Shotgun Wedding By Choice

“Look!” pointed out the sister of the bride. “Your ear protection matches your dress.”

It was a tender family moment punctuated by loud gunfire. Crimson red rose pedals fluttered on the floor of the chapel, converted from the room normally used for gun cleaning. The ordained minister addressed the young couple with a pistol secured in his hip holster: “Do you Jeff take Sandra* to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, to love and cherish this day forward til death do you part?”

The last few words were muffled by the spray of machine gun fire, popping from the shooting range located in the next room. Gunpowder stung my nostrils.

We were at the Gun Store in Las Vegas, the first establishment to offer literal “shotgun weddings.” Couples are wed inside the gun range’s weaponry outlet and then seal their vows by firing off AK-47s, Uzis, or MP5 submachine guns. The only thing that could make these nuptials more emblematically American would be the baby Jesus conducting the ceremony himself.

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