Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The New 'Murican Pastime: "Machine Gun Shoots"

It's Saturday morning, and after a big breakfast of hominy grits, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and scrambled eggs, Junior, Missy, Dad Buford and Mom "Bertie" are off to the local machine gun shoot. They will be able to get into the venue for a measly $8 entry fee and then fire away at assorted targets- including paper posters of Osama Bin Laden's head- for only a nominal gun  rental fee. A lucky few will actually be able to get their paws on the same kind of machine gun that killed Osama bin Laden, a weapon that can spit out 900 bullets a minute.

The family will also have its choice of 200 different machine guns to see how much stuff they can blow away in a given amount of time. In the afternoon they will actually be able to try "sniper shots" and at dusk  be able to fire with tracers lighting up the sky.  In the local case, Dad Buford might even be reprimanded by a big hairy guy full of tattoos if he doesn't fire his weapon with abandon. That dude is liable to bark: “Stop firing little bursts, you’re not getting the real fun of the gun. This time, when you pull the trigger, keep holding it down until every bullet is gone.”

You may be astonished to learn that in gun crazy America - according to The Denver Post today, barely 3 percent of the adult population own half of all the guns. And Americans as a whole, own 99 percent of the guns in the world. If that doesn't blow your mind I don't know what will. Also, owning a machine gun - like the HK 416 - is perfectly legal. They require only a federal permit and a background check, which typically take six to eight months to complete.

The real delimiter is that  the guns themselves are priced out of the hands of most people, with $8,000 being a bargain-basement sticker. (Hence, accounting for the explosion of "machine gun shoots" so average Joes and Janes can get their jollies and thrill firing at assorted rocks, bottles, trees and paper images of OBL.

Personally, I'd rather use that kind of bread for trips to Vegas and Barbados - flying first class. But hey, that's me. I basically got all the target shooting (including testing the "jet effect" balderdash proposed by Luis Alvarez -  to explain the JFK backward head snap-   out of my system back in 1968, e.g.

Test firing a .22 bolt action rifle with hollow point bullets outside of New Orleans in August, 1968.

Why the very high prices, say compared to the semi-automatic AR-15 (which as I showed last Dec. 15,  can easily be converted to automatic by removing the sear and a few other key components). Anyway, blame the high prices on  a federal law that banned the manufacture of machine guns for private use in 1986.

With far fewer guns, and the powerful law of supply and demand, prices went through the roof. So  an automatic M-16 that used to go for $300 in 1986 is a $27,000 gun today. Incredibly,
despite those price tags, private citizens have registered more than 543,000 machine guns with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (including more than 33,000 in Florida).

According to the purveyors of machine gun shoots, the great thing about partaking is that you don't have to already have an owner registration to rent one. SO, even a ten year old kid can fire away so long as he listens to Mr. Tatoo'ed Terry and doesn't fire blindly or foolishly.

It's a win -win according to the machine gun shoot promoters, like here in Colorado Springs. Thus the guns are acquired by the shooter outfits and ranges  with federal firearms-dealer licenses, and though they can’t be resold except to military, police or other authorized agencies, it’s perfectly legal to rent them to customers who want a chance to shoot a weapon they’ve probably only seen in the movies.

Still, it's a pity the era seems to be long passed when the whole family would rather spend a day at Everglades National Park instead,

December, 1957, the Stahl family near Everglades National Park.

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