(CORRECTION: The headline for an earlier version of this story and the one appearing in Friday’s PVT incorrectly states the Gun Appreciation Day event is Friday instead of Saturday. The PVT regrets the error. )
By Selwyn Harris
Some local gun enthusiasts are planning to recognize National Gun Appreciation Day by gathering at the heart of town tomorrow.
The event, organizers say, is to celebrate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
A Jan. 10 press release stated, “Nye County residence (sic) from all over the county are invited to meet at the corner of Highways 160 and 372 (sic) . There is nothing more basic to the human experience than self protection. We Americans have the ability to protect ourselves, our family and property. This is a right given to us by our creator and the Constitution through the Second Amendment. We value our gun ownership and will not relinquish it,” the release states.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last month, the issue of firearms, especially military style assault weapons, is a hot topic for debate around the country.
On Wednesday, President Obama signed 23 orders that he said would tighten background checks on gun buyers.
The orders also expanded safety programs in schools.
The president called on Congress to restrict ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds and order background checks for anyone buying a gun be it at a store, a private sale or at gun shows.
Local resident Robert Brentlinger is the owner of The Master at Arms Gun Shop on the south end of the valley.
He said sales of guns, ammunition and accessories have increased dramatically since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Sales since December and the unfortunate tragedy have been getting larger constantly and each time some new gun control idea is brought forth or they start pushing towards trying to actually accomplish some kind of gun control legislation or magazine ban, then we see an increase in sales. It started in December and it just keeps getting larger. It shocks me just how bad it has gotten,” he said.
On Wednesday, Brentlinger’s shop on Thousandaire was bustling with customers buying guns and ammo.
The shopkeeper said all kinds of items were flying off the shelves.
“It’s a little bit of everything. You would have thought that sales would tend to stay towards high capacity magazines and military lookalike firearms, but we are selling anything from accessories to regular standard revolvers and every semi-automatic known to man. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason. People are scared and as a consequence, they are buying everything,” he said.
Shortly after Obama’s 2009 inauguration, firearms sales soared mainly out of fear that stronger restrictions and bans would be enacted by the Democratic president.
Though gun restrictions did not appear to be on the short list of Obama’s first-term agenda, ironically, Brentlinger said the commander-in-chief has done more for the firearms industry in terms of sales and National Rifle Association memberships than anyone in recent memory.
“The president has probably been the largest seller of firearms ever in the history of the United States. He has a legislative history of being against the Second Amendment and against gun owners. In general, his policies have always been negative towards firearms owners in general. In the past, he has made statements that some would call a little radical as far as the Second Amendment and gun ownership. That has a tendency to scare people who think he is going to push a legislative agenda which will mirror his past speaking,” he said.
Pahrump resident Donald Tribble is a staunch supporter of gun rights. He said he plans to be among those recognizing National Gun Appreciation Day.
“I have carried a gun ever since I was probably 14 years old and I am now 68. I was raised in Texas and I carried a pistol where I went. I don’t believe in registering but I do believe in getting background checks because you never know who is going to be trying to buy guns. The thing is that background checks and doing all of that at the gun shows is not going to keep a gun out of the hand of someone who wants to kill somebody. All you have to do is go downtown of any town and spread the word that you are looking for a gun. If you have the money to buy it, someone will find you or they will tell you where you can go to get it,” he said.
Another local resident and firearms owner, David Corso, is a bit more outspoken on the subject. He said all Americans have the right to own firearms, even fully automatic weapons if they choose.
“The government has no f*****g right to regulate anything. They can’t regulate anything because the only thing they are concerned with is what? Screwing people. Politicians suck. I’ve killed more people than you can count and it doesn’t bother me; you know why? I did it while I was in the service,” he shouted.
Corso also had some interesting if not disturbing musings about the tragedy in Sandy Hook.
“How many of those kids really got killed? That’s a big cover-up. Why don’t you kiss my a**. You are a god damn troll,” Corso advised before hanging up on this reporter.
According to the press release with Corso’s contact information attached, the National Gun Appreciation Day gathering will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Pahrump Nugget two days before Martin Luther King Day, which is also President Obama’s inauguration day.