Build your own AR-15 class generates ire and support in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Build your own AR-15 class generates ire and support in Michigan

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Source: WWMT Source: WWMT
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A build your own AR-15 rifle class in Michigan sparked heated debate over gun control on Tuesday after roughly a dozen protesters showed up as the class got started.

The class has been held at the VFW in Marshall for the last three years, but got extra attention from people this year because of how much the AR-15 rifle has been in the media.

There was a class, a protest, and a few people in between who hoped this all led to helpful dialogue on Tuesday.

Divided by the main road through Marshall men dressed in camo and a group of impromptu activists sporting anti-gun signs.

All the buzz sparked by an event just yards away.

Roughly 60 people gathering inside the VFW to learn about assembling an AR-15 rifle.

"They just enjoy shooting as a hobby or a sport much like playing basketball or golf,” said Chris Walden, the owner of Walden's Firearms.

Walden said this the most attention his class has ever gotten.

Each participant has the opportunity to build an AR-15 and must complete a federal background check.

"This is an opportunity for Americans to exercise their Second Amendment right to help those who are protesting this voice their First Amendment right across the street,” Walden said.

"Gun owners are the most law-abiding segment of America, period,” said Bill Thick, the VFW Post Commander.

The event is far from something Pam Duame and Pat Conley would call a hobby.

 “I think the event is disgusting. It's a slap in the face to all the children who have died,” Daume said.

"AR-15s have been used in the five most deadly shootings in the us in recent history,” said Jeff Wilson, a protestor.

Despite a tough exterior, Joe Caringi just wanted to see a little bit of peacemaking and was asked by the VFW to help with security.

 “I wanted to join them. I wanted to take my chair and go sit with them and just mind my own business,” Caringi said.

Police advised against that, but Caringi entertained at least one person who ventured across the street to listen.

Police did stop by the VFW on Tuesday to make sure things stayed calm and orderly.

Those hosting the class said they place a special emphasis on safety and that anyone who builds an AR-15 must pass a federal background check.

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