Politics doesn’t just threaten our freedom, it also can take the fun out of what shouldn’t be political.
I acknowledged this reality but still let myself smile when testing Mossberg’s 590 Shockwave. The 590 Shockwave is a pump-action shotgun with a stock that stops at its pistol grip. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) classifies the 590 Shockwave as a “firearm,” not as a heavily regulated Class 3/NFA firearm (such as a shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches).
With a little practice I had no trouble busting going-away clay birds with the 590 Shockwave with shots from the hip. Later, just after sunset, I joined other writers as we shot 590 Shockwaves equipped with Crimson Trace’s Lasersaddle LS-250 laser sights to take out static targets fast on a hillside. With the laser sight attached, this is certainly a handy home-defense option.
In lulls between testing the gun and sighting system, people kept remarking that it is awesome that this fun-to-shoot gun is available, as these days the anti-gun-freedom movement sees guns that are new, innovative, or novel as being especially easy to demonize—and by vilifying them they hope to get them banned for no reason other than that these people don’t trust Americans with their freedom.
Anti-gun groups have pushed to make so-called “smart gun” technology mandatory not to “evolve” firearms, but rather because they know this would ban everything else in the incredibly diverse marketplace of guns. They want to ban so-called “assault weapons” because they say they’re too militaristic (this when just about every small-arms design used by the military has been and is being used by American citizens; indeed, often private citizens used them first). By saying modern sporting rifles are “militaristic” they are saying popular semi-automatic rifles are too “high-tech” for American citizens to shoot for sport or to use for self-defense, even though Colt sold the AR-15 to consumers during the same year (1963) it first began selling the M16 to the US military. Anti-gun groups have also gone after .50-caliber rifles and other calibers and designs as they push their illogical and often ignorant reasoning that gun-technology available to American consumers should be pushed back in time, as in back to America’s founding period.
Some are even using government power to push financial institutions into not doing business with gun manufacturers.
These gun-ban groups and politicians hate that the Supreme Court’s ruling (Heller v. D.C.) ruled that the Second Amendment protects the American individual’s right to own firearms that are in “common use.”
Shooting the 590 Shockwave also reminded me of Taurus’ surprisingly popular Judge, a revolver that takes both .410 shotshells and .45 Colt ammunition. The Judge is also a good home-defense option—and very fun to shoot.
The cool-factor and fun-factor do drive a lot of gun sales. This fact isn’t lost on gun manufacturers. Even the anti-gun crowd knows this about the consumer market; they, in fact, fear this attribute, as it is hard to ban something that millions upon millions of law-abiding people simply enjoy using.
Gun control activists also treat old but hip gun technology as if it is so new it can’t be trusted in the hands of American citizens. For perspective, realize that semi-automatic designs were so popular with civilians a century ago that a 1907 magazine ad for the Savage Model 1907 read: “Her property—her little ones—her own life—she knows are safely protected when she has a Savage Automatic in her home. She knows its ten sure shots are at her command—quick or slow, as she chooses—one to each trigger pull.”
Some states, especially California, are further restricting gun designs, capacity and more to try to stop the consumer market. This is a real burden on individual freedom in some states and is in danger of spreading further if Michael Bloomberg’s deep pockets manage to influence enough voters to vote away their freedom on Nov. 6.
Back at the range, we all walked away smiling after shooting this Mossberg and also a bolt-action rifle, made by a small Montana gun manufacturer called Noreen Firearms. that was chambered in .50 BMG at a 1,000-yard target.
Good, law-abiding Americans are pushing innovation and having a heck of good time in the process. During such times it’s unfortunate we have to stop and think about things like this midterm election, an election in which Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is hoping to take power so, as she recently said, she can push new gun-control laws through Congress, but freedom isn’t something we can ever take for granted.