One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from non-Americans is “You're Americans. Do you carry guns aboard?” The answer is … no, we don't … for several reasons. Politics and philosophies aside, it's a legitimate question considering all the press the US gets about guns and gun control (or lack thereof).
We've been passing The Gun Store at least twice every day on our way to and from bringing Mary to work or visiting Becky. We thought it might be worth a stop to see what they're actually about. The sign outside beckons customers in with the alluring proposal … “Try One” under a picture of a machine gun. For an early Sunday morning, when most people are at church, the parking lot had quite a few cars.
All the store personnel were dressed in black and packing sidearms. They were friendly and helpful enough, but it's easy to be friendly when you're toting a gun and your customers aren't. We asked to look around and take pictures … no problem. They offered quite an array of guns, knives and accessories for sale. A plasticized brochure explained why noise suppressors, i.e. silencers, are legal in several states and why US citizens are denied their Constitutional rights in states where silencers are not legal. Lucky for us, Nevada is one of the states where they're allowed. It keeps the noise down.
From the retail store, we walked down the hall and into the Firing Range lobby. Without eye and ear protection, this was a far as we could go. Here customers could choose from several shooting packages available. For instance, for as little as $179.95 you can shoot a handgun, a rifle and a machine gun … a few shots from each. For $995, you get the deluxe VIP package which includes firing two submachine guns, two handguns, two semi-automatic rifles, a sniper rifle, 5 shots on a Dirty Harry Magnum 44 and more. We saw Uzis and various other automatic weapons displayed on the wall. Some were for display only … others were meant for action.
There's a special kid's package for $49.95, but kids can only shoot if their parents are present … it's a fun family activity. We also learned that “lead-free frangible ammunition” is used. How environmentally green can you get? And … you'll love this … consider The Gun Store as your wedding venue … screw the chapel idea.
Obviously, this is not our idea of a good time, but many folks there seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. One store employee said that the international visitors seemed to be the most enthusiastic … like folks from England and Australia, for instance, where firearms are illegal.
We refrain from making political comments on this blog, so suffice it to say that if folks enjoy shooting, this is a great place to do it safely on a range with certified instructors. We'd prefer the Wetlands Reserve for our Sunday morning family forays.