Yesterday, my fiance and I attended the 2010 Iowa Carry Annual Meeting in in Searsboro, Iowa. The event was great, and included an Iowa concealed carry training class, machine gun rentals, and time to hang out with fellow firearms enthusiasts. More on our day at the 2010 Iowa Carry Annual Meeting, including a video clip in which I fire a Thompson submachine gun, can be seen below:
The Iowa Concealed Carry Class
As I’ve previously mentioned, Iowa has long been a “may issue’ concealed carry state. This means that each county sheriff has unfettered discretion to grant or deny concealed carry permits, and leads to many law abiding citizens being denied the ability to lawfully carry a gun for self defense. The good news is that thanks to Iowa Carry and the NRA, on January 1, 2011, Iowa will become a “shall issue” concealed carry state, essentially meaning that any law abiding citizen who takes a training class will be issued a concealed carry permit.
At the 2010 Iowa Carry Annual Meeting, a 3 hour long training class that meets the requirements for Iowa’s new concealed carry permit law was offered for $10. My fiance I and took the class, so that she can get her permit under the new law, and so that I will have the proper training under the new law, just in case the sheriff decided it is necessary for me to renew my existing concealed carry permit under the new law. The training was a classroom-only event, with no written test or range qualification, as the new Iowa concealed carry law requires no such testing. It covered gun safety, the legal considerations surrounding self defense, and other related matters. All in all, I found the class to be very good, and am happy that my fiance and I both have the necessary training certificates.
The Machine Gun Rentals
After taking the concealed carry training class, my fiance and I headed over the machine gun rental area, where they had a water cooled .30 caliber machine gun, an AK-47, an H&K MP5, a Colt Thompson, an Uzi, a Mini Uzi, an FN-FAL, an M-16, and quite a few others. My fiance went first, firing the .30 caliber water cooled machine gun (and doing quite a good job at hitting her targets!). Then, I fired the Thompson, which was quite enjoyable and easier to control than I expected. Then, we came back add she fired an MP5 while I fired an AK-47. She really enjoyed the MP5, and despite initially being apprehensive about the recoil, she found the MP5’s recoil to be easier to handle than that of her trapshooting shotgun (a Remington 11-87). I had a blast firing the AK-47, and also found it to be to be more controllable than I expected.
A (brief, since 30 rounds goes by pretty quickly) video clip of me firing the Thompson:
The Polite People (and the lack of racism)
My fiance and I found the people at the Iowa Carry meeting to be polite, friendly and non-racist, just as we have come to expect from our fellow gun owners. Indeed, the only reason I’m even discussing that fact is because of the persistent myths and stereotypes that portray gun owners as violent, racist individuals.
Both concealed and open carry were allowed throughout the day, and many people chose to carry. When we first arrived around 7:45AM, the most conveniently located parking lot was getting full. Despite the dire predictions that anti gun people make about armed citizens opening fire on each other over parking spaces, not a singe shot was fired. Instead, everyone parked their cars as closely together as possible to maximize room for others, and then lined up to check-in in an orderly fashion. Although the concealed carry class was crowded, hot, and humid, everyone had a good attitude and did their best to make room for the many people trying to squeeze in to the class; again, no one was shot. At the conclusion of the class, hundreds of people – many of whom were armed – needed to come up to the instructor’s table to get their completion certificate signed. Again, not a single shot was fired, and the process was much more orderly than I’ve seen at other large and crowded events. The same was true for the line to fire the machine guns, the line to buy lunch, the line for the restroom, etc. Beyond a lack of rudeness, my fiance and I found the people with whom we spoke to be quite pleasant. I ended up spending time chatting with a fellow gun enthusiast who, like me, majored in Computer Science, and who will soon be starting law school, and was surprised to randomly run into someone whose professional and recreational interests are so similar to mine.
At no time during the event did I feel even the slightest bit of racial animosity or unwelcomeness due to the fact that I was black and/or the fact that my fiance was white. We were treated just like everyone else – which is to say we were treated like members of a close-knit community that is united by its appreciation of and support for gun rights.