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The “Mask Gun” Is a Ridiculously American Solution to a Shamefully American Problem

We’re however many months into this pandemic and mask-wearing continues to be an unnecessarily divisive issue. Mask usage has been getting more popular and less partisan in recent weeks but for those who see it as some sort of infringement on personal liberties, their opposition can be outrageously aggressive. We’ve seen people throwing fits in Costco for being asked to wear a mask or in Target just for seeing masks. People tasked with enforcing masks have been attacked, repeatedly, even fatally on more than one occasion.

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Not many other countries are having this issue with mandatory or even just recommended mask usage but so many people in the U.S. have had the idea of American exceptionalism drilled into them that they genuinely take offense at the idea that anyone could infringe on their vaguely defined but intensely guarded personal liberties.

As inventor Allen Pan sees it, “American problems demand American solutions,” which is why he’s created the most American solution of all: the mask gun.

Pan noted that the people most averse to mask-wearing seem to be many of the same people that care the most about the Second Amendment. (Like all those people who showed up to protest stay-at-home orders with assault rifles.) So he’s put the two together: “Guns and public safety, boom! Best of both worlds!”

The end result looks like one of Batman’s gadgets, with, as Pan describes it, a sort of “alien/sci-fi/alt-history/steampunk” aesthetic that’s definitely intimidating, even if it doesn’t end up working.

It does work, though … Sort of. Pan takes the gadget to Huntington Beach, one of the most anti-mask cities in California, for a “focus group testing” session. Originally it was going to be a “hunting” mission, but there were more people wearing masks than he expected, plus there was a mix of technical difficulties/wind/fear of rage and racism, so he switched things up. The hardest part of shooting the mask gun ended up being aiming, even with an added laser target scope.

Obviously, this is not meant to be a real solution. No one is trying to mass market these (I hope). But it does highlight just how ridiculous the aversion to masks is if it requires a solution like this.

You can watch Pan’s building process and the public testing experiment in full above.

(via Gizmodo, image: YouTube)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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