PRESCOTT, Ariz. – A Prescott couple's mobile shooting game will not be among the activities at a July Fourth celebration in Phoenix on Monday night.
Pete and Valerie Fowler say Prescott Pete's Highfalutin Shooting Gallery was deemed inappropriate by organizers of Fabulous Phoenix 4th. According to a letter from the City of Phoenix, the game was not a good fit given current events and perceptions surrounding gun violence.
"If it had happened immediately following the shooting in Orlando, I would have been a bit more understanding, but this was just out of the blue," Pete Fowler said. "For us to make this business work, we have to get into big events like (Fabulous Phoenix 4th)."
The Independence Day festival, in its 31st year, will be held at Steele Indian School Park. The event includes vendors, interactive exhibits and two stages. It is expected to draw 100,000 people.
Gregg Bach, a spokesman for City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, told the Prescott Daily Courier (http://bit.ly/29cKBWL ) that it was a pretty straightforward decision by organizers. "The planning committee was not comfortable with an exhibit/game that presented guns in a fun or glorified way," Bach said.
The game was actually rejected before the June 12 shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people, he said.
The Fowlers say the game is meant to be a family-friendly activity that pays homage to the Old West. They are also surprised to run into this sensitivity in Arizona, which has gun-friendly laws and has a history with the Wild West.
"We supplied enough reference material for them to see that we're not shooting people or glorifying it. It's just a fun amusement," Pete Fowler said. "But apparently, a historically correct shooting gallery is promoting violence."
Information from: The Daily Courier, http://www.dcourier.com