I-Team: International Tourists Attracted to Nevada Gun Ranges

Ed. Note: The national debate about gun violence and gun control has generated strong emotions on all sides following the recent tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado. Should Americans' Second Amendment rights be restricted in the interests of public safety, or is gun violence something that no law could curb? This is Part 6 of Guns of Nevada.

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's growing gun culture is attracting international attention.

Giocomo DiLorenzo of Sydney, Australia unleashes a full military arsenal. He and his friend Gregory couldn't pass up an experience to shoot high-powered guns in Las Vegas.

"It's the American thing to do," he said.

Despite a half-dozen Las Vegas gun ranges opening up last year, the line at The Gun Store range is as long as it is diverse. Inspired by movies, video games and innate curiosity, international tourists pay hundreds of dollars to destroy paper targets.

"Number one rule is safety," an instructor tells a group of Japanese tourists.

There is a look of glee on the faces of the tourists. Handgun possession is illegal in Japan, let alone the semi-automatic rifles they are shooting.

"Fun. Exciting. Fantastic," Takahida Saganawa tells the I-Team.

Even after shooting the guns, many international tourists still can't quite comprehend how -- or why -- these guns are in American homes and holsters.

Nevada Gun Poll Results

"Gun laws are good. I think if you could have shooting ranges like this in Australia, I think that's fine. I like the fact that you can't have handguns and concealed weapons," DiLorenzo said. "I just don't think it's a good idea. You're just asking for trouble."

"About 10 to 15 years ago there was an amusement park type area, a tourist attraction. One guy grabbed a couple of weapons and just started shooting. He shot about 27 people," Australian tourist Gregory Doyle said.

Actually 35 people were killed and 23 wounded in what became known as the Port Arthur Massacre. The Australian government started a forced buyback program for all handgun and semi-automatic weapons after the 1996 shootings.

Multiple academic studies show a slight decrease in gun related murders and suicides since the forced buyback, but because those numbers were already trending down at the time of the massacre, Australians still debate the impact of gun control laws.

For some Las Vegas tourists, the guns of Nevada are an escape, and at this time, not inspiring a movement to increase access to guns in their home countries. It is yet another example of the Las Vegas motto: What Happens Here, Stays Here.

 


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