Black Listed

Story by: Clark Byron

Photography by: Ryan Gibson

Just holding the rifle in my hands for the first time was an indescribable sensation. It had been years since I had held one and I had never really missed it. The last rifle—the one I used to shoot as a kid—was my dad’s World War II M-1 Carbine. Its sculpted wooden stock seemed more like a nice woodcarving than a weapon. That it was the one my dad had carried in the war gave it a special provenance. This was nothing like that at all. This gun was new. It was modern. It was not finely contoured walnut with the light smell of cleaning oil and dull blued metal. This gun was black—flat black. In fact, these weapons are often called black rifles. It was all metal—and it was ominous. With my left hand wrapped tightly around its rough, perforated rail and my right hand firmly on the grip, I pulled the stock tight to my shoulder. Safety off, I squeezed the trigger. Even through my bulky hearing defenders, the rifle’s first discharge was startlingly loud. The sensation was amazing. It was strange. It was fierce. It was altogether awe-inspiring. Immediately, there was a sobering sense that what had just exited the muzzle of my gun at three-thousand feet per second could never be recalled. It had reached its intended target long before I was able to lift my eye from the holographic sight. As I continued squeezing off round after round, I felt as if I were learning a new language, or at least beginning to understand it. Although I have always respected and occasionally enjoyed firearms (mostly handguns), I was never what you’d call a “gun guy.” I suppose I’m still not. However, I now understand the exhilaration of firing an assault-style rifle for sport. The sweet nostalgia of my childhood gun experience was now dissipating with the invisible smoke of each spent round. I immediately realized that, ballistically speaking, I had entered a whole new realm. I had never fired anything that felt so powerful. I understood even more clearly why so many are fearful of black rifles. I also realized something else: That with all the power this weapon possesses, it does not possess the power to do evil of its own volition. If it does evil at all, it does so in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have it to begin with.

Gun Control Out Of Control In the wake of Sandy Hook and other recent mass shootings, President Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are proposing some of the most aggressive gun control legislation in recent memory. While both parties agree that little, if any, is likely to pass, the extreme nature of what’s being proposed has many gun rights advocates loaded for bear. “You have to remember that thepeople who have been pushing gun control since the tragedy at Sandy Hook didn’t just see this thing happen and make up their mind that they wanted to push gun control,” says Marty Daniel, president and CEO of Savannah-based Daniel Defense, one of the nation’s leading producers of AR-15 platform rifles. “These people have been wanting to push gun control for years, and this is their opportunity. I don’t understand how the conversation moves toward controlling guns when it’s the human that needs to be controlled.” As for supporting an assault weapons ban, Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) made his position clear. “That approach has essentially been tried and has failed. It may be unconstitutional but it is also clearly impracticable and will not work,” he says. “I would not vote for something that would be unconstitutional, and I certainly would not vote for something even if it would be constitutional, if it would be impractical and would not work.” To read the whole story, pick up your copy of South’s April/May Adventure Issue, featuring Savannah’s Staycations, at one of these locations today.

EXCLUSIVE WEB BONUS MATERIAL: Bill Edwards Sounds Off Local radio-show host Bill Edwards has spoken to many political figures in his show on Newsradio 1290AM WTKS, which airs weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. Guests have included Congressmen Jack Kingston and John Barrow, and Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain. Edwards says, “It’s not the government’s job, nor is it its business, how many guns one has, or what kind or magazine capacity, as long as the owners are law abiding. We have a president who professes his disdain for the Constitution because it’s too restricting. But that’s exactly the point—it is supposed to be restrictive to prevent government from spiraling out of control.”

Saving the Second Amendment Our Founding Fathers were among the most intelligent and well-educated men ever to come together at a special time in history. They knew tyranny because the world—at that time—was ruled by kings and queens and tyrannical dictators and potentates. It can be argued that these few men were the most perceptive and brilliant who ever gathered at any point in history to give us the greatest country the world has ever known. Over a period of some 14 years, they hammered out the documents we were to live by to this day and beyond. Having the people rule themselves was a concept that had not been tried in centuries and many thought it impossible. After the Constitution was ratified, they knew that there had to be a way to amend it from time to time and their brilliance shined when The Bill of Rights was established. There were originally only ten rights. It began with free speech—the very first amendment that said a person could say what they wanted and the freedom of the press was essential to sustain a free people. But it is no coincidence that the Second Amendment gave us the right to bear arms. Everyone had a right to defend themselves from harm using deadly force, if necessary, as a last resort. These true scholars chose their words carefully and the amendment clearly stated that we citizens had the right to have a firearm and that that right “Shall not be infringed.” They didn’t say “perhaps” or “maybe” or “will not”— they chose “shall not.” The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written for a specific purpose—to restrict government. The Founding Fathers knew how out of control government could get. Today those documents are all but ignored. We have a president who professes his disdain for the Constitution because it’s too restricting. But that’s exactly the point—it is suppose to be restrictive to prevent government from spiraling out of control. But that’s how it’s going. It’s not the government’s job, nor is it their business, how many guns one has, what kind or magazine capacity as long as the owners are law abiding. There are over 20,000 laws on the books concerning firearms now and that has not prevented bad people from committing hideous crimes with guns. Those laws are not enforced now, so how will more laws that they won’t enforce be of any help? When Bill Clinton was president he too came up with worthless gun-restriction laws. It took ten years to get rid of them and it was easily proven that those laws didn’t make a dent in crime with firearms. Turning honest law-abiding citizens into criminals by writing more gun laws and restricting magazine capacity is a waste of time. Criminals don’t obey laws—they will have 30-round magazines no matter what the law says. Even if they have only 10-round magazine, they’ll have three or more of them, and it takes only about two seconds to change one with some practice. So Congress should start doing their real jobs of providing for the common defense (the military) and insuring domestic tranquility (that’s the police). They’re doing a lousy job at those and those are the things required by that precious and sacred document. Study and learn from history for a change. A World War II Japanese commander was once asked why they never tried a troop landing on American soil. He replied he knew that just about every private American citizen had a gun and land invasion would be suicide. That’s what the Second Amendment is for and any congressman, senator or governor who tries to infringe upon it should be impeached.

John Barrow Video

Companies Marty Daniel is the owner of Daniel Defense, which manufactures rifles, rails and barrels and sells to both military and civilian clients Rick Grace is the owner of Patrick’s Uniforms and Gun Range Richard Berman is the owner of Thunderbolt Guns Blue Force Gear manufactures vests, pouches and slings, and 90 percent of its contracts are with government entities While there has been a shortage of available ammo in the region following December’s events, PolyCase Ammunition—based in Savannah—vows to continue supplying its clients with their cutting-edge product