I don’t want to debate the Second Amendment.
I don’t want to argue about what the “AR” in the name means – just accept it as a reference to semi-automatic firing rifles, regardless of name or number.
I don’t want to rehash arguments about mandatory registration, training, and licensing – although arguments can be made in their favor.
I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns.
What I want to do is find a path that permits responsible people to own and use their rifles appropriately.
Let’s accept the notion that AR-15 type rifles are used for sport. I think we can dispense with the idea that they are useful for hunting, so what kind of sport can they be used for, and under what circumstances would those sporting activities be safe?
The term “sports” normally conveys a sense of competition. So why not focus on building a set of sporting activities involving competitive elements using AR-15 type rifles. I’m not a gun enthusiast (though I was a gun owner in my youth and learned to shoot safely and accurately) so I can’t provide specific examples. But most sporting competitions involve contests of speed, accuracy, concentration, and teamwork, among other elements.
Sports activities often involve special venues in order to facilitate the competition and foster safe practices during the sport. For AR-15 type rifles, special ranges would seem to be in order (along the lines of Hogan’s Alley?), along with an agreed upon set of procedures and rules and a system for review of players’ actions during the sport (referees or umpires). Perhaps local groups could form teams that would compete at State, Regional, and National contests.
Finally, there must be concern about how and where the sports equipment is stored when not used for practice or competition. Most people recognize that these are dangerous devices in the hands of untrained, undisciplined, or malignant individuals. Under ideal conditions firearms of this sort would be secured in such manner to permit free access by their owners. Secure storage options could be available at the sporting venues, with procedures in place to prevent access by unqualified individuals.
These ideas are not impossible to achieve, but it would take a lot of effort by a lot of dedicated sportsmen (and women) to accomplish. It is a shame that there is not a national organization dedicated to supporting firearms sports. (There used to be, but it abandoned its foundational principles decades ago.) Perhaps it is time for sportsmen across America to work with one another to make progress on this thorny issue.
February 18, 2018