Dear Senator Tester:
I notice that the proposed director for ATF, David Chipman, has said he would like a ban on the AR-15 rifle, that it is not suited for use other than military.
Since you come from Big Sandy, I’d like to share a story about my daughter. She was hit by a semi as she was stopped to make a left hand turn. The concussion left her with prosopagnosia (face blindness and object recognition challenges), and the impact pretty well trashed her right shoulder – she can’t even handle the recoil from an M1 carbine, but the lighter .223 bullet, with the direct gas impingement, is gentle enough that she can handle the recoil of an AR-15.
Here in Trego, we live in grizzly country. She can hike the woods in my quarter section where I have the trails blazed to show which way leads to the house and which way leads away. She has a small dog who does an amazing job at identifying people. And the AR-15 rifle gives her a much more even chance if she encounters a grizzly (or two) than the other light recoil option of a 22 long rifle. The injury has taken her ability to use a large caliber handgun – she is pretty well limited to a .32 ACP blowback to make recoil manageable. The dog takes care of recognizing threats and she can still have a chance with an aggressive bear or cat if she has the light recoil of the AR-15 with the .223 (larger cartridges like the 30 blackout still are beyond her recoil tolerance, and she’s not fond of my .223 bolt gun.
So I’m hoping that, with Choteau close to your home, you can understand that she has a use for the AR-15. Frankly, I wish she were still able to use a 45 – but I am happy for the recovery she made – she is a high school science teacher and she and her dog really enjoy having 160 acres of forest where she can hike without fear of getting lost. But last year, we had two problem bears (with collars) that FWAP wound up euthanizing. They were 5 yards from my front door. A couple years ago, a griz trapped by FWAP on the place had his video go viral as he tried to use the rope on the gate to reel in the warden when he (the bear) was released. We have had two adult grizzlies through this year, one a sow with cubs.
I can understand how the President, coming from Delaware, doesn’t share my reality – but I figure that, while your place in Big Sandy may not see as many grizzlies as we do, you probably have neighbors that are more similar to us. I have friends who are scarred from their grizzly encounters – for myself, I have had nothing worse than confrontations that ended with the bear leaving.
I figure that with the Senate split as evenly as it is, I should ask you to vote with Montana instead of the President, and keep the AR-15 available.