Things apparently didn’t go so well for New York Daily News reporter Gersh Kuntzman after he visited a gun shop in the immediate aftermath of the horrific Orlando shooting.
Kuntzman’s goal was to learn more about why AR-15 and other such weapons hold a great appeal for gun owners as well as gaining understanding about their firepower.
Parenthetically, it turns out that contrary to initial media accounts, the ISIS-inspired terrorist who opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 patrons and wounded many others used a Sig Sauer MCX rather than an AR-15.
The incident has reopened the debate over more gun control regulations and implementing a ban on semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15.
Feeding in to what some would describe as a liberal stereotype, Kuntzman’s fact-finding trip to the Double Tap Shooting Range and Gun Shop in Philadelphia left him terrified and with a temporary case of post-traumatic stress disorder after he fired an AR-15 rifle. He also filmed an interview with owner Frank Stelmach (who, according to the article, says he supports expanded background checks), but which only includes a glimpse of the target practice in question, however.
The reporter, an NRA foe who claims he supports the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution) as long at it is subject to “very strict regulations,” described what happened after he pulled the trigger on the AR-15.
“It felt to me like a bazooka — and sounded like a cannon…The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”
Whether justified or unjustified, Kuntzman’s column prompted widespread ridicule on social media from those who support gun rights.
In a postscript to the original column, the reporter apologized for the “inarticulate use” of the term PTSD, noting that he meant no disrespect to military veterans who may be suffering from that condition as a result of combat.
In a follow-up column, Gersh Kuntzman acknowledged the unprecedented firestorm, as it were, that resulted from the PTSD remark after his three decades in journalism.
“I certainly received many many emails from gun owners who legitimately quibbled with some of my conclusions. But the majority of email senders trained their laser sights on my masculinity — often in graphic terms that would sound more appropriate in a magazine about erectile dysfunction or an ad for Depends…”
The New York Daily News journalist continued his response to the mean tweets and/or the equivalent, and in so doing, embraced some of the criticism.
“Yes, this weapon scared the crap out of me. And it should scare the crap out of all of you, too. An AR-15 is a weapon of mass destruction, a tool that should only be in the hands of our soldiers and cops… I don’t think there’s anything unmanly about pointing out this fact…Besides, if masculinity is defined by the power to commit violence on a wide scale, I proudly choose femininity…Yes, I’m a wimp. I simpered because my experience with the AR-15 bruised me, body and spirit…If that makes me a girl, well, maybe we should have a girl running the country.”
In response to the column about firing the AR-15 and his subsequent temporary trauma, the military-focused website Duffle Blog satirically awarded Gersh Kuntzman with the National Defense Service Medal.
Task & Purpose, another military-themed website, claimed that “By grossly distorting the experience of shooting an AR-15, Kuntzman only reinforced stereotypes of gun control advocates as delusional crybabies — and this in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in American history…The response from the veteran community has been brutal and hilarious.”
[Photo by Charles Krupa/AP]
Update: In a lengthy Facebook post, the gun shop disavowed the Daily News article that made the store appear to be “anti-gun advocates” or part of “the liberal, gun-grabbing agenda.”
“And for the record, if you get a bruised shoulder or PTSD from shooting an AR-15 you may be a Katie Couric, liberal with ought testicular fortitude,” the post concluded.