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As others pull back, Vegas amps up gun promotions

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm •  Published: February 14, 2013
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The Guns and Ammo Garage offered free weddings performed by Jimmy "Mac" McNamara, the "Pistol Packing Preacher," because nothing makes a memory quite like the sound of gunfire.

"To me it's not the shooting, it's the amendments and our rights as Americans and as citizens of this country," McNamara said after marrying a couple beside an arch made of rifles.

The Gun Store has extended the gimmick beyond Valentine's Day and built a permanent "shotgun weddings" chapel.

Bob MacDuff said his "I do's" there last July, then posed with AK-47s for wedding pictures and went shooting with his 25 guests.

"For people who are gun people, you can't find a better option," said MacDuff, of Alberta, Canada.

In the wake of the Dec. 14 shootings, many companies curtailed their activities to avoid giving offense.

Groupon, the online coupon giant, halted gun-related promotions, video game company Electronic Arts scrubbed its website of links to weapons retailers and the 3-D printing company MakerBot began removing blueprints for guns from its database.

Fox pulled episodes of "Family Guy" and "American Dad" that made jokes about the punishment of children.

British tabloids chided Las Vegas gun ranges for failing to follow suit.

"What hope for the US when couples can now get married with weapons?" read the headline of a Jan. 7 article in the Sun reporting that that no couples had canceled their shotgun weddings after the national tragedy.

The finger wagging rankled Emily Miller, wedding officiant and head of marketing for the Gun Store, who said the high-powered weapons allow tourists to live out a wild-west fantasy.

"People always want to put a spin on it like it's a hostile or angry thing," she said. "Really, customers just want to have fun. It's like a bucket list item."

At least one gun control advocate agrees with her.

In what might be called a Valentine to the shooting range industry, a spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said Vegas' public embrace of shooting might cause people to associate it with other Sin City favorites like gambling, benders and ill-conceived hook-ups.

"If anything, this will maybe enforce the image of guns as something that are bad for you," he said.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier