Orlando machine gun event stirs controversy

FOX 35 News at 10 p.m.

- An event where the public will get an opportunity to shoot a machine gun is being criticized by some.

Mike Piwowarski displayed some of the guns that the public will get a chance to shoot for a few dollars, as long as they pass a background check.

"It's a belt-fed weapon. This is the ammunition that goes with it, it shoots roughly 800 rounds a minute."

Gun maker Kel Tec and Arms Room Radio are organizing the event at a Brevard County gun club.

"We're hosting a machine gun shoot. It's a gathering of people that own these type of weapons. They don't have the opportunity to bring them out to the range."

But not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Orlando City commissioner Patty Sheehan says it's too soon after the shooting at Pulse.

"Talk about lacking a sensitivity chip. At least if they don't want to be respectful of my community, they could at least try to do this stuff somewhere else. I think it's very insensitive and I don't understand how anyone can be so heartless."

Piwowarski  says, "I understand. Anytime there's a loss of life it's a tragedy. We're doing this event over 50 miles away from Orlando. It's not the gun that killed the people at Pulse.  It's evil taking the form of a criminal terrorist that did that."

Piwowarski says guns sales increased right after the Pulse shooting and thinks this event is about educating people.  

However, even the Machine Gun Shoot ads, have caused controversy. Over at the Orlando Weekly, Publisher Graham Jarrett says he's received several angry emails from people, demanding that the ad be taken down from the website and dropped from the newspaper. But he refuses to do so.

"It's a legal business, and they have the money to purchase what we have for sale, and therefore, I believe they have the right to purchase that. I'm personally not a fan of assault rifles. I think they should be taken off the streets, but I also think it's a very slippery slope when we start passing judgment on my advertisers."

Graham says a company once declined his business. He doesn't want to treat others that way, despite his own beliefs.

"I'm a member of the LGBT community here, I was a patron of Pulse, we've done a lot of work to help this community heal."

Commissioner Sheehan says, "I'm a gun owner, I believe in the Second Amendment, but I don't believe in these weapons of mass destruction and I don't think it's a good idea to bring them here right now."

But Mike disagrees, saying, "We're not using these weapons out on the street. These are collectors and enthusiasts that have these weapons and their for personal gain."

The Machine Gun Shoot takes place on September 3 in Mims, at Titusville Rifle and Gun Club at 2299 Gun Club Lane. It's $5  admission. Fees to shoot vary depending on the size of the gun.

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