Weatherford Democrat

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July 31, 2013

ONLINE ONLY: Machine guns, cannons and drones at Arizona's Big Sandy Shoot

(Continued)

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. —

The gun roars.

In the weeks that follow, the Senate slaps down gun control legislation, thanks in part to Jeff Flake, who votes against the measure. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly vow to soldier on via their Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. They don't talk about machine guns.

I ring up Eric Lutfy, the ammunition salesman, who says even though gun control failed, gun owners remain "scared to death" of gun control. "People believe that the Obama administration is forming an army funded by the U.S. government under the pretext of homeland security," he tells me. "That's the word on the street."

Darwin Edwards and his friend John Paskey left the Big Sandy Shoot early. The 4,000-mile round trip from Kentucky, Edwards says, was worth doing once. He says the machine gun community proves the efficacy of rigorous background checks: "Machine gun owners are one of the few groups of people who can prove they're not felons." Ammo remains "really just not available because of the feeding frenzy" fueled by the gun control legislation. But Edwards isn't worried. He's got enough ammo to last him the rest of his life. He's deeply disappointed that the Senate didn't pass gun control. "The majority of people in the country, including me, were in favor of that particular bill," he says. "I don't see how any thinking person would vote against it."

Kenton Tucker and Ed Hope are busy organizing the next shoot, coming up in October. Hope says the spring Big Sandy Shoot was the best ever. Attendance increased, and the remote machine gun range maintained its stellar safety record.

Me, I keep thinking back to shooting that .50-caliber Swiss anti-tank monster machine gun. Man, was that fun.

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