A Father's Day AR-15 for My Kids

I know what you're thinking: Steve bought himself an AR-15 because he wanted an AR-15, and Father's Day was just a convenient excuse for an extravagant purchase and a chance to hang out with a bunch of other dads at Cabela's.

But no.

At heart I've always been a pistol shooter. I don't hunt, and if I did I already own my dad's collection of rifles and shotguns. So a semiautomatic rifle? The only semiautomatics I need are pistols for concealed carry, and if my boys think sometimes Dad already looks like a goof... just wait until they see me try and shove a three-foot-long black rifle down my pants.

I mean, that might even be more embarrassing than that time my grandfather tried to leave the house wearing a leisure suit in the mid-'80s.

But then Orlando happened, and the politicians started doing what they always do. On Thursday morning I had a little text conversation with my bride.


So it's not that I needed or particularly wanted a semiautomatic rifle, but I was going to be damned if I was going to let someone like Joe Manchin tell me what my civil rights may or may not be. Besides, it's a 40-minute drive to Cabela's, and I figured my boys -- ages 10 and nearly 6 -- could use another one of Dad's Totally Not at All Boring Civics Lectures along the way. Even my niece Naomi, age 12 and visiting from Texas, came along.

On the drive up we talked about the Second Amendment, and civil rights in general, and about why we have due process to protect our rights from ambitious politicians and panicky mobs. I also explained due process's evil opposite, The Midnight Knock on the Door. Naomi was fully engaged, but it didn't seem like my older son, Preston -- the one I really wanted to get through to -- was paying much attention.

But he perked right up at "midnight knock on the door." He'd been listening; apparently I hadn't been too boring.

ASIDE: As an update to this post from January, I should add that regular trips to the range taught Pres the focusing and concentration skills he needed, to teach himself how to complete his schoolwork on time -- and now he's a straight-A student. So if you're also thinking that I'm a little indulgent when it comes to letting him shoot... you're right!

The parking lot at Cabela's was crazy crowded for a Thursday morning. One gentleman, loading his purchases into the back of his SUV, asked me as we walked past where all the cars had come from. "Google Joe Manchin," I said. "M-A-N-C-H-I-N."

At long last we walked into the store.