Los Angeles, California
By Jill Kitchener
If a guy wanted to take me to a gun club for a date, I don’t know how I’d react. Growing up near Toronto, Canada, guns have never played a role in my life – most certainly not my dating life. Shooting guns as a recreational activity has never caught on in my social circle.
Yet I found myself at the Los Angeles Gun Club with photographer Lucy Nicholson while on vacation.
After a nice lunch at a neighborhood cafe we thought we’d try our luck in getting permission to shoot at the gun club – with our cameras. To my surprise, the manager was more than happy to have us document the action. She kindly provided us with headphones to save our eardrums.
We met a family with a young girl learning to shoot (the minimum age to shoot at a gun range is 10, as long as they have parental supervision). We met couples on dates, and groups of male and female friends out for some fun. Some were there to shoot the guns they owned, and some were there to try new guns before buying their own. There were tourists looking to shoot, and a swell of frat boys from a local university. Whether young or old, male or female, it seemed everyone was eager to have their shot on the range.
I wasn’t expecting the level of excitement to be at such a high.
Before entering the range, customers picked their guns. I had to laugh at the cartoons of seemingly angry men drawn on some of the targets up for grabs. But before taking aim at the paper perpetrators, everyone had to learn the safety procedures. “Never point a gun at another person.” It made no difference if it was loaded or unloaded – this rule was a non-negotiable. And I was glad to hear it.