New York Daily News reporter Gersh Kuntzman likely didn’t set out to become the story when he took a trip to Frank Stelmach’s gun shop in Philadelphia to fire an AR-15. The owner of Double Tap Shooting Range and Gun Shop invited Kuntzman and his colleagues after several requests were turned down, leading to an interesting look at the weapon in action and a common sense standpoint on the status of gun ownership.
It isn’t perfect, but Kuntzman and Stelmach help to paint a picture of the AR-15 that is both acceptable for it to be owned by private citizens, but still points out that it is a weapon capable of immense damage. But it’s Kuntzman’s closing claim in his report that ruffled a few feathers across the Internet:
The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.
Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened. If illegally modified to fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in front of your barrel.
Poor choice of words. The entire report didn’t sit well with many who support the second amendment, prompting Kuntzman to write a follow-up on the many responses and messages he received. But this came after an update was added to the initial article for his use of the term “PTSD.”
Many people have objected to my use of the term “PTSD” in the above story. The use of this term was in no way meant to conflate my very temporary anxiety with the very real condition experienced by many of our brave men and women in uniform. I regret the inarticulate use of the term to describe my in-the-moment impression of the gun’s firepower, and apologize for it.
The secondary article is full of a lot of gifts, though. It compiles all of the opinions posted in opposition to Kuntzman’s article, highlighting how strong the lines are between the pro and anti gun crowds. This one in particular has a memorable tone:
“Hey there Cupcake!” wrote Gary Haney. “I have never subscribed to the idea of ‘gender confusion,’ but after reading your article on the AR-15, I’m a believer because there is no way you and I are the same gender. You should surrender your testicles to the Department of Girlymen. I’m not sure where it’s located, but your girlfriend Barack does!”
And then Erick Erickson chimed in as well, claiming that his 10-year-old daughter could shoot better AND is tougher than Gersh Kuntzman.
Just note that these are people who are the voices of the debate. Talking about how tough kids are and claiming that shooting a gun left them haunted. Then again, nothing should be unexpected at this point. Sandy Hook happened in 2012 and we’re still talking.