A Gun-Dumb Brit's Journey Into American Gun Culture

To conquer his fear of guns, a British immigrant takes a road trip to gun lovers' mecca: the NRA Convention

I wander off, pushing aimlessly down rows and between booths. After some perambulation, during which I observe every rifle ever imagined, some swords, an ax and a VW Campervan with a chain gun on top, I decide to make my exit for the evening. But just as I'm ready to leave, I'm swept back in by the sight of a man's dream dying.

He's standing in a booth with machetes and swords and spears, basically all the weapons you're left with in video games when the real pixel-killers are out of ammo. He's wearing a 10-gallon hat, and his face has a gray-and-white handlebar mustache so fulsome it could shelter an entire family. He is purchasing what I think, from my extended playing of Soul Calibur II, is a halberd.

The weapon—a giant medieval ax, basically—is on display as one glorious piece. But this clerk! This clerk separates it and hands it to him in two pieces, with the business end tucked safely into a bag. The man looks confused, then crestfallen. As resigned to his fate as a man with a mustache and weapon that size can be, he walks out of the hall, head down. His hope, it seems, was to gaily parade his killing implement throughout downtown Houston, past the ranks of police outside and past the baseball game going on at Minute Maid Park. Or maybe in the baseball game, to put the Astros out of their misery? We'll never know. His dream, like so many, was crushed by the laws of the nanny state, and he's heading home. I'm not far behind.

Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent
Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck

*     *     *

It's Saturday morning, and I'm back, ready for another day of occurrences I don't understand conducted by people who don't understand me. (My accent's still thick enough it takes at least three tries to order "water" in restaurants.) As I make my way, I notice several new road closures. Police are in the intersections, directing people and cars alike. After a few minutes' walk, it becomes apparent what the fuss is about:

There's a Cinco De Mayo parade, and it's heading straight for the NRA convention.

It's an explosion of color against the gray Houston landscape. A float is decked out in green and red streamers. Up and down the street, Hispanic families wave at the extravagantly dressed populace on slow-rolling display. I'm just waking up, so I'm slow to piece together the wonderful dissonance happening before my eyes, but it eventually it hits me. I spend the rest of the walk imagining the committee that plotted this route, presumably late at night and after a few drinks too many, a decision made of either ignorance or mirth. I'm rooting for mirth.

The main float turns away at the last minute, and despite some confused looks from NRA badge-wearers, the powder keg of racial hilarity is defused. One man, neat white beard prominent under his sunglasses, shouts something at the float, but it's drowned out by the kind of fast-paced Spanish-language song you hear in one of those scene-setting shots in a film set in Mexico.

I pass more protesters—today, Obama is a "puppet of the British government," which gives us a level of respect I never even knew we had—and soon I am back on the packed convention floor. I skim around the side of the stalls, following a loud crackling noise I could hear yesterday above all of the aural chaos. Eventually, I find the source: a stall selling "personal defense equipment." Mainly, this means stun guns of extraordinary strength, which flash intimidatingly and emit a noise akin to the electric fence from Jurassic Park.

I approach one of the sales guys, who's handing out stun guns to people without looking at them. I ask him what the best seller is.

"Definitely the flashlight Taser," he says. "It's got a flashlight at one end and the Taser at the other."

Logical enough. How many volts would that carry?

"About 2 million. It'll incapacitate an attacker for 10 to 15 minutes."

"That's a pretty long time. It must be some serious equipment."

"It really is," he says. He picks one up and presses a button, and a deafening burst of electricity fills the air. "It's the perfect non-lethal defense."

There's a guy next to me, can't be more than 20, swishing one around and grinning. He's about a foot away. This feels considerably less safe than standing around a bunch of assault rifles.

"What's this?" I ask the salesman. I'm pointing at something that resembles a phone case.

"It's a Taser iPhone case."

I probably should have expected that. It's a miracle of engineering, really, a normal-looking pink iPhone cover with a flip-off top concealing a stun gun. I picture the epic battles my phone and I have as I try to wrest it from my pocket while driving and listening to the superior music of my homeland. I imagine the consequences of throwing the best part of a million volts into that mix.

"Six hundred and fifty thousand volts," the salesman says proudly, "and 20 hours additional battery life!"

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sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

It was guns that defeated you Brits from controlling the colonies 

It was that control that led to people saying,

look, governments have all the power and if we dont want to go through this again, the citizens should have a way to defend themselves


But now lets go to street crimes where BAD PEOPLE have access to guns 

from the UK's Telegraph news service:

Analysis of figures from the European Commission showed a 77 per cent increase in murders, robberies, assaults and sexual offences in the UK since Labour came to power.

The total number of violent offences recorded compared to population is higher than any other country in Europe, as well as America, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Opposition leaders said the disclosures were a "damning indictment" of the Government's failure to tackle deep-rooted social problems.

Ok, so then YOU GLOAT…



Crime happens

good people have a right to stop bad people

as your UK becomes more "culturally diverse" violence will rise even more


the governments throughout history have enslaved people

guns give people a chance to stop that

from the Telegraph:

Overall, 5.4 million crimes were recorded in the UK in 2007 - more than 10 a minute - second only to Sweden.

 government's comprehensive failure over more than a decade to tackle the deep rooted social problems in ou



right around the time frame the Brits went even further to confiscate / leave the good people defenseless

vegandawg23 topcommenter

What does this have to do with Orange County? Is the oc weekly on record as anti-gun? Are you just trying to push your agenda to deny CITIZENS their constitutional rights while letting in hordes of uneducated peasants from Mexico? Is that what the left is trying to do to this nation?


I quote, " ... there are basically no guns in the United Kingdom and basically no gun violence."

I beg to differ. See here  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-22436932

Gun related crime, but only by criminals as we, the public, have been disarmed.

The author of this article is a product of the UK's dumbed-down, panty-waisted, gun-phobic socialist influenced education system, incapable of looking after himself and gazing doe-eyed at the GOVERNMENT to protect him.

He's a wuss.

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