I was at the National Rifle Association's gun range in Northern Virginia the other day, shooting an AR-15 "assault rifle."
It's eerie to hold at first, as if the gun were not merely the same kind used in several recent mass killings but the same one.
And when you hear the blast from that supersonic .223-caliber bullet, the thought that someone would use such a weapon on elementary school children makes you want to put it down.
Ban it. Take it away. Beat it into a plowshare. For a moment, the proposal by gun-control advocates to outlaw the rifle actually seemed to make sense.
It was the relief that accompanies any quick fix to a vexing problem. Doing something is better than doing nothing, President Barack Obama says.
Except that blaming the gun really is doing nothing. The more I fired the AR-15, the harder it was to pretend that any gun was somehow more dangerous than the person holding it.
Who would use a weapon to kill and why? Those ought to be the most pressing questions in the gun debate, not which weapon they use.
There are too many to choose from. And no gun law magic act will make any of them disappear.
I don't particularly like the AR-15, although it is one of the most popular rifles in the country. Three million have been sold, according to an NRA researcher.
But to define it as an assault rifle because of how it looks - with a pistol grip, adjustable stock, flash suppressor and "high-capacity" magazine - is silly.
You want to see a dangerous-looking gun, look at the one Obama was photographed skeet shooting with at Camp David last summer. That shotgun of his was big enough to take down a woolly mammoth.
When I pulled the trigger on the AR-15, one high-powered round came out. Maybe I hit something; maybe I didn't.
Obama can't miss. He could clear a room with one double-barreled blast.