Slate Article on the Gun Store


PDA






jsalcedo
July 21, 2004, 04:18 PM
http://slate.msn.com/id/2096261


Bulletproof Me
The Gun Store is the perfect representation of Vegas' wacky charm.
By Tim Carvell
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at 8:00 AM PT



"What happens in Vegas," the city's sinister tourist-board slogan proclaims, "stays in Vegas." It's the perfect motto for a vacation destination where one can indulge in activities not commonly available at home—a metropolis where gambling, prostitution, and warbling "My Heart Will Go On" while surrounded by capering Cirque du Soleil acrobats are all perfectly legal. But of all the attractions of Sin City, one of the most sublime isn't advertised on the city's billboards or spelled out in neon letters on the Strip—in fact, it isn't even on the Strip. Instead, it's a few miles east, in a nondescript building kitty-corner from a Wal-Mart, a low-slung, windowless building with a sign out front that says, in big letters "GUNS—Indoor Range." This is the Gun Store, and it is where locals—and, especially, out-of-towners—come for the rare opportunity to fire off anything from handguns to machine guns on the in-house target range. Nevada's gun-control laws are sufficiently relaxed that, in exchange for plunking down a few 20s and a photo ID, it's possible to while away an afternoon with some of the deadliest weapons known to man.

With its lack of windows, the store looks forbidding from the outside, but the staff of the Gun Store are, to a one, exceptionally friendly—as, perhaps, they can afford to be, since they are all armed to the teeth. They're mostly former police officers or ex-military, and they all have fine, dark senses of humor. "I'm assuming there's some safety training, because I would very much like to not shoot my face off," I inform the proprietor, Bob Irwin, before beginning my morning of shooting. "Are you sure?" he asks pleasantly. "It would make for a better story if you did."

After a brief how-not-to-shoot-your-face-off tutorial from salesperson Mike Veitch—who offers the motto, "Safety first, safety last, mistakes happen very fast"—I am equipped with safety glasses and a noise-dampening headset and handed a Ruger GP-100 revolver. It is the first time I've ever held a gun, and it's a bit heavier than I expected. It is also a bit scarier. Granted, there are plenty of common objects that, in my hands, have the potential for horrific outcomes—steering wheels, stove knobs, steam irons, babies (I'm a bit clumsy)—but none that have bodily harm as their sole and exclusive purpose.


Continue Article

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Holding it in my hands, it seems entirely possible that a bullet could come out of the barrel at any given instant. The fact that some men carry loaded guns in their pants' waistbands has never seemed more incredible to me than at this moment. I'm very careful to keep the barrel of the gun pointed down the target range—away from my instructors, bystanders, and, especially, my own head—and to be very gentle in picking it up and putting it down. It doesn't take long before I realize that I'm far more nervous about the fact that I'm holding a gun than the store's staff is.

I sample a few of the store's wares and learn this: Firing a .38 caliber bullet makes precisely the satisfying pop you'd hope a gun would make. And also this: Firing a .357 makes a bang that seems like a sonic boom, and the gun's recoil is not unlike being shoved by a bouncer. And, finally, this: Firing an MP-5 machine gun is a terrific adrenaline rush. "A lot of people—especially the ladies—let out this tremendous whoop the first time they fire off one of these," Veitch informs me. "The first time my wife fired one of those, I had to buy her one," adds one of his co-workers.

I also discover that, if and when I am attacked by paper targets, I stand a pretty decent chance of fending them off. Although a session in the store's video-shooting gallery—where you can fire live ammunition into a pressure-sensitive target wall, onto which video images of police shootouts are projected—dispels any false confidence the target range might have inspired. If I should ever become an officer of the peace, I stand a decent chance of winding up either dead or hauled before a disciplinary review board. "I shot a few civilians. And I kept running out of ammunition before I ran out of bad guys," I tell the store's staffers when they ask how I fared. "Always save a bullet for yourself," one of them counsels wisely. It's the kind of advice one never finds embroidered on throw pillows.

Its name notwithstanding, a decent proportion of the Gun Store's clientele aren't there to buy guns. They are, like me, just out-of-town pencil-necked geeks looking for kicks. The store, Irwin says, does $3 million in business a year, and half of that comes from the target range. On weekends, the lines for the range can go out the door.

The store's business spikes when certain conventions are in town—sportsmen's conventions, as you'd expect, but also computer confabs. "They like to come in here and shoot their competitors' laptops," Irwin says. "We have to sweep up all the little computer bits off the range." And there are the occasional parties of women celebrating a recent divorce who will put up a photo of the ex-husband and shoot it to smithereens. But perhaps the oddest client Irwin can recall was the gentleman who came in and shot up a photograph of himself—a sign of either deep self-loathing or perhaps a blood feud between a pair of identical twins. In either case, Irwin says, "We would not have sold him a gun."

After a brief perusal of the store's other merchandise—Tazers, hunting knives, videos with titles like Shoot to Live! and Rock & Roll #3: Sexy Girls, Sexy Guns—I head back to my hotel on the Strip, driving past ads for Vegas' better-known attractions: loose slots, daring acrobats, and death-defying magicians.

In its way, the Gun Store fits in perfectly with these other attractions, whose appeal rests upon a never entirely concealed undercurrent of danger: Maybe you'll lose your house on this hand of blackjack, maybe an acrobat will fall from the trapeze, maybe tonight's the night the trained tiger will forget its training. We go to Vegas for the danger that's lacking in our daily lives. But that's only half the appeal of Vegas. The other half is that, at the end of the trip, you can leave the danger behind. And while I know there are 3 million NRA members who might beg to differ, one of the greatest pleasures of visiting the Gun Store came in returning my weapons to the staff at the end of my visit and going back to a life in which I never need to remember to save a bullet for myself.


Tim Carvell is a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly.

If you enjoyed reading about "Slate Article on the Gun Store" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
srschick
July 21, 2004, 04:34 PM
Is this the part where Ahnuld would say "girlie man"?

Holding it in my hands, it seems entirely possible that a bullet could come out of the barrel at any given instant

Yea, that's exactly how the laws of physics and mechanics works.
At least on the other side of the fence.

geekWithA.45
July 21, 2004, 05:11 PM
Holding it in my hands, it seems entirely possible that a bullet could come out of the barrel at any given instant

Well, that's true. Any given instant in which you've loaded the gun, chambered a round, disengaged the safety, and actuated the trigger.

If a bullet didn't come out, the gun's broke, and you need a new one. :neener:

Bobarino
July 21, 2004, 05:16 PM
''And also this: Firing a .357 makes a bang that seems like a sonic boom, and the gun's recoil is not unlike being shoved by a bouncer."

wuss.

''And while I know there are 3 million NRA members who might beg to differ, ''

4 million, thank you very much.

i'd like to see him go in there and call all the other patron out-of-town pencil-neck geeks to their faces and see what they have to say about that.

Bobby

Mulliga
July 21, 2004, 05:22 PM
"The first time my wife fired one of those, I had to buy her one," adds one of his co-workers.

Err...how is this possible? I was under the impression that legally obtaining a real FA MP5 is about as easy as pulling teeth with a clothespin.

Sleeping Dog
July 21, 2004, 05:23 PM
The Gun Store is the perfect representation of Vegas' wacky charm.

And Tim Carvell is the perfect representation of Entertainment Weekly's wacky charm.

But his article helped me realize that maybe there really are people who shouldn't be allowed to handle guns.

:p

Regards

Chipperman
July 21, 2004, 05:30 PM
"Err...how is this possible? I was under the impression that legally obtaining a real FA MP5 is about as easy as pulling teeth with a clothespin."

No, I have one. You need to live in a state that allows it, jump through the hoops, and be prepared to spend a lot of money.

MP5's are going for about $13-14k right now.

bogie
July 21, 2004, 05:30 PM
I was under the impression that legally obtaining a real FA MP5

Not on a Form 4, but if you're a dealer, and it's a dealer sample...

Hutch
July 21, 2004, 05:54 PM
The writer has some deeply-rooted issues that he should deal with. Lotta anxiety and misinformation in there.

junyo
July 21, 2004, 06:20 PM
It's not that bad. First time he'd ever held a guy in his life, after God knows how many decades of being brainwashed that guns were/are inherently dangerous, downright 'evil' devices, "that have bodily harm as their sole and exclusive purpose." Thinking that is could go off at any time is what they tell each other. I argue witha Canadian all the time who is constantly amazed that a person can carry a loaded gun and not either a)shoot off some part of his anatomy, or b) whip it out at the slightest provocation and waste everyone in the vicinity. Give Mr. Carvell for recognizing that other everyday items were just as dangerous, and for doing what a lot of them won't and actually trying it. This sort of coverage should be encouraged. "See, he didn't shoot his face off!"

jsalcedo
July 21, 2004, 06:54 PM
Compared to other slate articles, this one isn't too bad.

The guy is a typical sheltered girlie man who thinks his musings are
factual. In fact the general population would consider this a pro-gun article.

Standing Wolf
July 21, 2004, 07:01 PM
Is this the part where Ahnuld would say "girlie man"?

Considering that Schwarzenegger R.I.N.O. has lately been loudly advocating the renewal of the so-called "assault weapons" ban, I'd have to say he's the girly man.

twency
July 21, 2004, 07:06 PM
But his article helped me realize that maybe there really are people who shouldn't be allowed to handle guns.Yes, well, that's the nasty little undesired consequence of the second ammendment: people we don't think should be armed have a right to be armed anyway. The key is not denying people like him access to guns, but rather making firearms training and education so common that it's really unusual for a person of his (presumed) age to not have held a gun before.

-twency

(Yes, I realize you were probably speaking a bit facetiously. I don't mean to imply you desire to take away civil rights from others.)

boofus
July 21, 2004, 07:06 PM
Holding the gun and thinking how easily it could go off isn't just something anti's or fence sitters do....

How many of you people are still afraid to carry a 1911 cocked and locked? Or take 1 look at a Glock with it's little trigger safety and decide you want a gun with a manual safety? Hell with my 5.7 I was afraid to keep a round chambered, because it has an internal hammer and the safety was just a little plastic switch. Even the FN manual says not to carry it with a round chambered, doesn't put your mind at peace. :scrutiny:

The H&K P7 is great for us paranoid types. :p
Though I did eventually get used to carrying the 1911 cocked and locked.
Still haven't gotten over the Glock phobia. :neener:

444
July 21, 2004, 07:30 PM
"a metropolis where gambling, prostitution, and warbling "My Heart Will Go On" while surrounded by capering Cirque du Soleil acrobats are all perfectly legal."

Along with all the other BS this clown spouts is another error. Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas. I am not sure it ever was, at least not in the over 20 years that I have lived and worked there.

Tamara
July 22, 2004, 01:06 AM
It must suck to be one of those folks who has to muster up every ounce of courage to their name just to be able to peek out from under the bedclothes every morning. :rolleyes:

100,000 years ago, when lightning struck the tree, this guy's ancestors were the ones who ran shrieking back into the cave. :scrutiny:

Treylis
July 22, 2004, 08:23 AM
Could have been worse, but, seriously, I can't imagine how weeniefied people are nowadays. (And, unlike a lot of things in which folks will talk about how it was so much better in "the old days" when it actually wasn't really different from now, well, this is different.)

tarrigoni
July 22, 2004, 10:37 AM
he may be a wuss but at least he gave it a shot. most anti's wouldn't even pick up a gun, let alone shoot an FA MP5.

capt_happypants
July 22, 2004, 10:42 AM
Next time he decides to go to the range, send him a package from

www.manties.net

RevDisk
July 22, 2004, 11:43 AM
Heh, at least he seemed to enjoy the experience. Gotta give him credit for that. If he fired off a few weapons and still decides he doesn't like firearms, that's his business.

Many of the shooters I take out for the first time are similiarly nervous. After a pleasant day at the range, more than a few invested in their own small arsenal... There is probably nothing more satisfying than turning an anti into a gun loonie. :D

RobW
July 22, 2004, 04:26 PM
but none that have bodily harm as their sole and exclusive purpose
The sole and exclusive purpose of my small collection of guns up to now was doing bodily harm TO PAPER!

And, as 444 stated, prostitution in Las Vegas IS PROHIBITED. Las Vegas is a far less "Sin City" than Washington, DC, with a former president that...

But we like the image, because it brings in the tourists that don't care to go to "The Nutcracker" or "Swan-Lake" with the family :evil:

444: Is there a gun-show in the near future in Pahrump? I looked up on every publication, but couldn't find any information about it.

Foreign Devil
July 22, 2004, 04:36 PM
Jeez, a guy who's open minded enough to try shooting shows the slightest ambivalence towards guns and you all jump all over him. Come on, guns aren't everyone's cup of tea.

another48hrs
July 22, 2004, 05:01 PM
This guy reminds me of the episode of Straight Plan for the Gay Man where they take the guy to a gun range and tell him that men when firing weapons say a phraze from a movie and the guy said "Frankly dear, I don't give a damn." Everybody was chearing for him but then they realized that it was from Gone with the Wind.

...one of the greatest pleasures of visiting the Gun Store came in returning my weapons to the staff at the end of my visit and going back to a life in which I never need to remember to save a bullet for myself.

:rolleyes:

stealthmode
July 22, 2004, 06:14 PM
he liked shooting and he knows it he just doesnt want to look like a hipocrit to his liberal anti friends:fire:

444
July 22, 2004, 10:09 PM
"444: Is there a gun-show in the near future in Pahrump? I looked up on every publication, but couldn't find any information about it."

I don't know about one, but then, that doesn't mean anything. They had one a few months ago and it really wasn't bad for a small town. One thing I can say for it, it was all guns or gun related equipment.
If I hear anything, I will get back to you.

"Jeez, a guy who's open minded enough to try shooting shows the slightest ambivalence towards guns and you all jump all over him. Come on, guns aren't everyone's cup of tea."

The problem I have with it is that even though he didn't like it (or implies that he didn't like it), he chose to write an article about it anyway. And one of the primary themes of the article is that guns are about violence. Some people see it that way, but I don't. My guns are for sport shooting. My personal enjoyment. I wouldn't hesitate to use one of them to defend my life, but that isn't why I bought any of them. That use is of secondry importance to me. When I look at a gun, I don't immediately imagine a violent senario.

bdhawk
July 23, 2004, 11:27 AM
i made my pilgrimage to 'THE GUN STORE', just this past spring. i shot a HK MP5, my dream gun. i have been shooting in excess of 40 years, yet i was as excited as a kid at xmas.

the employees were very friendly and knowledgable. they did stress safety. they stood there with you and watched your every move. they didn't know for sure i was an experience shooter, they stressed the fundimentals. it was a pricey visit 'cause i bought xtra ammo [all they allowed was the PMC geen frangable ammo to be shot on their range, $15.00 per 50 for 9MM] and a t-shirt and a sexy tank top for my lovely wife.

if you ever make it to vegas, visit the nice folks at 'THE GUN STORE'http://jupiter.walagata.com/w/bdhawk/vegas_038.jpg :D

Tharg
July 23, 2004, 05:39 PM
one of the greatest pleasures of visiting the Gun Store came in returning my weapons to the staff at the end of my visit and going back to a life in which I never need to remember to save a bullet for myself

Hope his life never includes an armed robery... or maybe being in a store at the wrong time... or.... or.... or...

Have to agree w/ a lot of ya'll tho - at least he tried it. Made me giggly my butt off about the .38spc vs. the .357 tho... I'd load up my Taurus tracker w/ 6 .38's and one .357 for friends. Just so they'd see the difference. =)

J/Tharg!

If you enjoyed reading about "Slate Article on the Gun Store" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!