Gersh Kuntzman's AR-15 PTSD

Gersh Kuntzman's AR-15 PTSD

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Updated Jun 23, 2016 at 07:26PM EDT by Don.

Added Jun 23, 2016 at 06:03PM EDT by Don.

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Gersh Kuntzman’s AR-15 PTSD refers to a claim of temporary post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) alleged by American journalist Gersh Kuntzman in an article detailing his experience of test-firing an ArmaLite AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at a shooting range. Upon the publication of the article in June 2016, Kuntzman was widely accused of sensationalizing his experience to instill his pro-gun control agenda, prompting many of his critics to record and share videos of themselves firing the same weapon to demonstrate its relatively low-recoil.


On June 14th, 2016, the New York Daily News[1] published an article titled “What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, menacing and very very loud" by staff reporter Gersh Kuntzman. In the article, Kuntzman offers a first-person account of firing an AR-15 rifle at a shooting range on the day after the "Orlando nightclub shooting", claiming that the assault rifle produced “humbling and deafening” firepower, while the recoil bruised his shoulder and the explosions gave him “a temporary form of PTSD.”

"The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don't know what you're doing. 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."


That day, the conservative news blog The Resurgent[5] published an article titled "My 10 Year Old Daughter is Tougher Than Gersh Kuntzman," which criticized Kuntzman for falsely identifying the AR-15 as a "tactical machine gun" and for claiming to have experienced PTSD after firing the weapon. On June 15th, the NY Daily News[4] published an follow-up piece written by Kuntzman, in which he revealed that many readers had sent insulting messages, referring to him as a "pussy," "sissy" and advising him to use feminine hygiene products.

Online Reaction

On June 15th, posts mocking the article for being sensational and poorly researched were submitted to the /r/The_Donald[3] and /r/Firearms[2] subreddits. On June 16th, the Mo_tard YouTube channel uploaded a video titled "Shooting an AR15, a ptsd creating event," featuring footage of a young man panicking while being instructed to fire an assault rife on the Scandinavian reality television show Gay Army (shown below, left). Meanwhile, YouTuber Robert Landen uploaded footage of a seven-year-old girl firing an AR-15 with ease (shown below, right).

On June 17th, YouTuber Christopher Waller uploaded footage of himself firing an AR-15 while bracing the stock on his nose, demonstrating the low recoil of the firearm (shown below, left). Within one week, the video gained over 1.1 million views and 760 comments. On June 20th, YouTuber Marcus Adams uploaded footage of himself firing an AR-15 while bracing the stock on his genitals (shown below, right).

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