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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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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