Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kentucky Machine Gun Shoot

According to FBI statistics, an all-time high of 14 million firearms were sold in the United States in 2009. Sales surged following the election of President Barack Obama as fears of an assault weapons ban mounted, bringing the per-capita number of civilian owned firearms to 90 for every 100 American citizens according to a study by the Graduate Institute of International Studies. While Americans have traditionally united around interests like religion, sport, or politics, social circles cemented by a common bond of firearm ownership are an increasingly reality. The Fall 2010 Knob Creek Machinegun Shoot in West Point, Ky. showcases privately-owned arsenals of restricted "Class III" fully automatic assault rifles, belt-fed machineguns, and large calibre rifles. The weekend is a trans-generational celebration of all things gun.

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Participants in the 2010 Knob Creek Machinegun Shoot are seen on the firing line during a late afternoon session at the Knob Creek Range in West Point, Ky. Enthusiasts fired volleys downrange from belt-fed machineguns spanning the past century as well as large .50 calibre sniper rifles throughout the day on Saturday, October 9, 2010.

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Outside the 2010 Knob Creek Machinegun Shoot an extensive historical recreation military camp featured World War II era Nazi memorabilia, vehicles, and weapons complete with re-enactors wearing Wermacht, Nazi, and SS insignia. "Next year we'll be here as the good guys." re-enactor Robert Decker of Bowling Green, Ky. said.
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Restored Vietnam-era Huey Medevac Helictopter #369 circled above West Point, Ky. for the duration of the weekend shoot, offering veterans and aviation enthusiasts a chance to experience the shoot from the air.

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The exhibition and firing of restricted "Class 3" full-auto and large calibre weapons has become much of a spectator sport in recent years.

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Machine gun enthusiasts aim their weapons downrange at a variety of targets including old appliances, refrigerators, automobiles, and boats loaded with "Tannerite," a legal explosive "reactionary" charge.

upload06A life-size cutout of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton stands at attention with the words "Great target" hand scrawled across its $25.00 price tag. Conservative gun enthusiasts still harbor feelings of resentment toward the Federal Government for grievances such as the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, Ruby Ridge, and Waco.
upload07Evidence of gun owners' Southern and Confederate heritage can be seen inside the "pro shop" at Knob Creek Range, home of the largest Machine Gun Shoot in the South.
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Shooters break for lunch inside Knob Creek Range's dining hall, though the rattle of automatic weapons continued just outside.
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To legally own and operate fully automatic weapons, firearm owners must purchase Class 3 permits and subject themselves to detailed background checks. One of the most popular features of the shoot is the ability to rent time on privately owned machineguns.
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A World War II re-enactor laughs at a joke late in the day outside the 2010 Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot.
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A young man carries a sixty year-old M1 Garand rifle during the shoot. Gun ownership and enthusiasm spans generations across the U.S.

Thanks for looking!

**Photos copyright Luke Sharrett**

2 comments:

Christian Brecheis Photography said...

a lot of props for your work, always great photos!

Jterrelli said...

Fantastic photos as usual. All great stories.