This past Friday I sold my gun shop – every good thing comes to an end. This was the third retail gun shop I owned and operated in three states – South Carolina, New York, and Massachusetts – and sold guns to somewhere around 12,000 customers who also bought ammunition, cleaning kits and assorted other gun junk.
I started running my third and last gun shop in 2001, in fact I opened the store about a month before the Twin Towers came down. So, the shop was busy for a couple of months, then things calmed down for the next seven years, got busy again when Obama came on the scene, and then calmed down again under Trump.
Of the 7,000 or so guys (and a few gals) who bought guns from me over the last 20 years, just about all of them bought guns for the same reason that people buy everything else they don’t need, namely, they had a few extra bucks in their pockets and couldn’t figure out what to do with the cash except to get rid of it before going home.
If you’re a gun dealer, the biggest joke in the gun business is that if you have to order a gun for someone and then call the guy’s house when the gun shows up from the wholesaler, ‘the wife’ always answers the phone. And when she asks, ‘who’s calling?’ you never, never tell her you’re calling from the gun shop because if you do, she’ll put down the phone and yell, “Henry, did you just buy another friggin’ gun?’
My gun shop is located about two miles away from the nearest Walmart and Stop & Shop. At some point every day the front door would open, some guy would walk in and as he entered the shop he would take a quick look at his watch. This told me he had just dropped ‘the wife’ off at the Walmart, and as she got out of the car she said, “Come back and pick me up in 45 minutes or so,” and he would respond, “What am I supposed to do?”
To which ‘the wife’ would answer, “Why don’t you go up to the gun shop and hang around?” God forbid she would suggest he go sit in the town library, okay?
One of the last transactions I did at the shop was a ‘straw sale,’ when I sold a gun to someone whom I knew was buying the gun for someone else. This transaction, which is considered the single, worst, and most offensive behavior by the gun-control crowd, is known ‘for a fact’ to be the basic reason why guns keep ending up in the ‘wrong hands’ and could be stamped out if we would just pass that damn law requiring every state to implement universal background checks.
Who bought the straw-sale gun in my shop? It was bought by some fifty-ish lady who dutifully signed the 4473 form saying that the gun was going to be owned and used by her. Standing next to her was her husband, who not only told her which gun he wanted, but as she waited for her background check to go through, was placing the gun into a carrying case which he had brought into the store.
Why did ‘the wife’ buy the gun and why did I allow myself and her to engage in an illegal act which could get each of us five years in jail? Because when her husband was a kid, he did something stupid which kids do all the time, but this dumb piece of behavior got him in trouble with the cops which meant he could never legally buy a gun.
Gun shops are almost always local affairs. They are located, for the most part, in crummy, little towns and the shop owner knows the personal backgrounds and personal gossip about everyone who comes into the shop. And the same people come into the shop all the time.
What were the odds that this guy whose wife bought him that gun would ever do anything illegal or violent with that gun? The chances are that the gun would be taken home, dumped into the same closet with all the other guns, and then resold to the gun shop next year when ‘the wife’ needed a new washing machine or the guy needed a new set of tires for his truck.
Think I’m kidding? I’m not. The reason that most gun owners support requiring a background check for every transfer of a gun is that they know that, in reality, the law won’t prevent them from getting another gun.
Note the word ‘reality’ in the previous sentence. This word has absolutely nothing to do with how the various gun-control organizations decide what issues to promote when they send out a message asking their supporters to ante up some cash.
I received a solicitation letter yesterday from the Brady Campaign, to which I automatically donate $100 every month, and getting a national background-check law through Congress was at the top of their ‘to do’ list.
Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to inventing and promoting ideas about guns which have no basis in truth or fact, pro-gun organizations are just as, or even more prone to flights of fancy than anything which comes out from the anti-gun side. Is there the slightest proof out there that a gun in the hands of some Clint Eastwood wannabee keeps everyone safe?
I have been in and out of the gun business for sixty years because I like guns. I certainly wasn’t in the gun business because I thought I could earn a decent living engaged in this trade. The biggest joke in the gun business is that if you want to make a million in guns, start with two million, okay?
What am I going to do now with all the time I have on my hands because I’m not standing behind the counter of my gun shop? That’s simple enough – I’ll just go around and hang out in all the other shops.