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Unique Pop-Up Shop Shows First-Time Gun Buyers Their Weapon’s Awful Past

Trigger-happy New Yorkers get a dose of history when trying to buy a gun.

image via youtube screen capture

In New York City, where buying and carrying a legal handgun is notoriously difficult, a pop-up storefront reaching out to “First Time Gun Owners” in big, bold letters across its windows was sure to attract plenty of attention. Appearing for several days last week on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the simply named “Gun Shop” was, at first glance, just that: A store for purchasing firearms. Curious shoppers filed in, one after another, where they were met by a straightforward employee more than willing to direct customers to their perfect weapon. Some cited a need for protection. Others simply wanted to exercise their constitutional right to own a gun. As they all discovered, though, this shop wasn’t simply unique for where it was, but also for the weapons it carried.

Guns With History” is a project of States United Against Gun Violence, a “national non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer,” which supports state-based gun control initiatives and activists. This pop-up demonstration was created by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, one of SUAGV’s local partners. As NYAGV exectutive director Leah Gunn Barrett told The Washington Post:

“Our goal was to grab people’s attention. Gun owners often believe that firearms make them safer, but having a gun in your home actually makes you far less safe for homicide, suicide and domestic violence.”

The Post explains the pop-up shop’s arsenal was, of course, not for sale; the guns were hyper-realistic replicas of real weapons used in incidents of violence. The customers themselves, however, were entirely authentic, and had come into the shop with a genuine intent to purchase a firearm. After learning her weapon of choice’s history, though, one would-be gun owner summed up her experience in an on-camera interview:

“It is one of our rights, but my opinion has definitely changed. I don’t feel safe with a gun.”

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