Sun Times columnist goes shooting


April 27, 2007, 05:08 PM
We always talk about taking people shooting, especially members of the media.

I've offered more than a few times to take media and political types folks that have never handled a gun tot he range. Once ina w hile someone take sme up on it.

Here's an article from todays Chicago Sun Times, from a non-shooter columnist, Neal Steinberg (sp?).

He may not turn into a full time shooter, but at least he'll know a little more about what he's talking about.

You can find the entire column here:,CST-NWS-stein27.article

Adventures in weaponry

'How do you know he won't shoot you?" Spoken by my wife, standing in the kitchen as I grab the car keys.

I am hurrying to meet a reader, one of many who offered to go shooting with me after I was turned away from Maxon Shooters Supplies in Des Plaines. (No FOID Card)

The thought never crossed my mind; I'm not significant enough to shoot. It isn't as if I'm unearthing atrocities in Chechnya.

The reader, Chuck is waiting at the gun range when I arrive: black leather jacket, about my age and height, apparently sane. An insurance adjuster.

He has a small arsenal of weaponry in locked cases -- a matte black Browning 9 mm, a Colt .45 automatic, a nickel-plated Smith & Wesson .357 magnum, a .22 Harrington & Richardson revolver and a .22 rifle.

We sit at a table and go over the guns, only a portion of his collection, the size of which he doesn't specify beyond "quite a few."

Why so many? I ask, explaining my theory that men assemble big armories as part of elaborate, if unspoken, end-of-the world fantasies.

No, he says, it's a matter of collecting, of appreciation.

"They're a work of art," Chuck says. "My wife is into Beanie Babies, and I do this."

Fair enough. They are sleek.

He hands me material on gun safety. It takes 30 seconds to read -- treat all guns as if they're loaded, don't point them at something you don't want to shoot, etc. -- but I shudder to think of how many people buy the ranch ignoring them.

Then to the range,

Shooting guns is fun. I could lard that thought with all kinds of caveats and expressions of regret about mass killings. But save politics for another day. I learned a lot -- a .22 caliber bullet is tiny next to a .45 slug, a pencil eraser compared to a pinkie. The .357 magnum does not have a kick like in the movies.

At least not in my hands. A lifetime of video games serves me well -- I plant all 16 shots from the .22 in the innermost target ring, and do well even with the large caliber guns. The first shot from a new clip with the .45 is a dead-center bull's-eye.

"*******," mutters Chuck, massaging the word into a compliment.

I save a pair of human-shaped targets for the boys, figuring they can decorate their rooms with them. Boys love that kind of thing.

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April 27, 2007, 05:14 PM
That is the first time I have seen a curse word printed in an article in a major newspaper.

April 27, 2007, 05:15 PM
hey it's a start

April 27, 2007, 05:16 PM
The best way to bring people over to our side is to take them shooting. Especially fence sitters.

April 27, 2007, 05:26 PM
Nice article and thanks for what looks to have turned a fence sitter, "he's taking human shaped targets home for teh boys to put on the bedroom walls".

I may extend the offer to a few local writers in the LA times & Daily News If nithing more they can become well educated and see that normal, law abiding, professional people and enjoy the sport. If it wasn't a sport it wouldn't be in the olympics.

Good choice of guns as well. I wish however you would have brought an AR or AK so he coud have seen that they're not the "evil" black guns they're made out to be. In addition tho the handguns, I would have brought a mini-14 and an AR and showed hm that the action is the same. Why one is illegal to posess and the other isn't.

Thanks again for helping to educate someone with the influence of the pen and a substatntial readership.

Gordon Fink
April 27, 2007, 05:43 PM
Maybe the .22 rifle was an AR-15. :neener:

I shudder to think of how many people buy the ranch ignoring them.
Statistically speaking, almost none.

~G. Fink

April 27, 2007, 06:56 PM
He may not have turned a fence-sitter, but he may have turned a mild anti into a fence sitter.

Still good in my book! :D

April 27, 2007, 09:03 PM
Good work, I think his article was very honest. He expresses how many people view guns.
His comment that guns are fun to shoot sums up the reason I own them and shoot them. In part it answers the question "why so many".

April 27, 2007, 09:26 PM
Over the years I have averaged about 1 taker in 20 when it comes to offers to take non-shooters out the first time. Strangely enough, more of the women have become regular shooters than men.

There is a look ladies get in their eyes when they first realize they can control a handgun or shotgun as well as man...sometimes its even a little scary.

April 27, 2007, 10:51 PM
For many years, our club hosted a "News Media Challenge" shoot.

All the various media entities were visited in person by a couple of members who were often attired in mild "theme" decor. For instance, we delivered feudal-times challenges via members in middle-ages clothing with a very florid and fancy "script" challenge, or guys in trench-coats, fedoras and Thompsons, with pieced-together "ransom notes", or Native costuming with muzzle-loaders, and the challenge burned onto leather, etc etc.

We had very good response from TV, radio and newspapers alike in our small town.

Assembling a group of competent shooters as instructors and coaches, in various years the newsfolk shot a wide variety of firearms....magnum pistols, some trap, smallbore rifle and pistol, "elephant" guns, muzzleloaders, you name it. There was a revolving championship trophy, kept by the winners for one year.

It gave us a chance to show that guns can be fun, must be respected, and do not have inherent evil in them. It also gave us valuable "ins" for contacting media with our concerns, and the event was also widely publicized.... POSITIVE press for shooters and our hobby.

April 27, 2007, 11:19 PM
That's a Damn Fine Idea...

Get 'em competing against each other... Channel 5 is gonna wanna whip Channel 2...

April 28, 2007, 12:13 AM
Shooting guns is fun.

We know that guns are an excellent means of personal defense, but it wasn't all about training when I sent 300 rds downrange earlier this evening. It is, like the man said, just plain old fun.

April 28, 2007, 02:11 AM
I would say that probably 95% of my shooting is done purely for fun. Really, I just like to shoot. Home and personal defense is a big part of why I own guns, and I have trained enough to feel that I can competently defend myself, but when I go shooting, I shoot because it is fun and because I enjoy spending time with my buddies. I grew up with a dad that was and remains a hardcore gunny, and I got drawn into his world at a very young age because it was fun for him, not because he was constantly working on close-combat drills or his concealed carry draw.

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