Brady Campaign attorney says "certainly nothing wrong" with adults banging away at Southern Ohio Machine Gun Shoot

Nothing can be more absurd than the carrying of concealed weapons in a civilized community without a special purpose, and that in times of tranquility is simply criminal. - The [Columbus Daily] Dispatch, July 1, 1871

By Chad D. Baus

During my seven-plus years experience covering Second Amendment issues and the media in Ohio, I've learned that whenever the Columbus Dispatch decides to cover a gun issue, it is important to keep in mind where they began, and where they have stayed in the 130+ years since.

So when I read the opening paragraph of the Dispatch's story on Southern Ohio Machine Gun Shoot in Minford, I was prepared for the worst.

From the story:

When 14-year-old Wyatt Dawson fired a machine gun capable of killing a person from 2 miles away, his father calmly cheered him on.

After all, the Scioto County teenager shot his first gun at age 3.

One can almost hear the snarky tone oosing from the text. And yet, once she got that out of her system, reporter Ashley Lutz did a much better job than some of her Dispatch predecessors at delivering an objective look at a firearms-related issue.

"It's a good hobby and something my father did with me," Tim Dawson, Wyatt's father, said yesterday. "I know he's safe."

The Dawsons and several hundred others attended the two-day Southern Ohio Machine Gun Shoot in Minford, just north of Portsmouth and 90 miles south of Columbus.

For its fifth year, the shoot allowed people of all ages to test antique and modern machine guns valued at tens of thousands of dollars.

Shooters paid $60 for a position in the firing line and bought their own ammunition, which cost up to $4 a bullet. They demolished a boat and refrigerators, among other targets. Several rounds from first-time visitor Jim Daehler ignited a car, causing black smoke to fill the sky.

"It's such a great stress relief, and I wish I would have done it much sooner," said Daehler, an adult.

Ralph Scott, owner of the Lock Stock and Barrel Gun Shop in Portsmouth and primary sponsor of the event, told the newspaper that there are fewer than 10 annual machine-gun shoots nationwide.

The reporter notes that "security is stringent. Each gun and shooter is monitored by a National Rifle Association-certified safety officer. Staffers take turns staying up all night to make sure no one enters the area. Staff members spend days afterward cleaning up the target and bullet remnants."

The story then turns to the obligatory hand-wringing from the anti-gun rights folks at the Brady Center in Washington D.C.

But there are still many safety concerns at these events, particularly when children shoot machine guns, said Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.

"There's certainly nothing wrong with properly trained adults engaging in these activities; it's when children are exposed to machine guns that aren't made for them," Vice said. "There's no reason that a child should be shooting a fully automatic machine gun."

Yes, folks, you read that right. The Dispatch caught a Brady bunch official saying there is "certainly nothing wrong with properly trained adults engaging in [shooting machine guns]." One wonders how long Mr. Vice will last at the Brady bunch headquarters...and how long it will take for that quote to start showing up on t-shirts at gun shows.

The story concludes with this:

Recreational gun use is a "way of life" in Appalachia, said Rick Jones, who attended the machine-gun shoot yesterday as part of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a political organization that lobbies for self-defense, hunting and sporting rights.

"We use guns for defense and a way to put food on the table," Jones said. "We know what's right and what's wrong and there's nothing wrong with it."

"It's a perfectly recreational family activity," he added.

If this is the first time you are hearing about the Southern Ohio Machine Gun Shoot, it's because you aren't in the habit of checking the Events Page here at Stay up on the very latest Second Amendment-related goings-on in Ohio by visiting this page regularly!

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