But as Brinley leaned self-confidently against a railing as though a backpack, not a deadly firearm, were slung across his back, it also became clear that his gun stance contains more nuance and complexity than the absolutism of America's big gun lobbies, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America, which Ron Paul once called "the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington."
A 30-something suburban aerospace engineer with studs in both ears, a fashionable haircut, and business-casual attire, Brinley says his right to buy and shoot AR-15s should never be curtailed, as bills in Congress now propose.
But, by the same token, he acknowledges there are fundamental problems with America's gun regulation system, citing holes in the background-check process and cross checks with mental-health records. That puts him at odds with the NRA's stated positions.
"OK, it's ridiculous to ban 10, 20, or 30-round magazines, but I'm not really sure who really needs a 100-round magazine," he says about a proposal to limit purchases of 10-round magazines.
After Newtown, there's indeed a new conversation rising from what appears to be a collective desire by Americans to heal the country's penchant for senseless gun violence.
The NRA will probably never back down from its absolutist "no infringement" stance on the Second Amendment, but polls and interviews with everyday gun owners suggest that even stalwart shooting range enthusiasts like Brinley see the current system as imperfect, even dangerous.