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I Love My Guns. I’m Getting Rid of My Semi-Automatic Battle Rifle

3 minute read
Bridgforth lives in Jackson, Mississippi, and hunts on his family's land in Yazoo County

On the issue of gun control or reform, there should be some middle ground. Gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters need to give some, as do anti-gun folks. Civilians should not be able to own military-style weapons. I do believe Americans should have the right to own weapons for home self-defense and for hunting, but there are too many weapons available to civilians that were originally designed for the battlefield. And as Las Vegas shows, once again, there are too many Americans willing to turn civilian life into a battlefield. I think what worries some gun owners is who decides what is military, and what is for sport. I am deciding for myself.

My action may not change anything, but the truth is, if my semi-automatic battle rifle were stolen, or fell into the wrong hands, it would be devastating. So to put my money where my mouth is, I am getting rid of mine and donating it to a law enforcement agency.

The gun I’m getting rid of is called an M1A Springfield Scout, or Civilian M14. It shoots a 308 or 7.62-51 NATO. It is a semi-automatic and can send bullets 1,000 yards (700, accurately) as fast as I can pull the trigger. It has a 10- and 20-round clip. You could probably get an even bigger one.

It was designed for the military in the mid-1950s and is still used by special forces. It is much more powerful and accurate than an AR-15 or an AK47. I purchased it because it is a great gun and the truth is I’m still a boy at heart (and mind, too). I convinced myself I needed it because — Hey, there a lot of crazy people with weapons out there that I may need to defend myself from. I also told myself I needed to kill wild hogs. I’ve only seen wild hogs once. I have used the rifle to hunt deer but I have a bolt-action rifle for the same purpose, which is all anyone needs for deer hunting.

After the shooting happened in Las Vegas and the details began to come out, I knew this man had to have a weapon like mine. I know I don’t need this rifle, and neither does anyone else. Selling it would be hypocritical because it would go back into gun circulation. I plan to give mine to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks — the game wardens in my state. It is a very expensive gun — it cost me $1,300, not counting the scope — so this is not a particularly easy thing to do. But it will mean I’m not a part of the problem, at least in my mind. My plan is to put any tax write-off towards charitable giving.

I will keep my other guns for hunting and self-defense. Some people will say I’ve overreacted, others will say I have not gone far enough. Getting rid of and eventually banning assault rifles and other military-style guns will not end the violence, but it will help.

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