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HomeUncategorizedFOCUS-online-Reportage from Wyoming: Trump or Biden? Suddenly, gun enthusiast Chuck reveals how...

FOCUS-online-Reportage from Wyoming: Trump or Biden? Suddenly, gun enthusiast Chuck reveals how far he would actually go

Even the female clientele is considered. A pink gun costs 325 dollars, a pink pistol is a bit cheaper. In addition, a few dollars are needed for ammunition. Those who pay cash on the table can take most of the weapons home right away. No questions, barely any regulations, hardly any control.

People at the “Cheyenne Rifle and Pistol Club” gun show, both those selling their old and brand-new firearms, and their customers, like that idea. And they support Donald Trump. At least, most of them.

Wyoming: The rough Trump state

There are even people who would walk around on this Sunday amidst the nine rows of tables full of firearms and ammunition and choose Joe Biden. But the man with the green baseball cap, who is mainly interested in semi-automatic rifles with his 13-year-old son, is probably the only one in this room who thinks that way.

He is in Trump-country. Cheyenne is the capital of the US state of Wyoming. It’s about the same size as the old Federal Republic, but has only about 500,000 inhabitants, but 1.2 million cows, endless plains, and huge ranches. It is the cowboy state. Rural, rough, and staunchly conservative. No state in America stands so united behind the likely Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump. 70% of the voters here voted for him in the last election in 2020, only 26% for Biden. And among gun owners, probably no politician is as unpopular as the Democratic incumbent Biden.

“I’m ready to give my life for our constitution”

Chuck Moline is an example. His words are like bullets. Fast, dangerous, uncompromising. Asked about the likely repeat of the Biden vs. Trump duel, about the possibility of another four years with a Democrat as president, the strong 60-year-old with the fire tattoo on his right forearm doesn’t hesitate long.

“The Democrats want to take away our freedom,” says the man who has lived in Wyoming all his life, and his eyes sparkle. “With them, our country will become like communist China, like Russia.” And then he fires off the sentence, which hangs in the room like a threat and is reinforced by the many weapons: “I’m ready to give my life for our constitution.”

No, not for Trump. He doesn’t matter much to him. Moline means what he says: the constitution is for him the measure of all things, the one in front of all the zeros. Especially the second constitutional amendment. It regulates gun ownership, and anyone who even remotely seems to disregard or restrict this right is an enemy to the millions of gun enthusiasts. That’s the red line.

Message: It’s humans’ fault, not the weapon

The US gun lobby watches over this red line, one of the most influential interest groups in the entire country. The NRA, the most important umbrella organization, spends several million dollars each year on their work. Whenever many innocent people, often children, are shot in a shooting, they are the ones who convey the same message to the people and indoctrinate the alarmed politicians in Washington: It wasn’t the weapon’s fault, but the person who aimed it at others. And: If only one of the victims had carried a weapon, it might not have gone so far.

One could find this attitude right or completelyincorrect, particularly in view of the thousands of people who die every year in the US due to gun violence.

It’s a fact: the message works. According to CNN, which refers to a Swiss study, there are nearly 400 million firearms in private ownership in the US, with 40 percent of the US population living in households with at least one firearm, according to “Pew Research”. And most of them are unwilling to give them up.

5 Dollar Admission for the Gun Show

One of them is George Mowl. Beige baseball cap, flannel shirt, a huge coffee cup in his hand. He walks from sales table to sales table, talking shop with the mostly older male traders. The 60-year-old organizes the gun show for his association. This year, he has attracted 32 traders to Cheyenne, most of whom are private individuals who engage in gun trading as a hobby and earn some extra money from it.

Every year, around 500 visitors pay the $5 admission fee to look around the one-story building and the shooting range transformed for the show, and maybe to buy a brand new Smith & Wesson Magnum for $950 or a reconditioned rifle from World War I for $1300.

Mowl is very different from his buddy Moline. He speaks calmly, slowly, thoughtfully. But he leaves no doubt about his political stance. “For me, it’s clear that I won’t vote for Biden. His policies are 100 percent different from Trump’s, for example in the economy. Also, Biden’s foreign policy is absolutely wrong for me, he puts our security at risk. I adore Trump’s policies. And of course, he is the one I would trust much more to defend our right to own firearms.”

He despises the hesitant attempts of the hated Democrats to navigate this political minefield. “It’s not about safety for them at all. They want to control us.” For people like Mowl or Moline, there is nothing more important than the principle of “live and let live”. The less politics interferes, the better.

Surprise Number 1: Trump’s Hearts Are Not Flying

This attitude is not surprising. The political positioning of gun owners has been the same for decades, and in a state like Wyoming, which is so strongly influenced by its Wild West past, the spirit of independence is instilled from birth.

What is more surprising are two other factors that come up in almost every conversation at this gun show. First: Donald Trump may be the favorite of the vast majority here. But their hearts are not flying to him. That’s what Chuck Moline, the freedom-loving Biden hater, says. “I don’t care about Trump. He talks way too much.” Or Vern Rulle, another trader at the gun show. “This country is deeply divided, and I don’t believe Trump can mend it.”

This skepticism towards Trump, which resonates with many, may also explain why none of the conversation partners would pick up a weapon and go to Washington to fight for Trump.

Fighting for a politician with a weapon? An already crazy idea? Unfortunately not in the US anymore. This was demonstrated by the protests of January 6, 2021. At that time, a mob of thousands of Trump supporters gathered at the Capitol in Washington and illegally gained access to the seat of the two chambers of Parliament. The reason: their view that Biden’s victory over Trump was illegitimate.

Trump himself will soon have to answer for his role in court. And political observers are deeply concerned that such or even worse unrest could occur again if Trump were to lose to Biden again.

The traders and visitors of the gun show in Cheyenne are indeed in agreement,dass Trump recht hat und „ihm und uns die Wahl gestohlen wurde“, wie es Moline formuliert. Menschen wie Michelle Traher, eine der wenigen weiblichen Händler, äußern bereits jetzt: „Ich würde eine Wahlniederlage von Trump keinesfalls akzeptieren“. Jedoch ist niemand bereit, die Ereignisse vom 6. Januar grundsätzlich zu verteidigen. Weder offiziell noch inoffiziell zeigt auch nur jemand die Bereitschaft, an ähnlichen Protesten im Falle einer erneuten Niederlage Trumps teilzunehmen.

Überraschung Nummer 2: Das Misstrauen gegenüber dem US-System sitzt tief

Eventuell hängt dies mit der zweiten überraschenden Erkenntnis aus den Gesprächen auf der Waffenschau zusammen: Es herrscht ein tiefes Misstrauen gegenüber allem und jedem. Wahlen: sind manipulierbar! Politiker: sind nicht vertrauenswürdig! Medien: berichten nicht unparteiisch! Richter: sind Marionetten der Politik!

Der Händler Vern Rulli will im Grunde nicht über Politik sprechen. „Politik macht mich krank, die Interessen der normalen Leute werden in Washington sowieso nicht beachtet.“ Trump oder Biden? Der 77-Jährige bringt seinen Finger in den Hals und lächelt. Er vertraut keinem Medium vollständig und gibt an, dass er zahlreiche Quellen liest, um sich eine Meinung zu bilden. Somit kommt er auch zu dem Schluss, dass über die Ereignisse am 6. Januar, über die Wahl 2020, nicht ehrlich berichtet wurde. Und er ist überzeugt, dass die Richter, die die Klagen gegen das Wahlergebnis 2020 abgewiesen haben, beeinflusst wurden.

Um es kurz zu machen: Das Vertrauen in das politische und gesellschaftliche System der USA ist für ihn stark erschüttert. „Das ist für mich das wichtigste Thema, das alles andere überdeckt. Wie oder wer kann dieses Vertrauen wiederherstellen? Ich weiß es nicht.“ In dieser Zeit der Unsicherheit scheint eine Schusswaffe das einzig Sichere zu sein.

Zurück zum Stand von Brion Griffith, der das rosafarbene Gewehr verkauft. Und nicht nur das. Vor ihm stehen ein halbes Dutzend selbst gebaute halbautomatische AR-15 auf Ständern. Schwarz, glänzend, bedrohlich. Er konstruiert sie selbst. Sein Hobby hat er zum Beruf gemacht. Aber eigentlich sind Waffen für ihn mehr als nur ein Hobby oder Beruf. Sie sind für ihn etwas, an das er sich im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes festhalten kann.

„Ich habe als Kind meine halbe Familie durch einen Unfall verloren. Ich wusste damals nicht, wer sich um mich kümmern würde. Aber ich hatte eine Pistole. Ich hatte keine Kontrolle mehr über mein Leben, nur noch über diese Pistole und die Patronen darin.“

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