I got a rifle at 13, now I’m an ER doc: Assault weapons shouldn’t count as guns: Commentary

I got a rifle at 13, now I’m an ER doc: Assault weapons shouldn’t count as guns: Commentary

Before Congress passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, Americans owned about 400,000 AR-15s, the most popular of these military-style weapons. Today, 17 years after Congress failed to reauthorize the ban, Americans own about 20 million AR-15-style rifles or similar weapons. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Getty Images Many who know me might be shocked by this: I shot my first pistol when I was 8 or 9, taught by my father, a physician, aiming at targets in our basement. At summer camp, I loved riflery the way some kids loved art. Staring through the sight, down the barrel, I proved an excellent shot, gathering ever more advanced medals from the National Rifle Association. As a reward, for my 13th birthday, my uncle gave me a .22 Remington rifle. I did not grow up on a farm or in a dangerous place where we needed protection. I grew up in the well-off, leafy suburb of Scarsdale, New York. When I entered high school in the 1970s, I joined the riflery team and often slung my cased gun over my shoulder on my mile-long walk to school for practice. It didn’t seem dissonant that, on other mornings, I went to the train station to join protests against the Vietnam War. Since then, the United States has undergone a cultural, definitional, practical shift on guns and what they are for. Once mostly associated in the public mind with sport, guns in the United States are now widely regarded more as […]

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