National News

NC gun range hosts 'machine gun social'

Posted April 10, 2018 10:31 a.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2018 3:11 p.m. EDT

— A gun range owner in Brevard gave people a chance to shoot fully automatic weapons Monday. Assault-style weapons have been a big topic since the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.

Fully automatic means the gun fires continuously from the moment the trigger is pulled until it is released.

"Today is a machine gun social," explained Bear Arms co-owner Justin Fisher.

For $25, plus the price of ammunition, people got to try a fully automatic weapon, like a Vietnman-era M-60.

"It's a very cheap and inexpensive way for you to come out and have a fun afternoon and get your hands on something you'd normally never get to see, let alone utilize," Fisher said.

"That's cool," exclaimed Lindsay Bowen, who shot the M-60.

People who finished firing wore the same expression: a smile.

"It's a great experience. I think everyone should have it," said Zane Shipman, who shot a couple automatic weapons.

'I carried that thing, (referring to a Thompson machine gun), for about a week in Vietnam. It's just nostalgia for me. I love it. It's fun. It brings back old memories too," the gun's owner said.

It is illegal for a private citizen to own a fully automatic weapon made after 1986. Older automatic weapons can be owned through a longer purchasing process, and Fisher explained those guns aren't cheap.

"You put $60,000 out there, and you just kind of sit around and wait for a year and hope. They say, all right, we're good now. Then you get a special stamp from the ATF that says, OK, you can own this gun," Fisher said.

"It's not exactly the cheapest thing in the world, but I enjoy it. It's worth it," the Thompson's owner said.

Recent gun control discussions have been about bump stocks and assault weapons. The gun used to kill and injured dozens of Florida high school students recently was an AR-15, which looks like the M-4 at Bear Arms. But, it's different, because an AR-15 is semi-automatic.

"You get one shot for every pull of the trigger," Fisher said, explaining what semi-automatic means.

He understands that people have fear of guns, but he said an event like the machine gun social can help relieve that fear.

"A lot of fear that comes from firearms is just either inexperience, bad experience or just they don't know any better," he said.

Bear Arms holds a fully automatic event about once a year.