Orlando, Florida’s NBC News affiliate breathlessly reports today that the recently opened Machine Gun America facility, notable for its wide selection of fully-automatic firearms, is both “only a few miles down the road from Disney World,” and open to shooters as young as 13.
There are no rides, instead visitors can pick up powerful assault weapons and blow off some steam while shooting at targets.
The brand-new 13,000-square-foot facility, Machine Gun America, is only a few miles down the road from Disney World. Guests as young as 13-years old can shoot assault weapons with live ammo.
Later in the article, we learn that kids under 13 are not even allowed to enter the building, and that guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and that those under 17 are restricted to semi-automatic fire.
These concessions to the supposed safety concerns are not nearly enough for some, though. The NBC story quotes Dr. Alan Delamater, who fears that precautions that prevent injury or death due to unintentional shootings are inadequate, because they do nothing to protect the tender psyches of those in their early teens:
But Dr. Alan Delamater says even exposing young teens to this environment is dangerous.
“It’s another family gaming activity, right? Wrong. I don’t think it’s just another activity. I think this is something that can seriously affect child development and not in a good way,” Dr. Delamater said.
Delamater does not clarify whether or not “exposing” these young men and women–some of whom will in a few short years be serving in the military–to all firearms represents a problem for “child development” (whatever that unspecified “problem” is), or if the danger is restricted to fully-automatic firearms. and is certainly silent on what distinction would exist, if any, between genuine fully-automatic firearms and semi-automatics equipped with “bump fire” stocks, to simulate full-auto.
Delamater is a doctor of child and adolescent psychology, who apparently focuses on the psychological impact of childhood obesity and diabetes. How such a focus contributes to his competency to determine what effect, if any, might result from a young teenager’s “exposure” to people enjoying the fun of target shooting with fully-automatic firearms would seem a fair question.
It also prompts a bit of a stroll down memory lane. Back when there was still some doubt regarding Dr. Vivek Murthy’s eventual confirmation as Surgeon General, largely on the grounds of some Senators’ concerns that he would use the position as a bully pulpit to advance his long and consistently articulated anti-gun agenda, he tried to assure those Senators that he would leave guns out of it, because his biggest concern was the health problems associated with obesity.
Such a focus has clearly not stopped Delamater from offering his own “expertise” about guns. Should we expect Murthy to show any more restraint?