August 1, 2007, 10:53 AM

I work for an award winning documentary production company based in London, England. I'm currently in the process of developing a documentary about British gun tourism in the US.

As you might be aware, we have pretty tight laws when it comes handguns and automatic weapons so we propose to follow a British family on a trip to the US to learn about and shoot guns. The documentary will explore gun tourism as well as shooting as a family activity.

I'm really keen to speak to both British and American families who allow their children to shoot and I came across a number of posts on your board about children and toy guns, etc.

I'm interested on your opinions on this potential documentary idea and whether any of you would be happy to discuss your experiences with raising a family around guns with me?



* If you would prefer to get in contact with me via email, please PM me first

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August 1, 2007, 11:05 AM
Welcome to THR :)

While I can't give any information as to how I raised children with guns (seeing as I have none), I can give some input as to how I was raised around them.

Unfortunately, my family never owned guns, but was by no means hostile towards them or anti-gun. They just simply had no interest, but that is beginning to change.

My exposure to any sort of hands-on projectile firing began around age 7 in Cub Scouts with BB/Pellet guns. I would do this every year at camp until Boy Scouts (~12), where we began to shoot .22s and 12 gauge. All three of the children, myself and two brothers, began our exposure to firearms this way. I remember the range instructor in Cub Scouts being a local police officer, and the Boy Scout instructor being an NRA certified instructor.

About age 12 I was gifted with my own air rifle by my grandmother, and put many thousand pellets through it in the backyard, mostly without supervision as my parents trusted me to use it carefully until I proved otherwise. I admit shooting a thing or two I shouldn't have, such as dad's bird feeder, but never did anything that could have been harmful to myself or others with it.

I began to take an interest in "real" firearms at that time, but seeing as my younger brother was very unruly, my parents would not let me have a firearm in the house, fearing he may get hold of it. So, I had to wait until I was 19 and moved out to get my own real rifle. My first purchase was an SKS.

Now, I have kind of worked backwards with guns, educating and exposing my parents/brothers to firearms, rather than the other way around. I recently sold my dad his first gun (my old 1911), and he's interested in competing in IDPA (competitive handgun shooting) with me. I also have taken my younger brother, who is much more mature now, I might say, to the range a few times and he's now interested in firearms, and is planning on purchasing a shotgun for trap shooting.

I apologize for not being able to share on how to raise children around firearms, but I figured I'd add my own experiences - hope it helped.

August 1, 2007, 11:09 AM
make sure you talk to old people as well. I remember stories by my Father, about him and his friends, riding on city buses, with their hunting gear, to include rifles, taking it out as far from the city routes as possible, and then get off to go hunting. I heard a woman call in to a talk show on this very subject, who said when she was younger, that she would have ballet classes after school, followed by shooting instruction at the Police Auxilliiary club, taught by the officers. It was free as well.

August 1, 2007, 11:15 AM
+1 on what Rangerruck said, even though it is not strictly within the scope of your piece--when my high-school physics teacher told me about how the majority of the boys at his high-school brought their shotgun or rifle to school in order to take advantage of various hunting seasons, my mind stripped a gear trying to reconcile that reality against what I'd been taught about society.

August 1, 2007, 11:22 AM

I'm currently married with two children (daughter age 13 and son age 6) We enjoy the shooting sports. My daughter has her own shotgun and likes shooting Trap and Pheasant Hunting. Please E-mail or PM me as would would like to help you with your project.

PM sent also.

August 1, 2007, 11:38 AM

August 1, 2007, 11:56 AM
First off, welcome to THR


Well letís see. I have do not have children of my own yet, but as a child I was raised in a home with firearms and was taught to shoot, as were my two sisters. I donít know the exact age when I was first taught to shoot, but I do remember being fairly young and that a premium was always put on safety. My Father was not a hunter, although he had nothing against it. My Grand Father however, was a hunter, and loved the outdoors. It was my Grand Father who taught me to hunt and from whom I acquired my love of the out doors, but my father taught me marksmanship. There were always guns in our home, and we always knew where they were, but none of us ever ďplayedĒ with them. As a mater of fact, I cannot even remember touching any of my fatherís guns unless he was in the room.

In my younger days I would visit with my cousins in a rural part of New York state. His neighbors owned a horse farm, and had quite a rabbit and gopher problem. Anyone who knows horses can tell you that if a horse steps in a gopher hole it can break itís leg, and then will most likely need to be euthanized. So, on a few of the nice summer days that I would spend in ďthe countryĒ with my cousin, he and I would take his rifle, a lever action .22, and walk to his neighbors house which was about half a mile (approximately 1 km.) When we arrived, his neighbor, Mrs. Coleman, would make us breakfast and supply us with a box or two of 22 shells. We would shoot the varmints and be paid $1.00 each for them, which being about 12 at the time (my cousin was 15) was a great deal. We got a great home made meal, we got to shoot all day for free, and we got paid. To a 12 year old it didnít get any better than that.

Until college, I viewed fire arms as mainly hunting tools or to be used for target. That all changed one night when two men armed with a baseball bat and a crowbar or pipe (it was dark and hard to see) kicked in my door. This was at about 2:30 A.M., when I confronted them and they saw my gun, they ran away. Having a gun saved me from potential bodily harm (or death) with out firing a shot. When I called the police it took them over 4 minutes to get to my apartment. Even with my martial arts background, there was no way that I, a healthy, fit, athletic, man could have fought off two large armed attackers for 4 minutes. That night I changed my view of guns.

So thatís my back ground. If we or I can help in any way, please just ask.


August 1, 2007, 12:19 PM

August 1, 2007, 12:43 PM
Welcome to THR. I hope your company does not slant the piece in a way that shows the Crazy Gun Toting Americans. :barf:

I suggest you look at the website of one of our estemmed Moderators, pax:


I was raised with guns in the house, but I was the only one to take much interest in them. My three sons are not old enough yet, but I will teach them to shoot soon.

August 1, 2007, 01:18 PM

We have several members here from the UK, Australia and the EU. You may want to correspond with them for some information.

As to shooting tourism, the area I live in has many foreign visitors either attending/working at the University or working at the Department of Energy National Laboratory. The largest indoor firing range often has folks attending from outside the U.S. to shoot on the range. Some become enthusiastic sportsmen, but the majority come in simply for the experience.

If you are interested in producing an objective documentary on the shooting sports and UK shooting tourism you'll find THR members very happy to help.

August 1, 2007, 01:28 PM
Anyone thinking of contacting this person may want to google "Borat Hoax Victims" first.,2933,226960,00.html

August 1, 2007, 01:38 PM
Alice ~

What is the name of your production company?


Mr White
August 1, 2007, 01:43 PM


I have two sons, ages 12 and 10. We live in a small rural town. Both of my sons are well trained in the use of firearms. They each probably know more about guns than most people in the UK. My sons and I shoot competitively as well as for informally for pleasure.

As young as they may seem, they both know where the guns are stored and how to use them if the need should ever arise. I trust both of them to make the right decisions as to what constitutes a dire threat. My sons are more knowledgable about guns and have a greater understanding of the respect with which guns should be treated, than the vast majority of Americans.

Art Eatman
August 1, 2007, 01:50 PM
What you'll find is that "gun folks" are rather distrustful, since many of those who speak out against firearms use purely emotional arguments which have little to do with the reality of inanimate objects. And, frankly, we're tired of both mistaken ideas and outright lies.

I started shooting rifles at around age seven, and pistols at around age sixteen. I'm now seventy-three. I like to think I know a little bit more than somebody who's never shot nor hunted.

I've been involved in discussions about gun control laws since 1967. That's another area where I tend to think I have some knowledge of the pros and cons. Many of us here regularly access governmental databases for our factual information. We're also acquainted with the conclusions from many researchers into all firearms issues.

So bring on your specific questions. You will be able to put a good, objective and honest segment together, if your editors aren't working from pre-conceived notions...


August 1, 2007, 02:55 PM
Alice ~

What is the name of your production company?On this message board:

A new member named AliceFirecracker listed her e-mail address as Web site for that domain:

A few more message board posts from Ms. Firecracker:

(Note responses from UK members in the above thread.)

Iím not saying there is anything that is not completely straight about this person or her posts, Iím just advising if anyone contacts this person they should do a little research and use a little discretion.

August 1, 2007, 02:59 PM
^ Thanks for the links. After reviewing the firecrackerfilms website, I would treat this with the utmost skepticism, and recommend that nobody agree to give any information in person.

Check out the "Broadcast" section of their website to see what I mean.

EDIT: See next post of mine for clarification.

August 1, 2007, 03:12 PM
Let's take up a collection and fly her over here to meet some families and shoot some guns.



P.S. - I'm 56 and grew up in a gun-owning family around other gun-owning families. They're just guns.

August 1, 2007, 03:16 PM
Check out the "Broadcast" section of their website to see what I mean.

I have to tell you, I have no idea what you mean. I have actually watched two of the shows that are listed on their "Broadcast" section, "The Man Whose Arms Exploded" and "The Worlds Strongest Boy". Both aired on TLC a year or two ago, and both still air on TLC on occasion.

I really am curious for you to just say why you are skeptical of the company. To be honest with you, after I viewed the website, I think I am actually more inclined to give information to them simply because they are by all appearances a legitimate film company.

August 1, 2007, 03:18 PM
I will admit I have never seen any of those, but the source in combination with programming that seems like it would not be in company with that which would put a positive (or even neutral) light on guns set off my alarms.

I'll take your word for it if you say their stuff is legit, as I was also unaware they air content on TLC.

Creeping Incrementalism
August 1, 2007, 03:33 PM

Art Eatman
August 1, 2007, 03:46 PM
Just a suggestion, but waiting for her comments seems to be a reasonable idea for now.


August 1, 2007, 06:05 PM
I thought The World's Strongest Boy was a great documentary -- strange, Yes, but if it was completely prosaic, it wouldn't have been a great documentary ;)

This sounds like an interesting topic to me. No kids on which to comment, though, and I can't yet afford any gun tourism to speak of :) I'd sure like to get to an Appleseed shoot, though.


August 2, 2007, 05:47 AM

Thanks for your comments. Yes - I do work for a legitimate company. If you're interested in find out more about some of the documentaries we've made in the past, check out:


August 2, 2007, 10:56 AM
It sounds as if there are many of us willing to be part of this project.

August 2, 2007, 11:07 AM
You may want to get in touch with the NRA. They have two large facilities, one in Virginia, the other in New Mexico I think, that I'd certainly consider tourist spots. I also believe Smith & Wesson's Headquarters in Springfield, Mass. is also a bit "touristy." Getting in touch with a hunting outfitter in, say, The Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, or Alaska could also yield some interesting stuff.

That being said, it'd be interesting to see the contrast of people raised around guns that lived in Alaska versus Illinois or New Jersey.

Good luck on the film, and don't let the tin foil hat brigade dissuade you.

August 2, 2007, 11:39 AM
The 'gun tourism' thing only exists because of gun prohibition in the home country. It would be best to contact an organization equipped to best help in all facets; I personally would seek a letter of introduction from the National Rifle Association of United Kingdom. That will open doors and establish trust here in the United States. Good Luck with the project.

Don Gwinn
August 2, 2007, 12:01 PM
I'd help, but I doubt there are that many "gun tourists" coming to my state of Illinois. We have relatively strict laws compared to the rest of the U.S.

Don Gwinn
August 2, 2007, 12:04 PM
You know, it has occurred to me to wonder whether there's an easy solution.

Alice, what most here are worried about is selective editing used to make them look like fools, liars, hateful fascists, or what have you. That may sound odd, but for gun owners, it's the voice of LONG and bitter experience speaking.

In today's Youtube age, why not have your own camera running when you're being interviewed? If you think the final piece is deceptive, you can always just put the unedited film up on YouTube and let the public decide.

August 4, 2007, 12:48 PM

Thats a suggestion that makes sense. I have often wondered why atheletes, the most misqouted people on the face of the earth, at least according to them, don't do the same thing.

August 4, 2007, 02:15 PM
I have been in the business for many, many, many years, and for quite some time was a class 2 manufacture, back when it was legal to make class 3 and sell to the public. One of our customers from Portland OR. had a range at his shop and rented mac 10 & 11's, Thompson's, as well as HK's for use in his range, He once told me he had dozens of Japanese each month come in to shoot and pose for pictures with different guns their favorites were the Thomson, Dirty Harry's 44 S&W, and colt single 6's.
I'm sure that wasn't the only reason they came to America but it was a big attraction. So though I did read some warning posts from the UK it could be on the up and up.

My 14 year old Grandson just told me it would help him to trust her if she posted a picture of herself in a bikini. I'm not sure what it would help or maybe I just don't remember what it would help.

August 4, 2007, 02:40 PM
jpcampbell's grandson just wants to be sure that she has nothing (more) to hide. Of course, he would prefer complete disclosure. He has yet to learn that somethings are better left to the imagination.

August 4, 2007, 02:54 PM
Thats a suggestion that makes sense. I have often wondered why atheletes, the most misqouted people on the face of the earth, at least according to them, don't do the same thing.
Usually they can't because rarely have the rights to, or even a copy of the raw footage.

Gun owners have little expectation of fairness from the media in general. Often what is portrayed about us is severely misrepresented or downright false. It is hard to get past that.

And from a company in a foreign land where firearms are all but banned to law abiding citizens, it seems a hatchet job is almost a certainty. So you can understand why we might be a little skeptical.

Having said that, rather than spend all your time at the high end ranges, spend some time with local gun clubs. You will meet some of the greatest people in the world. They will have a variety of guns they will be more than happy to have you shoot.

You might want to take the NRA basic pistol, rifle, and shotgun classes while you are here if you do not have any shooting experience. Safety first.

Despite what Don said about illinois having some strict rules on firearms (we do), we also have plenty of places to shoot, and plenty of firearms (although - you can never really have enough guns).

August 4, 2007, 03:01 PM
If you participate, remember to keep your guard up and your lawyer's number handy. 99% of the time when an outside production outfit does something like this it *IS* an attack piece. That's what sells to their audience. If this ends up being what I strongly suspect it is, you will look like an absolute fool and there will be NOTHING you can do about it. You are swimming with sharks, boyos. PROCEED WITH EXTREME CAUTION!

Houston Tom
August 4, 2007, 05:03 PM
IT's funnt the other week I was at the range and the guy next to me had brought his father -in-law (a brit) out to shoot you could tell years of living in gunbs ar e bad society had really taken hold, by the time I left the guy was havign a blast, like a kid in a candy store or me at a gun show. I heard him tell his son that after luch they shoudl come back with the rifles and shoot so more.

Dave from Alberta
September 17, 2007, 09:50 AM
Up here in Canada, anyone that wants to can go to a registered range and shoot, many places will have range owned handguns and rifles that they will rent to guests. Everytime I go, there has been a range safety officer standing over my shoulder, so it is safe enough. I can't see anyone flying across the ocean to fire an handgun though. I can see someone doing an afternoon at the range when combined with another trip though.

September 17, 2007, 10:01 AM
Dave, I've bumped into people from the UK at large IDPA and Multi-Gun matches.

September 17, 2007, 03:28 PM
the term "gun tourism" . Does that mean traveling to North America for a hunting trip? Does it mean traveling to America to see the outlandish native custom of going about your daily business armed with guns, knives and various self defense sprays? Does it mean traveling to America to see the bazaars of mayhem known as "gun shows"? Perhaps it means coming to America to learn practical martial arts skills unavailable to them elsewhere. I think a great deal depends on AliceFirecracker's definition of "gun tourism".

September 17, 2007, 03:38 PM
Once again, folks, tread with EXTREME CAUTION when it comes to these sort of requests!!! It appears they're looking to make some dupes here into a "freak of the week" for overseas consumption.

Firecracker Films, who have a long record of making “freak” programmes for Channel 5 such as The Man Whose Arms Exploded, My Penis and everyone else's and The Real Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, persist in contacting me claiming they want me to feature in a documentary they are making exploring how rapidly Britain has become a ‘surveillance society’. Yeah right!

October 12, 2007, 11:09 AM
Dear All,
My name is Catherine and I've taken this project over from my colleague Alice.

Thanks for all your comments and PMs.

We are attending the Sandy Falls Shoot in Arizona on 19-21 October and the COP Machine Gun Shoot on 27/28 October in Massachusetts. We are meeting families there to film.

If anyone on this forum is attending these events and would like to get involved with the film, please do get in touch.



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