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. —

This contrasts with the machine gun laws, which remain ironclad. Spencer would like to see them relaxed.

Spencer is an "IT guy for the government," and he lives in Sierra Vista, Ariz., the home of the Army's Fort Huachuca. He's a heavyset man with sad blue eyes. He says he wishes he hadn't quit the Air Force in 1982. That was a mistake, he says, and his dad never let him forget it. He and his father had little in common except for shooting. Spencer enjoyed acting in plays, but his dad never came to watch them, so Spencer played football instead.

At the Big Sandy Shoot, Spencer gives away bumper stickers that read, "Liberty is not a loophole." He tells people that if a store or restaurant won't let them pack a gun on the premises, they should launch a silent protest by walking in with an empty holster.

At night, red and green tracer rounds arc into the sky, and flares cast an eerie strobelike light on the exuberant shooters still at their stations.

Behind the shooter stations, in a truck trailer bed that's been converted into a gunsmith shop, Dolf Goldsmith tinkers with a 1918 machine gun. He's a stooped, balding guy in his 80s who is recovering from recent heart surgery. He's wearing a frog-print shirt because he loves frogs almost as much as he loves machine guns.

He grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the United States when he was 16. He served in the Korean War. His father wanted him to go to college, but he didn't finish. Instead, he became a machine gun expert. He's owned about 1,000 machine guns, and he's written several books about machine guns. He invented a special screwdriver to repair machine guns.

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