Meet the Wyatts in Discovery Channel’s American GunsBy Fat Reyes
The Wyatts own Gunsmoke, a world-renowned premiere firearms facility located outside Denver, Colorado. From what started out in 1993 as a company that trained people how to shoot guns, Gunsmoke catapulted into a popular retail gun shop and repair facility, wowing people from all over the world and showing them how guns could be built from nothing more than a block of metal.
With their show American guns, the family is set to share their experiences with the business and how their passion for guns keeps them in action.
“Well, I have thought for a very, very long time that the TV show about what we do would be very valuable and be a positive thing and be very entertaining for America,” Richard Wyatt, patriarch of the clan, said in a phone interview. “At the time I thought how great this would be for America because guns are a very strong American tradition and something that this country, quite frankly, was founded on.”
American Guns premieres every Thursday on Discovery Channel starting July 5.
Richard shared that he was interested in guns at a very young age, and went to school to become a gunsmith. He was mentored by no less than Colonel Jeff Cooper, who he said was known in the US as the father of modern pistol craft. With over 20 years of experience as a retired cop, he said he started the business because of the” responsibility we have and how important it is to impart knowledge to others.”
Renee Wyatt, matriarch of the clan, shared that the family was very involved with the business. She said that her son, 22-year old Kurt, works full time at the shop as a skilled salesman and engraver. Her daughter, Paige, who will turn 18 this October, also works at the business, taking additional responsibilities and dealing with customers. She added that her two other younger daughters, aged three and five, were too young for the business.
“Every single one of our children, with the exception of the very small one who’s not at that point yet, they all really enjoy shooting with the family,” Renee shared in the phone interview. “When we go out for the day and we shoot some targets or whatnot, it’s a lot of fun.”
“Shooting is a sport that the whole family can enjoy together in so many aspects from using the guns to defend ourselves and to protect our families to using the guns for target shooting, just enjoyment, and going out and having a wonderful day, to taking the guns and going hunting to put food on the table,” Richard added.
Renee also described how each day for the show was a problem in the making, saying they were building and designing guns from scratch.
“We don’t know whether they work or don’t work at this point, so you’re going to see trial and error and you’re going to see things that the gunsmith thought would absolutely not work but worked beautifully,” she shared. “That’s kind of a lot of what this show is about right at its very basic level.”
When asked about what they think was the most precious firearm they have ever created, both Renee and Richard happily agreed that it was the engraved, silver, 10-carat diamond encrusted semiautomatic 45 caliber pistol that Richard, Paige, and Kurt made as a gift for Renee for their anniversary. Renee said that the grips, which were the handles on each side of the handle part of the gun, were also made of mother of pearl.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable to see. It’s absolutely incredible. That is by far the most valuable- both sentimental value and in actual monetary value. It’s just unbelievable,” Renee said.
The gun will be featured in the show’s Diamond Anniversary 1911 episode.
But despite all the perks of selling and building the rarest most bizarre types of guns, both Richard and Renee emphasized that what they loved most about the show was the privilege of meeting different kinds of people and teaching them how to shoot.
“We really enjoy the opportunity to share what we do with the rest of the world and to share something that’s so passionate to us with the rest of the world,” Richard said.
Richard shared that in his 28 years of teaching, he has taught over 10,000 people, private citizens and policemen alike. He said that even those people from Asia, where people are not allowed to necessarily have a gun, have come to take training with them and have fun.
“Now, every day, we have families and children and mothers and grandmothers and wives, and it’s very, very enjoyable,” he shared. He said the family planned to expand their firearms facility to accommodate more customers.
Renee shared that one of the worst misconceptions people have about guns that bugged her most was that people, especially, women, felt like a gun was just going to accidentally go off all by itself.
“You know, guns have safety devices on them very often and a gun will not just go off in your hand by touching it. It just doesn’t happen. That’s a total misconception,” she said.
Richard and Renee also said that their show promotes the positive and safe use of firearms, saying that what people fail to realize more often than not is that firearms by themselves are very, very safe.
“If a firearm is used safely and positively anywhere in the world it’s the greatest thing ever,” Richard said. “It’s when they’re mishandled by bad people that they’re not safe or that they can be dangerous or used in an inappropriate fashion.”
“It’s not the guns that cause violence, it’s the people,” he added.
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