weapons induce.
I know that liberal minds are exploding right now. How is it possible that civilians had those big bad assault weapons in their hands, but didn’t go crazy on everyone? How is it possible that no one got hurt? Well, my liberal friends, I hate to break it to you but most gun owners and enthusiasts are mentally stable, law-abiding, and don’t seek to hurt others. The OFASTS event was a meticulously controlled and undeniably safe environment with range safety officers watching like hawks. For every individual that laid their hands on a weapon, there was another person at their back making sure the muzzle pointed downrange at all times. The only danger that could be drawn from this event was getting sunburned, or being hit with ejected brass if you’re an unfortunate lefty like myself. ;)
This event really had me drawing comparisons between Gersh Kuntzman’s recent article on firing an AR-15, and the young children I witnessed shooting these powerful automatic weapons. Kuntzman, a grown man, claimed that the AR-15 sounded like a canon or a bazooka. He claimed that he was bruised from firing it. He even claimed that the experience gave him a temporary form of PTSD. Hey dude, I saw little girls that were less of a sissy than you, firing weapons that put a semi-automatic AR-15 to shame. These little kids were not bruised. They didn’t leave with PTSD and anxiety. I only saw children leave with smiles on their faces. Now this is where someone interjects and says we’re raising homegrown terrorists by letting children shoot (I literally just had this conversation with someone). I beg to differ. We’re taking the curiosity and fear away, and replacing it with knowledge on safety, range etiquette, and proper handling.
One very interesting aspect of this event was the presence of a New York writer. When I saw him walking around, I knew he couldn’t be from the Midwest. He was sweating bullets, not used to the Oklahoma heat and humidity. His sunscreen was smeared and pooling down his legs. His face was beat red. When he introduced himself as a writer, knowing that he couldn’t be from around here, I asked, “pro or anti?” He laughed a little bit at that because there had been some apprehension from other exhibitors/attendants on whether they should be talking to him or not. After getting a little bit more in depth with our conversation, he made it clear that he only wanted to write an objective truth. He wanted to know why people come out to events like OFASTS. He even got behind a few of the guns and admitted to me that after the hesitation and fear, he actually had fun. What we needed was 10 more people like him; people who challenge the unknown or the “norm.” Maybe he did have bias and subjectivity going into the event, but I hope he realized that we do this for fun, not because we have a desire to hurt innocent people. John, I commend you for coming out and experiencing something well outside of your comfort zone. Thank you!
Overall, I had two favorite moments from OFASTS. Early on in the day was the “Kill the Car” event. This is where an empty car—the ISIS taxi—rolls down the hill and everyone open fires on it. It was the commencement of this event that I favor, though. I don’t even know what it was, so pardon my ignorance, but huge shock waves hit the ground in the far off distance to signal a “go” for shooting the car. Never in my life have I experienced something so powerful. It shook the ground and momentarily paralyzed me for the shear awe of it. It was incredible! I think even the shooter I was paroling was taken aback, as she took a brief pause before starting to shoot. This same form of commencement also preceded the night shoot, which was my overall favorite experience from the event. The last time I took part in a night shoot was in basic training nine years ago…and it had nothing on this. The black sky was ablaze with orange tracers, led by the sounds of rapid fire. 4th of July fireworks pale in comparison to the sight, sounds, and smell of this night shoot. Do I have to wait another year for this to come around again?!
I highly recommend putting this on your calendar for next year. If you decide to join, bring sunscreen, water, and heavy duty ear protection. ;)
Theresa Vail is a member of the Kansas Army National Guard, Miss Kansas 2013, and current Host of NRA All Access.
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