It’s time we treated our AR-15s like our F-150s

The two most popular men-toys in my mainly white suburban Dallas neighborhood are pickups and assault rifles.

Most of us don’t need these accouterments of the modern warrior. We have little to haul that won’t fit in a mid-size SUV, and 75-mph expressways are not conducive to 4-wheel drive. There are few critters to shoot, except for the occasional urban coyote or disoriented armadillo. And unless you count squirrels and blue jays, terrorism isn’t a problem in our subdivision — at least not yet.

But boys — especially aging white guys with too much time and disposable income — will be boys. We like to go fast, blow things up, and make lots of noise. We also like to think of ourselves as still in control and all-powerful in a rapidly changing culture that is constantly telling us we aren’t and to get over it.

True, many of us will admit privately, out of earshot of our wives, that this is a good thing and should have happened long ago. But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel a bit frightened and emasculated.

So what better way to prove our manhood and have a good time than drive our trucks out into the bucolic countryside, and loudly and rapidly fire round after round of expensive high-powered ammo at bottles, cans, and the occasional wild pig? No wonder 5 million Americans now own assault rifles, and pickups continue to lead new-car sales in the US.

Although I own guns, almost purchased a tricked-out F-150 at the urging of my friends and teen-age sons, and agree that both are loads of fun if used responsibly, I think there are better ways to prove our virility than with V-8s and big banana clips stuffed with .223 ammo. (For those of you who don’t keep up with modern armament, stuffed banana clips are not desserts created by some celeb chef. They are magazines… but not the kind you read.)

I personally deal with my manly insecurities by always carrying a small pocket knife and regularly visiting Marsha, my therapist.

But I’ve given up trying to make that case with my beer-drinking neighbors. After all, they are my friends. They also are armed. If they want to spend their retirement saving on such stuff, if it makes them happy and calms their insecurities, then go for it.

With one caveat:

With all of anger and violence in our country It’s time we start regulating your assault rifles. Just like we regulate your pickups.

Although my friends often talk about potential Second Amendment infringements, I’ve never heard one complaint about the need to get a driver’s license, register their truck, insure said truck, and pay for an annual inspection. Nor have they expressed any concerns that there’s a secret plot by the Obama Administration to eliminate their right to drive pickups.

So why not do the same with assault rifles. Before you could buy one you would have to take both a written and shooting test. If you passed, you could get your rifle. But, you’d have to register it, insure it, and get it inspected annually, just to make sure you hadn’t made it fully automatic.

Except for the long lines at the Department of Weapons, and the sullen bureaucrats collecting your fees, there shouldn’t be any hassles.

Then, with everything in order, you could get in your truck, drive to the range and have some manly fun. Be careful though, as your mother always said, you could shoot your eye out.