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Triggered: NY Daily News Columnist Says Firing AR-15 Gave Him Temporary Case Of PTSD

We now know that the Orlando killer didn’t use the AR-15 rifle, but, alas, liberals couldn’t help themselves demonize a long gun that’s owned by millions of Americans. The New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman went so far as to fire an AR-15 rifle. This should be viewed as a fantastic opportunity to fire one of the finest rifles in the country. 


Yet, for many on the anti-gun Left, actually going to a gun range and shooting firearms is akin to selling you soul to the devil. It’s anathema to them. I don’t know if Kuntzman is a card-varying member of the anti-gun movement, but one thing is clear: he didn’t like shooting it, he got frazzled by it, and he felt like he was firing a bazooka. Of course, references to Orlando were included, but no—I’m not kidding that his outing to the gun range… triggered him [emphasis mine]:

It feels like a bazooka — and sounds like a cannon.


…Frank Stelmach of Double Tap Shooting Range and Gun Shop invited me, videographer Michael Sheridan and reporter Adam Shrier to come down. Stelmach is not like many gun lovers. He admires his weaponry, yes, and has difficulty explaining why law-abiding citizens need a gun that can empty a 40-round clip in less than five seconds. But he also hates the idea that “bad people” get a hold of a gun like this and use it to kill without difficulty.


The recoil bruised my shoulder. 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 case 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. In fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in front of your barrel.

All it takes is the will to do it.

Forty-nine people can be gone in 60 seconds.


First, Kuntzman said firing an AR-15 felt like a “bazooka.” I would like to know where this came about for him since I want to try. I’ve never fired a bazooka, which would be over the shoulder, so I don’t see how this relates to the AR-15. Second, it’s pretty clear that the AR-15 that Kuntzman fired was only semi-automatic. Stelmach notes that while detailing the weapon in the video. Yes, you can modify an AR-15 to make it automatic, though automatic weapons (in general) are regulated by the ATF. You need to pay $200 for the tax stamp, and you and your firearm are added into a federal database under the National Firearms Act. Bob Owens at our sister site, Bearing Arms, probably would have more on this matter, but like the overwhelming majority of AR-15 rifles—this one is semiautomatic, and only semiautomatic (i.e. one round per trigger pull). Last, he suffered from PTSD from the experience. Is this satire? Is this the anecdote of a drama queen? The “smell of sulfur and destruction,” disorientation by the brass casings being ejected, and the bruise he reportedly received; what was he shooting?

The recoil from an AR-15 rifle is virtually nil due to the massive spring located in the buttstock. The description of him freaking out, notable the sulfur and destruction observations are frankly absurd, and the PTSD remark is plain offensive.


I’ve fired an AR-15 many, many times. I never had an emotional episode, besides outright joy (they’re fun!). These rifles are easy to shoot, reload, and light in weight. It makes them optimal choices for hunting, target practice, shooting sports, and self-defense. It’s because of these reasons that a lot of women are looking to AR-15 rifles as their friends.

And it’s not the most powerful weapon. A hunting rifle is far more powerful than the AR-15, which is one of the biggest misconceptions made about the weapon system in the media. In some states, you can’t use the typical .223/5.56 round the AR-15 uses because it won’t kill the animal efficiently, leading to unnecessary suffering. In many ways, the AR-15 isn’t so different (operationally) from a handgun. The AR-15 isn’t the boogeyman—and it has nothing to do with what occurred in Orlando. Yet, the media decided to run with it, and now we must fight back against a false narrative.

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