Shouting above the explosions that echo off the concrete walls, Farago gives me a comprehensive tutorial. I learn how to handle the guns; how to stand properly; how to load, aim, fire, follow through, and re-load without putting anyone in danger. At one point, he loads bullets into random revolver chambers and hands me the gun for an exercise in avoiding flinching before firing. Later, he takes the snub-nose .38 — his B.U.G. ("back-up gun") — from his pocket and invites me to put it in my jeans pocket. "That's keeping and bearing arms," he says, proudly, as I take a few nervous paces around the shooting area.

While he is clearly enjoying himself, Farago is never reckless during our time together. He is professorial about the dangers and capabilities of his guns, and quick to remind me that, however fun he finds them, they are an absolute last resort. "I have a Plan C," he says. "A is to leave. B is to leave. And C is to defend myself . . . I'm only going to use my firearm if my life is in danger." He spends plenty of time at the range practicing pulling his gun from its holster and raising it to a ready position, never firing. And he reminds me of the ongoing TTAG video feature, "Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day," and says "the other side of a right is a responsibility."

We eventually work our way up to the the Benelli shotgun — the same model the US Marines are issued. "Aim for the head just for fun," he says, referring to the human-silhouette target a few yards down range. I load a few shells roughly the size of D batteries into the gun, take aim, and pull the trigger. The blast feels like a heavyweight punch to my shoulder. My shot hits the target's neck and leaves a fist-sized chunk of paper flapping.

"If you're walking around thinking that, if something bad is gonna happen, the cops are gonna be there to save you, they're not," Farago explains when I ask why he packs his pistol to, say, the Wayland Square Starbucks, where we first meet. "They're gonna be there afterwards." He tells me a story from high school in the mid-1970s when he was mugged at knifepoint a few blocks from Providence City Hall. "I looked into the guy's eyes and I couldn't believe it," he says. "I could see in his eyes that he was perfectly willing to stab me to death right there, [in] broad daylight."

Nowadays, guns are his livelihood. When we part ways, he is fuming about New York's recently passed Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act — "the most egregious package of gun laws this country has ever seen," he says. He also has a brand new TTAG spinoff — — to minister to.

Before I leave, though, I circle back to his vision of an unregulated America where anyone with cash and a driver's license has easy access to guns. Is he worried about homicidal maniacs?

"Uh, yeah," he says. "That's why I have a gun."

Philip Eil

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