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Machine guns have long been a Las Vegas draw

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/3/2017 William Cummings
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Las Vegas has long had a reputation as a city where anything goes. Many travel to "Sin City" for sex, drugs, gambling and other vices. While some of this reputation comes from books and films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or The Hangover, the city has promoted itself as an adult playland with its "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" slogan. 

One guilty pleasure offered to visitors to the Las Vegas Strip has grown in popularity in recent years: the opportunity to fire a fully-automatic weapon. 

There are several gun ranges advertised along the Strip offering tourists the chance to imitate their favorite action movie star by firing a machine gun. And the customers continue to come, even after Sunday's demonstration of the very real human carnage those weapons are capable of inflicting. 

Battlefield Las Vegas — which advertises a five-acre "military-style complex located just one block from the Las Vegas strip" — said it was "normal business like always" after the shooting that killed at least 59 people. 

"From hand guns and pistols to fully automatic rifles, sub-machine guns to belt-feds and .50 calibers, we have it all here at Battlefield Vegas!" the range says on its website. For the "ultimate adrenaline rush," the range also offers the chance to shoot a M-134 Minigun, which fires more than 4,000 rounds a minute. 

The Vegas Machine Gun Experience offers customers the chance to "get behind the trigger of the most legendary machine guns, handguns and shotguns" and "blast away at life-size targets." 

Bullets and Burgers gives guests age 12 and older the chance to shoot "the actual firearms used in several Hollywood hits including Jumanji  and Rambo II." Customers can fire everything from a Glock 17C to a Browning .50 caliber machine gun and M203 grenade launcher. After "getting the adrenaline pumping" customers then get a burger, fries and soda as part of the package. 

Machine Guns Vegas offers "the real feel of what it's like to clear a room with just a pull of the trigger." Genghis Cohen, a partner at MGV said his customers are primarily tourists and he estimated that 85-90% of them are from other countries. 

Slideshow by photo services

People take photos of the fountain at the Bellagio hotel in front of a memorial for victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Las Vegas shooting

Nevada is perhaps the best-advertised place to fire machine guns, but automatic weapons can be rented at gun ranges in all but a handful of states. 

"In this particular day and age, every action movie that has been made has firearms in it," Cohen said. "Machine guns are popular, but pistols are popular too, as many of the people who come to shoot cannot legally fire pistols in their respective countries, so for a lot of people shooting pistols is equally as enticing as machine guns." 

MGV announced that it would be closed Monday and Tuesday "out of respect for our employees, the injured, lives lost and the families affected by this senseless act." 

"We are deeply saddened for the victims and families affected by last night’s activities and absolutely sickened by the behavior of the individual who committed a sheer act of violence on our community," MGV said in a statement.

"We believe, as we always have, that there should absolutely be more stringent control on the types of firearms private individuals can own and the processes they must go through in order to own those firearms. There were many factors contributing to this tragic event, but there is no doubt that the shooter’s ability to inflict so many casualties was heavily due to the types of weapons he had access to." 

The store's parent company also donated to Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak’s Las Vegas Victim’s Fund GoFundMe Campaign and will give a portion of their profits when they reopen to United Blood Services, which helped give blood to the shooting victims. 

Bullets and Burgers was also closed Monday but a store representative declined to say if the range was not open in connection with Sunday's shooting. 

 

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