Monday, June 7, 1999
Published at 02:17 GMT 03:17 UK
As legislators in Washington approve new gun-control measures, investors in Nevada are backing the world’s first resort for firearms enthusiasts.
Front Sight Nevada — a 550-acre site near the gambling mecca of Las Vegas — has 12 firing ranges behind a high-security perimeter fence.
Most weekends, eager new customers are offered free one-day sub-machine gun courses with guns and ammunition provided free.
Just three hours after the novice marksmen fire their first shots, they are allowed on to the shooting ranges.
And the $25m project is flourishing — with 3,000 new students so far this year.
‘Four Weapons Combat Master’
The resort is the brainchild of 39-year-old Ignatius Piazza, a former chiropractor, who now calls himself a Four Weapons Combat Master.
"What we provide is a comfort. The comfort of skill at arms," explains Mr. Piazza.
The knowledge and the ability of being able to protect yourself in the event that somebody attempts to take your life or injure you severely," he added.
Ignatius Piazza believes that incidents such as the recent school shootings in Colorado would not have happened if everyone was able to protect themselves with a weapon.
In fact, his company is offering to train up to three teachers from any school in the country so that such events "would not happen" in the future.
American frontier heritage
Opposition to gun ownership in this area of the American West is muted.
Firearms are regarded as every person’s right, except by a few.
Anti-gun campaigner Dr Robert Wesley is one of those speaking out against the gun culture.
"It’s just another form of legitimacy for the gun ethic of America," he said.
"A resort implies a place for relaxation — but this is a place where people learn the techniques of death," he said.
But such opinions are rare. Front Sight Resort is swiftly gaining a following.