Indonesia’s Air Gun Capital

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all images copyright Getty Images/Ed Wray

In every corner of the world, people feel the need to proclaim their fame. To shout out to the universe that “we are significant and here’s the reason why” – There is a “carrot capital of the world”, Holtville, California, the “selfie Capital of the world”, Makati, Philippines and my home state, Idaho seems to be known throughout the world as “famous for potatoes” (at least from the number of people who say potatoes after I tell them that they’ve probably never heard of where I’m from). The small village of Cipacing, Indonesia is one such capital. It is the “Air Rifle Capital of Indonesia.” Dozens of homes in the village have sophisticated metal lathes, and woodworking tools with which the villagers have been turning out firearms since at least the late 1800’s. Although since the 1960’s when Indonesia banned guns, the community has mostly been making air rifles which people buy to hunt small animals and birds; but the skill of the villages gunsmiths sometimes gets used to make illegal firearms which are then sold to criminals or terrorists. Its a fascinating place.

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