Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Guns in Department Stores

Work has kept me fairly busy today with a four-hour meeting, a teleconference, and just stuff. Needless to say this will be a brief craptacular post. I appreciate people who comment on the blog (except for the Fox spammer). Seth from Massachusetts has been a frequent commenter who made his first post almost the same time Bill and I started this blog. He is chock full of gun knowledge an lore and unfortunately I must somewhat disagree with him on one issue. Sorry Seth and feel free to disagree in the comments as always.

He commented on yesterday’s post in which I mentioned Wal-Mart was taking guns out of some of its stores. Seth mentioned he visited a New Hampshire Wal-Mart with empty gun display cases. Seth has no problem with that and says, “Fine with me if they give up guns, I feel guns are one product which should be bought at small specialty shops where the staff is knowledgeable enough to give plenty of advice to the customer.”

While I agree that the optimal place to buy a gun is a specialty shop, I still believe that our country’s suffers a loss anytime a retail outlet stops selling guns. It doesn’t matter if that outlet is Wal-Mart, Sears, K-Mart, or a Mom and Pop gun store that can’t compete with the big box store. That may be contradictory, but we need more places where little boys and girls can press their noses against the display cases and ooh and ahh at that new .22 rifle they want for Christmas.

We have too many urbanites who’ll never set foot in a gun store, but will enter a department store. If that store carries guns then they can’t brainwash their children by denying their existence or by saying only criminals have guns.

There’s also an almost unspoken problem with at least certain gun stores. A few of them are not woman-friendly and probably not child friendly. They can be challenging places for a newbie to buy a gun. For instance, one clerk at a store talked to Bill when I asked him a reloading question. Hmmm…. There’s another gun store where the owner hangs out with three or four “good ole boys” who sit at a table in the main aisle playing cards. Now, I have no trouble with him hanging out with his buds, but I feel like I walked into an exclusive social gathering and I don’t have an invitation.

Also, some guns stores are not inviting for some people. If you’re a gun fearing wussy who’s decided to enter a gun store to buy a self-defense gun before the next natural disaster hits you might turn right around if you see a tactical display right off the bat. On the other hand, that same person would be very comfortable buying a shotgun at Wal-Mart.

Granted, a first time buyer may be better served by a knowledgeable owner of a specialty shop. But if he or she doesn’t want to enter one for one or more of the reasons I mentioned above, then we’ve lost a potential gunnie.

I buy guns that beg for the knowledge of a specialty shop owner or employee; military guns, old guns with fascinating mechanisms, and antique guns. I’ve never bought a gun at Wal-Mart and never will, but they fill a market niche that we shouldn’t lose.

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