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from The Arizona Republic

Gun culture gains popularity in art, fashion and decor

As nation debates mass shootings and gun restrictions, weapon motifs spread

By Megan Finnerty | The Republic |

Even though Phoenix craftsman Brandon Gore already owned an AK-47, he had to buy a new assault rifle when it came time to make the piece of wall art he had in mind.

He wanted to make a life-size composite concrete casting of the gun, but the process of creating the mold would destroy the weapon.

“So I bought a plastic one on eBay,” said Gore.

Now, the glass fiber-reinforced concrete tile titled “AK All Day” sells for $295 in his central Phoenix shop, Hard Goods. It sits near tiny concrete cactuses and a concrete bench that Gore makes by hand. The tile is one of about 100 he’s made and sold since 2006.

In the 14 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., mass shootings have become commonplace enough that they can be discussed using shorthand: Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown. All of it — but most notably the deaths of 20 first-graders in their Newtown, Conn., classrooms on Dec. 14 at the hand of a man carrying a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle — has turned up the volume on the gun conversation at dinner tables and on Capitol Hill.

As Americans stock up on guns, mourn those killed by guns and debate how best to regulate the buying and selling of guns, they are also buying gun soaps, gun lamps and gun ice-cube trays.

These are not the kinds of recognizable products that have been popular for decades, the six-shooter lampshades, Wild West footie pajamas or hunting-rifle welcome mats.

These are, rather, machine-gun-print tights, AK-47 bullet-shaped ice-cube trays promising “a killer drink,” and glittering handgun necklaces and earrings. There are AK-47 wooden hangers, 9mm ceramic wall sconces, sleeveless dresses printed with guns, and a handgun table lamp. You can buy chocolate guns and ammo or soap handguns that “blow the stench away,” packaged in “a real, hard-shell, foam-lined gun case.”

There are even T-shirts printed with a Hello Kitty lookalike holding an AR-15, the gun that saw a spike in sales after Adam Lanza used a version of it in the Newtown shootings.

[ click to continue reading at The Republic ]

Posted on April 10, 2013 by Editor

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