- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A writer for the New York Daily News said firing an AR-15 for the first time Monday left him with “a temporary form of PTSD.”

Gersh Kuntzman headed off to a Philadelphia gun range after Sunday’s terror attack in Orlando, Florida, to “better understand the firepower of military-style assault weapons and, hopefully, explain their appeal to gun lovers.”

The experience of firing 5.56 mm rounds from a semi-automatic rifle, which he likened to “a bazooka” — left him a shaken man.

“The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable,” he wrote Tuesday.

Backlash against Mr. Kuntzman’s PTSD claim prompted him to update the original piece.

“Many people have objected to my use of the term ‘PTSD’ in the above story,” he wrote in his addendum. “The use of this term was in no way meant to conflate my very temporary anxiety with the very real condition experienced by many of our brave men and women in uniform. I regret the inarticulate use of the term to describe my in-the-moment impression of the gun’s firepower, and apologize for it.”

Mr. Kuntzman published a followup piece Wednesday — titled “To gun lovers, you can’t even have an opinion on assault rifles — unless it’s theirs. Here’s the proof” — that predictably did little to quell his critics.

“Hey there Cupcake!” reader Gary Haney wrote. “I have never subscribed to the idea of ‘gender confusion,’ but after reading your article on the AR-15, I’m a believer because there is no way you and I are the same gender. You should surrender your testicles to the Department of Girlymen. I’m not sure where it’s located, but your girlfriend Barack does!”

Mr. Kuntzman said one of his favorite responses came from Adam Prolo, who wrote, “Maybe you can get some balls through Obamacare!”

The writer said, “if masculinity is defined by the power to commit violence on a wide scale, I proudly choose femininity.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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