Yuma: Where Assault Rifles Aren't Assault Rifles

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Somewhere between passing an open-carry law and the failure of concealed carry on campus, Arizona suddenly came out on a national stage as one of the most gun-friendly states in the Union. This piece takes GQ correspondent Jeanne Marie Laskas to Sprauge's Sports in Yuma in a fascinating look at firearms dealers and our gun culture from an East Coast point of view.

From "Guns 'R Us":

"I didn't really want to buy an assault rifle, or even a handgun, but I was curious to know what buying one felt like, how the purchase worked, what-all was involved. Nobody in my circle back east had guns, nobody wanted them, and if anybody talked about them, it was in cartoon terms: Guns are bad things owned by bad people who want to do bad things. About the only time the people where I come from thought about guns was when something terrible happened. A lunatic sprays into a crowd and we have the same conversation we always have: those damn guns and those damn people who insist on having them.

I had come to Arizona, the most gun-friendly state, to listen to the conversation the rest of America was apparently having. One in three Americans owns a gun. About 59 million handguns, 46 million rifles, and 28 million shotguns—nearly 135 million new firearms for sale in the U.S. since 1986. We are the most heavily armed society in the world. If an armed citizenry is a piece of our national identity, how is it that I'd never even met it?"

Read the full story here.

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