HOUSTON (Texas) | Selling bullets in bulk like candy, handguns of all colors, displays of hundreds of assault rifles, furniture and saddlebags serving as caches for revolvers, and kids as young as 10 handling such large guns than them: The Journal plunged into the incredible world of firearms maniacs, yesterday, in Texas.
Amid hundreds of booths displaying guns and military equipment, thousands of American gun enthusiasts of all stripes flock to the George W. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Australia. Texas.
Since Friday, they come to discover all the latest novelties from the 636 exhibitors who participate this year in the 151st convention of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest annual gathering of arms manufacturers.
The excitement of being in this high gathering place for weapons enthusiasts can be read on the faces of these Americans with smug smiles at the thousands of weapons they discover in the hall of more than 56,000 square meters.
"I've been waiting for two years, impossible to miss this gathering," says a visitor with a very pronounced Georgian accent.
From knives to assault weapons, through night vision goggles, bulletproof vests, and also accessories of all kinds such as jewelry and handbags: there is something for everyone.
Pink, sky blue, apple green, gold: it is even possible to choose the color of your weapon, in some stores.
And it's not just adults who are targeted by manufacturers, as young people are clearly targeted with designs and colors that appeal to them and are reminiscent of toys.
There is no evidence that four days earlier an 18-year-old killed 21 people, including 19 children, using an assault weapon like the ones seen everywhere. "Children can also find air rifles or revolvers to start training and learn how to handle larger weapons," explains George Ford, of the company Umarex, which specializes in the manufacture of this type of guns.
Everywhere in the huge exhibition hall you could see very young children having fun taking the firearms displayed on the counters, aiming at brothers and sisters, under the eyes of their parents.
Others, usually teenagers, looked carefully at the details of the guns they held in their hands, while listening attentively to the salesman who explained all the specifics of the object.
And in this predominantly male world, women too find all kinds of accessories that are made especially for them, like handbags or earrings made from fired ammunition.
Pam Hogstad of BosumBuddy makes women's handgun holsters that clip onto your bra for added discretion. Since she arrived in Houston for her very first NRA Convention, her counter has aroused the curiosity of many mothers who want to try her creations.
"It's important to offer these kinds of products to women, it helps us to feel safer carrying our gun on us and to feel that we have power", explains the 65-year-old woman who always says carry a gun on her when she leaves her house.
"We can no longer say that weapons are reserved for men, they are for us too," she drops, laughing.
FURNITURE THAT HIDE WEAPONS
Jill Herro, president of the company Secret Compartment Furniture, has created furniture that allows you to hide your weapons in your home, "without the bad guys finding them", she explains. This businesswoman, who went into business 12 years ago, works with an Amish company. “It allows me to sell beautiful furniture that will last and that is made here, at home,” she says proudly.
A VERY SPECIAL HANDBAG
Since Texans have the right to carry their gun on the street, JoAnna Guelker decided to create her line of handbags especially to be able to carry her handgun discreetly. But, it is difficult to sell and make your brand known. “Weapons stores are a little reluctant to take my products because their customers are mostly men, and men don't buy bags, not even to give them to their wives,” she says. .
JEWELRY CREATED FROM AMMUNITION
Andy Thompson, owner of the Spent Rounds boutique, has created jewelry with his wife made from ammunition that has already been fired. The family business is very successful because of the originality of its creations, thinks Mr. Thompson. “Our creations, we send them to France, Belgium, the United Kingdom. It really likes everywhere, ”says this man from Georgia.
CARRYING YOUR WEAPON WITH YOUR BRA
Pam Hogstad of BosumBuddy makes women's handgun holsters that clip onto your bra for added discretion.
CARTRIDGES CHOSEN LIKE CANDY
One of the counters allowed visitors to buy bullets of various calibers in bulk, as if they were candy sold in a confectionery, at the NRA Congress. They just had to fill a bag and have it weighed.
EXTREMIST GROUP MAKES ITS PRESENCE FELT
The American extremist group the Proud Boys moved in front of the convention center where the NRA convention is being held. According to the Washington Post, the organizers of the event banned the dozen members from entering the convention. They finally posted themselves in front of the anti-gun demonstrators, who were protesting in front of the building... to protest against them.