Stacey Dooley was visibly astonished after witnessing a nine-year-old girl being bought a gun – her 37th, in fact – during a visit to the United States.
In the US, gun laws are a frequent source of debate and controversy, with some believing it’s their right to own and carry firearms, and others fearing the dangers and harm that the weapons can cause.
In a new episode of Stacey’s show, Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over USA, she gets to know one family who believe strongly in owning guns, a belief they’ve passed down to their young daughter.
On Instagram, the host said that the episode is ‘obviously v controversial and an emotive topic for many’, while urging people not to ‘direct anything unkind’ to the child featured in the docu-series.
In a clip shared on social media, the presenter explains that for the past eight years, the family has travelled across the US, but only settle in states that have ‘relaxed gun laws’.
Sourcing a ‘reliable local gun shop’ is a ‘top priority’ for them, in a country where the number of guns outnumbers people across the population.
Nine-year-old Autumn is taken by her parents to a gun shop, where the salesman Josh states his belief that it’s ‘important for kids to be able to shoot’.
‘It’s a pastime, we love it, and gun safety, we’re real big here on gun safety,’ Josh states.
The subject of concealed carry comes up, which is when people carry weapons on their person in public, but conceals them, either under their clothing or in their bags.
Randy, Autumn’s father, shows the gun he has tucked into the top of his jeans, underneath his shirt.
‘Do you never get nervous?’ Stacey asks, to which Randy replies: ‘About what?’
‘Accidents,’ she answers, as Randy says that the gun is in a holster and claims that if the trigger is covered, ‘there’s no way it’s going to go off’.
Autumn’s mother, Lindsay, shares that she always has a gun on her, keeping one in her bag.
If she were to leave the house without it, she would feel like she’d ‘forgotten her phone’, she tells Stacey.
‘It’s a part of you, it stays with you, it belongs with you,’ she adds.
After Autumn selects the gun that she wants, her father Randy buys it for her for a hefty $525 (£433), which he does by providing his driver’s licence and filling out a form, before the salesman makes a call to verify his details.
After the sale, Stacey speaks to the camera outside to summarise what she’s just witnessed.
‘Autumn’s delighted, she’s on cloud nine, because her dad’s bought her this gun that’s worth $500,’ she says.
‘You just can’t help but compare yourself. When I was nine, my mum didn’t have the equivalent of $500 to buy me a treat. It really is quite something that that’s her 37th gun. And she’s not even 10 yet.
‘Why does she need 37 guns? Whilst I’m not shocked at most things, I do think that is pretty bonkers.’
Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over USA begins tonight at 10pm on W.
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