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After Orlando nightclub shooting, Owners of AR-style firearms defend their weapons

Associated Press

ATLANTA — Karen Butler still remembers the first time she picked up an AR15-style rifle a decade ago.

“Quite honestly, I was scared of it,” she recalls.

But as soon as she fired it, she became a fan.

“You know some of these people that are fearful, it’s just because they don’t have knowledge,” she said. “We call it furniture — it’s got all the accessories on it that make it look a little intimidating. But once you shoot it you realize it’s so much fun.”

Butler, of Huntsville, Alabama, started Shoot Like a Girl, an outfit that seeks to introduce and inspire women to participate in shooting sports.

Even the name stirs up controversy. “AR” does not stand for “assault rifle,” as many believe, but for ArmaLite Rifle, a nod to the company that first designed it for military use. Assault weapons are fully automatic; the bullets keep flying for as long as the trigger is depressed. AR-style guns are semiautomatic, meaning the trigger has to be pulled separately for each shot.

More than 12,000 people were killed last year in the United States by guns, and most of those incidents involved handguns. A tiny fraction involved an AR-style gun.

But of those, most have been high-profile shootings, including the nightclub shooting in Orlando, where Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer MCX model in an attack that killed 49 people.

That shooting has revived calls for banning ARs among critics who believe it is too powerful and too deadly, with standard magazines that hold 20 to 30 rounds, compared with handguns that generally hold nine to 15 rounds.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for reinstating a ban that expired in 2004. “We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war,” Clinton said after the June 12 shooting.

For Dara Humphries, the AR-style firearm isn’t to be feared or banned. Rather, she says, it’s just a different type of weapon with a different feel.

“It’s like driving a truck versus driving a car, a sports car. Every firearm has a different feel to it,” said Humphries, an NRA instructor based in Georgia. “So a Ruger Mini 14 may feel like a Jaguar to you and may feel like a truck to me and vice versa. And to me an AR-15 feels like a smooth ride whereas a Ruger feels like a bumpy truck.”

Humphries, who also goes by the nickname Tactical Barbie, believes the debate over gun measures has focused too much on the firearm and not enough on the person behind the gun.

“Normal people who purchase guns don’t do this,” she said of mass shooters. “If I want to defend my home and my family then I have the right to do that.”

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, says the ARstyle firearm is easy to use, has little recoil and can be customized, such as with a collapsible stock, making it easier for women to handle.

While it’s too large to carry concealed, he and others describe it as a good weapon for home defense or in other crises.

“When you’re facing multiple attackers, you want something that will shoot more than six rounds,” Pratt said.

He and others in the gun lobby say the AR is targeted because of the way it looks, and any fears are misplaced because it’s only cosmetically different from other types of rifles and long guns.

Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of Concealed Carry magazine, first fired an AR-15 in the early 1990s hunting coyotes in South Dakota. He found it more accurate than his old boltaction rifle. He now owns three.

While you can “do all kinds of cool things” with the AR — adding a scope or optics, putting a flashlight on the barrel, changing the stock — “none of this stuff makes a firearm any more deadly,” Michalowski said. For Shoot Like a Girl’s Butler, shooting was inspiring. After a divorce in her 30s that undermined her confidence, she went to the shooting range with a group of friends. She started shooting at Gatorade bottles and by the end of the day was using bottle caps as targets.

“I went in there feeling like a failure in life and I walked out having this renewed confidence,” said Butler, 49.

Butler said she believes the anger directed at the AR is unfair and misdirected. “It’s a shame because we don’t have the same outcry over knives, over baseball bats, over texting and driving, over all of these other things that are killing Americans every single day,” she said.

dara Humphries, an NrA and Glock firearms instructor, holds an Ar-platform rifle at a gun range in Gainesville, Ga. AssociAted Press

 

Source: http://naplesdailynews.fl.newsmemory.com/?token=a72674a7b4de1ef5cca838a06d77608b_57713133_ff97bc6&selDate=20160627&goTo=A01&artid=art_0.xml

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Reviews

 

I really enjoyed the class yesterday, and it was very nice to meet David and Ginny. David is very knowledgeable, helpful, and best of all: has a sense of humor. I was more nervous than I thought I would be because this was the first time in my life that I've ever shot a semi-automatic weapon. David lives and breathes this stuff and his presence and ease with weapons was very calming for me when I was at the range. Ginny was also very supportive throughout the whole class. Thank you guys so much! It's a pleasure and I will be back to purchase supplies from you! - Shenandoah Webb

Naples Gun School - 5 starsTook the 3/31/18 class and loved it! Dave was very informative and his laid back teaching style made the 4 hour class fly by. Would recommend this class to anyone interested in a CWP. Thanks Dave and Ginny! - Kelly Gardner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I’d like to thank The Naples Gun School for the time and effort they took in order to help me become a more responsible hand gun owner. By taking your CCWP class on 3.31.2018, I’m honestly a better person today than I was yesterday. Your course is not only interesting, but informative as well. The time we had together flew by. Throughout the whole process, they were calm and patient with every student. Especially after everyone seemed to drop their cartridges on the floor during the revolver training portion of the program. I highly recommend Naples Gun School to anyone that’s interested in becoming a CCWP holder. And I definitely will use their services by purchasing all my gun needs through their establishment. David & Ginny, thank you so much. I had a wonderful time!Chris Shaffer

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars This class kept me very interested, informed and didn’t even realize 4 hours went by! Would recommend everyone to take this class! - Douglas Shaffer

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Lurybella Lora Trejo

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Used Naples Gun School for a FFL transfer and after talking with David decided to take his CCW class and am glad I did. David is very knowledgeable and his class is small so you receive one on one training in the classroom and the range. I Highly recommend Naples Gun School. You won’t find a better class in Naples. Thank you David for a great experience. - Michael Ferrarelli

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Thorough, energetic, knowledgeable, PATIENT, and even entertaining at times! As an Educator, I know it can be daunting sometimes to teach the same material over and over, but David certainly didn't show it. You can tell how passionate he is about what he does.
I researched multiple options around town in choosing the provider for my CCW class. David & Ginny as a husband & wife team, provided the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in answering all of my questions thoroughly and promptly before even signing up. And somehow, Naples Gun School was also able to provide the LOWEST COST in town!
As a female and brand new to guns, David & Ginny made me feel safe, secure, and comfortable. THANK YOU! A+++ -
Jessica Payne

 

I took the class on 3/10/18 and I was blown away. David and his wife are excellent people and David is an excellent instructor. The class is excellent and exceeded my expectations with information on the laws of Florida, and as well to carry properly, load the weapons as well as placement of holding weapons. If your looking to buy a weapon he is the man to go to. I personally bought my firearm from and he equipped me with great knowledge during my time there. I give this class 100 out of 100 and highly recommended. David is a great guy and instructor with many years of experience!! - Cory Duffy

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Larry Papola

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Awesome class. Great preparation for firearm handling and concealed carry details. - Jeffrey Alty

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Very informative. Was made to feel very comfortable. Had some prior gun knowledge, left with a lot more. I highly recommend anyone thinking about getting their permit go there. - Sara Bunker

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I attended the conceal carry and gun safety training class on Feb 17th, 2018. David was very knowlegable and provided a lot of information that I think should be part of any gun safety or conceal carry training. He was very professional and took the time after the class and before we met at the gun range to answer several questions I had as well as show me a few different gun options they sell. I highly recommend David and Naples gun shop & school for anyone wanting to seriously learn what they need to before purchasing or using a firearm. Thank you, David! - Amanda Daves

 

Thanks again! Not only was is very informative, but fun as well. So glad we came to y'all for the class. - Sara Bunker

 

I had a great experience and your class was very informative. Thank you - Robby Bunker

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great experience, willing to give one on one instruction and very patient for beginners! - Tiffany Baker

 

Had a great experience at the CCW class. Dave explained the information throughly and made it very easy to understand. I would definitely recommend the class to anyone interested.. -Scott Sioma

 

Naples Gun School - 5 starsGreat class!!! David really takes his time to show you how to feel Comfortable with the fire arm. - Alonzo Gonzalez

 

Enjoyed the class very much! It was well taught and all the information was presented professionally and was easy to understand. I was nervous at first but our instructor put our minds at ease. Would definitely recommend! - Tony Aceto

 

Naples Gun School - 5 starsEnjoyed the class, everything well explained. The David(instructor )explain in a way everybody understand and in a dynamic way. I will recommend it without a doubt. Thanks guys! - Joel Davila

 

I had an amazing experience in the CCW class that David teaches! This class was so informative and interesting. The way David presented everything made it extremely fun and easy to retain. The size of the class was 12 people, so we all got one on one training and I feel it was the perfect size of class. I learned so many important things that I never would have even thought about without this class. Ginny was also so wonderful, and so supportive when I was nervous. I had so many questions that were answered, and the amount of knowledge Ginny and Davis shared with the class was astounding. I feel very confident now about gun safety and self defense and I would highly recommend this class!! David and Ginny know their stuff!! -Senae Hughes

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