Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santa Claus is packing at Arizona gun club

November 30, 2011

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— These aren’t exactly the photos you took with Santa as a kid.

An Arizona gun club is offering a chance for children and their families to pose for photos with Santa while holding pistols and military-style rifles.

One image shows Santa in a wingback chair with a snowflake background, a Christmas tree behind him and flanked by an $80,000 machine gun and a tripod-mounted rifle. Next to Santa is a man standing behind a boy, who is holding an unloaded AR-15 with an attached grenade launcher.

In another photo, Santa cradles a toddler dressed in camouflage, while a man and woman stand close by with rifles with foldable stocks. In yet another image, five beaming young ladies pose with AR-15, an AK-47 variant and other rifles as they surround old Saint Nick.

Ron Kennedy, general manager of the Scottsdale Gun Club, said the business got the idea for the photo op last year when a club member happened to come in dressed as Santa and other members wanted their picture taken while they were holding their guns.

“Our customers have been looking for a fun and safe way to express their holiday spirit and passion for firearms,” said Kennedy, noting people have used the photos for Christmas cards and Facebook posts. About 500 people showed up to the event Saturday to take a total of 150 photos when the first of two such events was launched.

The guns used in the photos aren’t loaded and have had their firing pins removed, and their chambers are regularly cleared to ensure safety, Kennedy said.

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