A Good Encounter

My 14 year old son and I were at the movies last fall, standing in the lobby, waiting for our show. I can’t remember exactly how we got on the subject, but we got around to discussing full auto weapons. As the bill-paying adult of the group, I thought that maybe a rifle that shot 3 round bursts would be just as fun as full auto. My son then asked if a gun with 3 round bursts still fell under a Class 3 license.

I said I didn’t know, and as quick as that, out of the corner of my eye up walks a tall uniformed police officer, and said “Say what?”

“Excuse me?” I answered.

“My ears perked up when I heard ‘Class 3’.”

Having nothing to hide, I told him what we were talking about, and he cleared it up for us.

First, a “Class 3 license” refers to the dealer who sells automatic weapons. The owner doesn’t have to have such a license, but still has to go through a lot of paperwork. Yes, 3 round bursts require a Class 3 dealer license. Yes, the Acworth, Georgia, police department issues M4’s and he shoots his at least once a month. They practice out to 100 yards, but mostly closer than that. He said their use of the M4 in most cases would be as suppressing fire, in a hostage standoff or other situation. He didn’t really see the point of a civilian owning a full auto gun. It wasn’t from a Second Amendment point of view, it’s just that tactically it wouldn’t make sense.

Ah, but it would be a lot of fun.

“Well, yeah, there is that. I guess your specs are a little wider than mine.”

We chatted a little while longer, and my son even got involved. But after a while our movie was seating, and we said thanks, and went in.

More than the information we got about the NFA and the weapons of the local police, it was great to talk to him. For one thing, it was definitely a teachable moment for my son. We’ve talked about it many times since, and he has a very good view of the police.

Now, whenever we are at the movies, and that policeman is there, I make it a point to say hello. I suppose if I ever get that full auto, I’ll tell him about it. Maybe we’ll get an invite to come shoot.

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