Posted by: martinworster | June 12, 2015

Orange County Gun Show 2015

Guns and Coffee. Extra shot…

There’s about three gun shows in Orange County every year at the Costa Mesa fairground which is less than five miles from where I live. I went last year and took some photos and – as I am clearly a glutton for self-punishment – went again this year.

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Says it all…

I am fascinated by American gun culture. Guns – and all the violence they bring – are so entrenched in the American psyche and I find it in equal parts baffling, illogical and disturbing. In a country so seemingly obsessed with safety and protecting it’s citizens, it seems illogical why guns would be so widely available and used. Yada yada..I am not even going to exhaust myself with the vagaries of the gun debate or hoping that things will change – they won’t. If after Sandy Hook and the gun slaying of twenty school children didn’t facilitate change – then nothing will.

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Police line do not cross

The Gun Fair is massive. Upon entering it clearly says everywhere that you are not allowed to take photos – so I tried to surreptitiously use my camera phone. Hence the photos are not the best and not many of people’s faces. I was working undercover.  A number of times people saw me and commented and thankfully nobody called security. It’s no wonder the organizers don’t want photos taken as some of the imagery is quite shocking. Nazi memorabilia, rows of semi-automatic guns, children pouring over weapons, silencers, tones of ammo, ISIS target practice sheets, grizzled Second Amendment libertarians:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Trust your kids with guns..

As with last year I noticed the slightly fervent atmosphere as gun enthusiasts salivated over the latest fetishistic products in the vast halls. I was also surprised at how many children were in attendance. Lots of father son duos trying out different guns which definitely indoctrinates the youth into the ‘glamour’ of guns and weapons. There was also a large stand for Gun Trusts – ‘In a home invasion cowering in fear won’t keep your child safe… Train your kids’ – which I found quite disturbing and shocking.

Orange County Gun Show (2)

ISIS target practice. Jihadi John?

That’s the whole engine of this industry. Fear. I even feel it myself. I was actually going to buy a large knife for hiking (bears, mountain lions), a purchase based on – actually quite legitimate – fear of animals in the wild and the need for self defense. I ended up not buying a knife as they were too dangerous and I didn’t want it in the house with kids. Similarly fear is used as a marketing angle to sell more guns – fear of intruders, fear of the apocalypse (still a lot of Doomsday Preppers goods). This fear marketing strategy doesn’t really cover the reality of all the accidental deaths from guns not protected. I read every week of kids shooting themselves  – or others – after finding the families unlocked weapons stash.

Orange County Gun Show (2)

US of Eh?

As a person living in the US and with kids at school here it does all make me feel very uneasy. You really appreciate the values of the UK where the police don’t have guns and there isn’t such an extreme gun culture. It makes the whole place feel that much safer and reasonable. I think the gun culture atmosphere percolates through society and allows violence to be more of a norm or way of life.

Orange County Gun Show (2)

This semi-automatic gave various gun enthusiasts a semi..

 

 

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Guns R U.S

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Aim high lady…

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Brainwash them from a young age…

Orange County Gun Show (2)

Pink for little girls…?

Don't mention ze war...

Don’t mention ze war…

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Best of British

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Open hold policy..

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Cold metal: hard shaft

Orange County Gun Show (8)

And this is California? I hate to think what a Texan gun show looks like…

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Guns and Coffee. Extra shot with that?

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Shooting practice…

Orange County Gun Show (8)

In guns we trust…

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Freedom ain’t free buddy!

Orange County Gun Show (8)

The sweet smell of fear…

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Dad, can I get this one?

Orange County Gun Show (8)

Bourne Identity…

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