OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – No matter how you look at guns in our society, there is an undeniable fascination with them.
In Central Florida, there is an equivalent of a theme park for guns, where tourists from all over the country and the world come to experience weapons they would not have access to in their hometown.
Machine Gun America opened in December 2014 and offers people a chance to fire all kinds of different and rare guns. But employees at the attraction on Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway are emphatic when they explain the business is an attraction, not a gun range.
"I would say the biggest misconception people have is they think they can bring their own guns in," said Jackie Carrizosa, director of branding at Machine Gun America. "We rent the guns out much as you would rent a Lamborghini or Ferrari to drive around for the day."
The business does not sell weapons or ammunition, but rather allows customers to purchase experiences where they choose and test out a number of guns from their collection of more than 50 guns. The environment also differs from what you would find at a standard gun range.
There is no age limit for Machine Gun America, but customers you need to be at least 13 years old to operate an automatic weapon. The range safety officers told News 6 they tailor each situation to the individual. The business also offers a virtual reality experience for customers.
Alexis Hermosa has worked as a range safety officer for two years.
"When you're in here, that safety officer is in the stall right next to you, loading the gun for you," Hermosa said. "You're just there to do the fun part, aim and pull the trigger."
Adam Sendzischew and Giselle Hughes of Miami came in to Machine Gun America as a break from a conference they were attending.
"We decided we needed a little break so what better than to shoot some automatic weapons?" Sendzischew said.
Carrizosa said many of Machine Gun America's customers have never held a gun and use the opportunity to check off a bucket list item.
"We'll do it again," Hughes said. "I could stay here all day but I'll be a little sore though."
Employees at Machine Gun America told News 6 the business does not take sides or engage in the political debate surrounding guns.