Weapons of a War That Was Too Close to Home


After a senseless tragedy like what happened in Sutherland Springs last week, the gun-control crowd will inevitably complain about the “weapons of war” on the streets of America; by that, they mean the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. This is a silly, silly argument because almost every gun in existence, from the handgonnes of the 14th century to Kentucky long rifles to Samuel Colt’s revolver to today’s AR-15, was first used on the battlefield. For centuries, the general populace has used these guns for the same reasons that soldiers use them: to defend lives and protect what is near and dear to them.

My father-in-law was one of those men. He served in the Army in World War II, then worked for the Forest Service in the Tonto Basin of Arizona until he retired 40 years later.

His ancestors were some of the first settlers in Tonto Basin, but they never were rich. He and his family worked for the people who got rich off the land. As such, his guns were working guns, and these are two of them. They’re both bolt-action Springfield rifles in .30-06, and they’re the only two “weapons of war” I own. By that, I mean they’re the only two guns that have seen military service.

Two actual weapons of war.

The M1903 in the foreground is decrepit and unusable. The stock is in tatters, the front sight is silver-soldered on and it’s in the 40xxx serial number range, which means the receiver was probably not heat-treated correctly and is unsafe to shoot. I’ll still keep it around, though, both for its sentimental value and because I like the idea of owning something that was made in 1904. 

The M1903A3 in the back is another story. I don’t know when it was sporterized, but whoever did it didn’t bed the action correctly, something I learned when I took it to my gunsmith to have the scope added. The gun (with the scope) will now do 1.5” groups at 100 yards, and it will probably be passed down to one of my sons when my time here is over.

This rifle was in the hands of my father-in-law when he stayed up all night long, sitting on the front porch of his home in Payson, AZ watching the Dirty Dozen motorcycle gang ride up and down the road outside his property, threatening violence on him, his wife, and my future wife.

I don’t have many guns with an emotional attachment, but these are two of them. Are they “weapons of war?” Yes. Is war something that happens only overseas? When there are two dozen outlaw bikers on the warpath just outside your home, threatening to destroy all you hold dear, war suddenly becomes very, very close to home.

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  1. Member

    Feinstein’s Folly with my commentary in brackets:

    ‘‘The term ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’ means any of the following, regardless of country of manufacture or caliber of ammunition accepted: [.22LR must be assault ammo while ammo that will take down a bear isn’t]
    (A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any 1 of the following: [lefties really hate magazines, no matter the size]
    (i) A pistol grip. [Why does it matter if it has a pistol grip? They are safer than the old fashion stock because the shooter can grip it better.]
    (ii) A forward grip. [Again, a safety feature. Enables better control. Does nothing for the rate of fire.]

    (iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock. [Folding stocks enable storage in smaller areas. Detachable stocks enable customizing. It is a tinker toy gun. That has nothing to do with lethality. Telescoping stocks are also a safety feature. They allow the shooter to adjust the correct distance from shoulder to anything he must hold on to. Kids, women, and men can shoot the same gun, adjusting for size. A hunter can adjust it to compensate for additional clothing like a heavy coat.]
    (iv) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher. [When has this ever been used in a crime? Maybe they think we can attach one of those assault chainsaws to it.]
    (v) A barrel shroud. [This is just a cover over the hot barrel to prevent burns. In their sick logic, a wooden cover on just the bottom half that exposes top half that could burn you is OK, but cover up the whole barrel so you can’t get burned and that is bad. They also have attachment points for optics and slings.]
    (vi) A threaded barrel.” [so what. They don’t want me to add a muzzle brake so the pointy end doesn’t ride up or a flash suppressor so I won’t be blinded by the flash if using it for self-defense at night in my house? ]

    The bill even admits the barrel cover is to prevent burns:

    “The term ‘barrel shroud’ (A) means a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel of a firearm so that the shroud protects the user of the firearm from heat generated by the barrel…”

    I didn’t see it but they have previously banned bayonet lugs even though no rifle with a bayonet has been used in a crime and the bayonet lug on an AR 16″ has no function since it is too far back to attach and use a bayonet.

    If they ever pass this, I am disassembling my AR into its many little parts and stashing them in every little nook and cranny until we can kick their tyrannical butts out of Congress.

    Think about it. For every law abiding gun owner they want to lock up, they must let a real criminal out to make room.

    • #1
    • November 13, 2017 at 8:06 pm