Phoenix Bans Old West-Style Shooting Game at July 4 Fest

City 'not comfortable' showing guns 'in a fun or glorified way'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2016 4:58 PM CDT
No shooting gallery at Phoenix's Independence Day event.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An Arizona couple's Old West-style shooting game will not be among the activities at a July Fourth celebration in Phoenix on Monday night, the AP reports. Pete and Valerie Fowler say Prescott Pete's Highfalutin Shooting Gallery was deemed inappropriate by organizers of Fabulous Phoenix 4th. According to a letter from the City of Phoenix, the game was not a good fit given current events and perceptions surrounding gun violence. Gregg Bach, a spokesman for Phoenix's Parks and Recreation Department, tells the Prescott Daily Courier that it was a pretty straightforward decision by organizers for the Independence Day event, which is in its 31st year and is expected to draw 100,000 people. "The planning committee was not comfortable with an exhibit/game that presented guns in a fun or glorified way," Bach says.

The Fowlers say the game is meant to be a family-friendly activity that pays homage to the Old West. They are also surprised to run into this sensitivity in Arizona, which has gun-friendly laws and has a history with the Wild West. "If it had happened immediately following the shooting in Orlando, I would have been a bit more understanding, but this was just out of the blue," Pete Fowler says. "For us to make this business work, we have to get into big events like [this]." But Bach says the game was actually rejected before the June 12 shooting in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people. That doesn't appease the Fowlers. "We supplied enough reference material for them to see that we're not shooting people or glorifying it. It's just a fun amusement," Pete Fowler says. "But apparently, a historically correct shooting gallery is promoting violence." (Read more Fourth of July stories.)

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