We Visited a “Full Contact Gunfight Arena” in Las Vegas to Ask: Has Anything Changed?

Did the massacre change any opinions about gun safety?

In addition to interviewing gun control advocates who were demonstrating in Las Vegas on Wednesday nightMother Jones filmmaker Al Kamalizad also focused his camera on a local business-owner who works with guns every day. We wanted to know: Will the massacre change any of his opinions on the gun control debate?

Earlier on Wednesday, we went to Las Vegas Gunfights, a company that sells tactical training sessions and simulated “gunfight experiences for tourists,” to speak to businessman Nephi Oliva about his reactions to the Las Vegas massacre and his starkly different take on gun regulations.

“We can have a serious discussion about gun control, but first, take the guns away from the criminals,” Oliva said. “Then take the guns away from crooked police officers. Then take them away from crooked politicians, and tyrannical government officials. Once you’ve done all that, I will gladly hand my guns over.”

Inside, we found a walled-off arena with corrugated metal siding, sand floors, and stacks of barrels that can be used as weapons or for cover. Here, participants battle using real guns and non-lethal ammo in a free-for-all that has left “six or seven guys knocked out this year.”

“Republicans and Democrats both want safety, everybody wants to feel safe, so in that regard we’re all on the same page,” Oliva said. “But the difference we find is that Democrats tend to rely more on the government to provide that protection, and Republicans rely more on each other and themselves.”

Go inside the arena in the video above.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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