Brooksville’s 4th of July ‘Machine Gun Shoot’ a unique alternative to fireworks

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BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Many Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and hot dogs, but these folks like to break out machine guns and shoot the living daylights out of cars, trucks, old washing machines, expired fire extinguishers, empty propane tanks and even bowling pins. 

It’s Independence Day and a Second Amendment celebration rolled into one with bullets flying, instead of roman candles, rockets and mortars.

“Our unalienable right to bear arms,” said machine gun shooter Alyssa Almanza. “We just like to celebrate that. Our own form of fireworks, I guess.”

We’re talking about the Hernando Sportsman’s Club annual Machine Gun Shoot at the club’s 200 yard outdoor range located at 16121 Commercial Way in Brooksville. The automatic weapons fire was well underway by 10 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. Organizers estimated shooters would fire 100,000 rounds before it was all over and spend as much as $5,000 a piece on ammo. You need a special license to own a fully automatic machine gun and to sell them.

The fun starts with a flip of a so-called “giggle switch” that turns a semi-auto rifle into a blazing machine gun that keeps firing until you release the trigger. Licensed firearms dealer Thomas Hauslein says there’s a reason why they call it a giggle switch.

“When we do videos like you’re doing, there’s one thing they all have in common, they’re all smiling,” Hauslein said.

There were a number of women on the firing line.

“It’s exciting. It’s a little bit different. I definitely would be careful, but its fun if you know what you’re doing and you’re with somebody who knows what they’re doing,” said Jessica Honer, who was on her first “machine gun” date with her boyfriend.

“It’s a little scary, but it’s fun.”

Almanza has done it before and offered a few tips for novices.

“Just really lean into it and make sure you can handle that power that’s going to come back at you,” Almanza said. “It’s empowering, no matter what gender you are.”

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