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

Would be pretty useful if someone tried to steal your phone, I guess. They'd never see that coming.

*     *     *

I retreat upstairs to the press room to restock my reportorial supplies (read: more cookies), passing the Not-a-Wall of Guns, the P.A. still blaring, "WAAAAAAAAAAAALL OF GUUUUUUUUUNS!" It's here that I end up sitting next to the media arm of AmmoLand.com.

Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent
Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck

Aside from the AR-15 they want so badly for me to hold, my Sherpas up the Mount Everest of guns are useful for something else: getting people to talk to me. My media badge and accent are a left-right combo of untrustworthiness for most people I approach. But at the Ruger stand, our first port of call after the Bushmaster display, I'm having the safety features of a Ruger SR45 demonstrated to me when a guy starts waxing lyrical about the safety of this particular gun.

"Best gun I ever bought," he says without prompting. "I got kids, and none of them are gonna be able to fire this. It's got a double trigger for safety!"

He motions for me to tilt the gun and look at the trigger, which my finger is wrapped snugly around, much to Fred's dismay. Sure enough, it has a second trigger in the middle, raised up from the first. Two triggers! I'm not sure what this means, exactly, but I assume it shoots two bullets at once, possibly in different directions so I can kill two bad guys at the same time.

I sense my opportunity to get a gun enthusiast to open up, surrounded as I am by the only media he can trust. I strike with all the subtlety of an untrained Brit brandishing a Ruger.

"What did you think of the recent gun-control reform bill?" I ask. We're just a few weeks removed from the disintegration of the president's plan for universal background checks.

"Ain't gonna change nothing," he says. "None of that crap would have stopped anything happening. You know, they interviewed guys in jail who went there 'cause of gun crimes. Less than 2 percent got their gun legally. Obama needs to try to help the good guys."

"How are the bad guys getting their guns?" I ask, earnestly.

"I could go to any high school in Houston and get any gun I wanted. I just got to know the right people. It's easy."

I sense the mood starting to turn. My Sherpas have to leave—AmmoLand isn't going to populate itself, I guess—so I offer my goodbyes. Popping outside for air, I see the anti-gun protestors stationed across the road in front of a huge piece of modern art. It's a weird series of white and blue shapes outlined in black, giving them a comic-book feel. In front of it stands a podium and behind that stands a lady calmly reading from a book.

A large man stands about 3 feet from her, shouting into her face. The woman, middle-aged with graying brown hair and glasses, is reading names and ages, slowly and deliberately. Spittle flying, the gentleman is shouting at her, his NRA badge riding the waves of his gestures, up and down, up and down.


A policeman saunters over, intimidating in his sunglasses and no-fucks-given demeanor.

"I could do with your help, officer," the lady says. "This guy's giving me some hassle."

The policeman suggests the guy move along. He does, muttering under his breath. The lady, satisfied, returns to reading names.

"What's she doing?" I ask a young dreadlocked woman standing next to her, clearly associated.

"We're occupying this place," she says, gesturing toward sleeping bags hidden inside the art display, "and we're reading out the names of 4,000 victims of gun violence."

"Over what period of time?"

"Four thousand from Sandy Hook up until last week."

To our side, the names of minors and adults alike, from around the whole country, are being read out in the order they died. The giant yelling man is hardly out of sight, and another badge-wearing storm cloud is already forming.

*     *     *

The speeches happen in the convention center's auditorium, a room so surprisingly sprawling it feels like a really boring version of Doctor Who's TARDIS. Still, going by the numbers, it's not big enough.

The keynote event of the weekend—it's named "Stand and Fight," after the Wi-Fi password, I guess—is two hours away, but it's long sold out. People have plunked down $15 to sit in the overflow hall and watch on a screen. And the keynote himself is right now signing books upstairs, where a line is taking up most of the second floor.

The media platform is raised in the middle of the crowd, which is pretty rude if you consider the speaker and his disciples' feelings for the press. Before the big speech is the window dressing; Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president and chief shit-stirrer, rallies the crowd. Colonel Oliver North offers a prayer. The music is cued. The lights dim. A huge "G.B." is projected onto the screen, rapidly replaced by a very large, stylized drawing of what I think is an eagle. Glenn Beck, looking more frail and graying than I remember, takes the stage.

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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.