The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

July 31, 2013

Machine guns, cannons and drones at Arizona's Big Sandy Shoot

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — Kenton Tucker has shot machine guns most of his life. He owns several, including, he says, Errol Flynn's machine gun. Tucker, a tidy, middle-aged man with a red mustache, is a principal in MG Shooters LLC, which twice a year sponsors a machine gun shoot at its secluded range in the Arizona high desert. The Big Sandy Shoot is billed as the largest in the United States. It has an unusually wide firing range that stretches for a quarter-mile; about 200 machine gunners can fire their weapons simultaneously at exploding targets and drones. During the three-day event, about 3 million rounds of ammunition are expended.

This vast arsenal of machine guns — and their owners — are tightly regulated. Machine guns have long been among the nation's most regulated firearms. Non-military or non-law-enforcement civilians, like the guys at the Big Sandy Shoot, are required to undergo strict background checks before the federal government allows them to buy a machine gun.

Background checks were the cornerstone of gun control legislation that failed to pass in the Senate this year. Gun control advocates had hoped the measure had sufficient momentum to pass in the wake of Adam Lanza's slaughter of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. But it didn't, thanks to lobbying by gun industry groups. A recent Pew report says most Americans don't think gun control legislation will pass this year.

As gun control debates wax and wane, and despite the fact that machine guns are already subjected to some of the strictest gun control measures advocates could hope for, there's been little scrutiny of the machine gun community to see just how well gun control works — or doesn't — in America.

The Big Sandy Shoot attracts hundreds of people who chafe at gun control yet seem inordinately proud that they have passed background checks that allow them to own machine guns. They're mostly old white guys, and they're mostly Republicans, and they hate to admit they're Exhibit A for the efficacy of gun control.

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Nation & World
  • Judge sends Edmond teen to next step in federal case

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    August 1, 2014

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    On previous visits to the Gateway City, Jack and I have visited Grant’s Farm — an area attraction owned by Anheuser-Busch. In the midst of the 281 acres stands a small log cabin — once the home of Ulysses S. Grant. Somehow, I never noticed the road just outside Grant’s Farm boundaries that leads to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, a property of the National Park Service.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

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    With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
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    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

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    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • jc_Earp Marlin 2 - photo credit Noel Winters.jpg Shootout of a sale

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    Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

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    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

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    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
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    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

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    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014