Saturday, March 31, 2012

More On The Rapidly Expanding Gun Culture

I was headed home from the hospital, visiting my daughter and her new son, and I heard Boise Gun Company advertising that they were having a grand opening sale at their new Nampa store, just off the freeway.  Since this was on my way home, I thought I would at least stop in and entering the drawing for merchandise.

Now, first of all, I was listening to 96.1 BOB FM.  (I have no idea what their actual call sign is.)  This is a station that claims, "We play anything."  And they do--a wide range of music from many eras.  They are not a country and western station.  They are not an oldies station--if anything, their playlist and their mildly suggestive promotional materials are not my cup of tea, but probably are for a lot of 20s and 30s.  This did not used to be an obvious demographic for firearms.

Once in the store, I was struck by how young the crowd was--and it was "bump into people because there was no way to avoid it."  Mostly these were 20s and 30s, and a few in their 40s and even antiques like myself. A lot of them were women, and some of them women who were not obviously there with their mate.  The store itself is largely handguns and battle rifles.  I saw only a few of what might be characterized as sporting arms.  (I guess most of their inventory would only qualify as sporting arms if zombie hunting becomes classed as a sport.)

I did not buy anything--the last thing I need is more guns.  (Well, if an AR-10A2 fell into my hands at a steal deal price, I might find a way to get everyone else in the gun safe to behave well enough to make room for one more.)

I was in another gun store recently that was also a rather eye-opening experience on the rapidly growing gun culture.  When I was first buying guns was in the early 1980s, in Los Angeles.  (If you knew what Los Angeles was like in the early 1980s, you will not find this a startling coincidence.)  Just about every gun store had handguns, and sporting long guns in large quantities--and usually, there would be a few tactical rifles and shotguns: AR-15s, Ruger Mini-14s, a Springfield Armory M1A, an AK-47.  But there were not a lot of these guns.  They had a pretty small customer base among gun stores, and this was even before there were any assault weapon laws.

I wandered into Ambush Tactical on Chinden Blvd. in Boise a couple of weeks ago to ask some questions about top sling adapters for AR-15s.  This is a store that is almost entirely focused on tactical weapons.  They have handguns, of course, but it seems that most of their inventory were tactical rifles, shotguns, and related accessories.  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly, and not all pushy.  I have since figured out a simpler solution for my top sling adapter, but if I had not, I would have been quite happy to give them the business.  What is so eye-opening is that there is enough business in the Boise metropolitan area to keep a store devoted so overwhelmingly to tactical weaponry.

The political class needs to be paying attention.  I suspect that it is not going to end well for them.  As I have pointed out elsewhere, it may not end well for anyone.


  1. I've found the same thing here in Tucson. And the last paragraph; you sure got that right. I hear rumblings in places I'd not expect: at work, on the ham radio bands, in line at the store.

    Hope the daughter and new grandson are doing well.

  2. Well Canyon and Ada County increasingly has reports of shootings and armed robberies (at least in the TV news)...And yes I know it is all perception more than real increases in the homicide rate! So perhaps that plays a role.

    Was there really a lot of Form 4473's being filled out or just browsers? BTW, how were the prices?

    It would be interesting to know if this is being driven more by the fear of Obama Part 2 or an improvement in the economy (I'd guess the former).....that is if not a fear of being the victim of a crime. Then maybe it really is more shooting and collecting going on. Impact Guns seems to always be busy though their recent "event" may change that (I hope not but I could see their insurance going way up assuming they can keep a policy).

    I have fond memories of the gun stores in Orange County, CA in the 1970's/early 80's. I still have the replica (pre-Civil War) percussion cap pistols that my Dad purchased from the Flintock store at Hobby City in Buena Park down the street from Knott's Berry Farm in the mid 70's.

    Sam Fowler's stores (Stockade and Gun Room) were decent 30+ years ago.

    SASS started over in Orange, CA as well.

    Then there was the Great Western Gun Show at the Pomona Fair Grounds till that *ss was able to get it shut down. I went to that 30+ years ago. That was an awesome show. Fond memories of spending all of Saturday there and walking till my legs and feet hurt as there was so many booths. Puts the little shows at the Ada County Fair Expo to shame!

    Southern CA had a strong gun culture back then!

    Now I own too many that would be illegal to own there!

    I will fight anyone from CA that wants to bring modern CA anti-gun to Idaho!

  3. I did not see a lot of 4473s being filled out, but I wasn't there very long. Also, I did not feel the scared/serious vibe that I used to get in Los Angeles gun stores--where people were buying for a deadly serious purpose.

    I don't what good prices are. I haven't bought a gun since I was a dealer, in 1994, and not surprisingly, I wasn't paying retail! So all gun stores seem shockingly expensive to me.

  4. I've noted to several friends and posted on my blog that the future of firearms ownership is young females and minorities.

    Those are demographics that gun dealers, manufacturers, and some gun clubs are targeting with their products.

    Some of the old fuddy duddy clubs are still only thinking of getting more middle aged and older white, conservative, males as members. Those are the clubs that will find that they have falling memberships in the not too distant future.

    As the target demographic changes, gun stores have to become cleaner, more organized, and have better decor.

    Gun clubs could do the same, or at least they should. Some of them have rest rooms that a dog wouldn't use.

  5. Here in Joplin, MO, population 55K before the tornado but the ... center for various things for a quarter million or more people, we've had a tactical gun store recently open. Not sure they're going to stay in business due to the personality and attitudes of the guy running it, but I just talked to my father who frequently visits the city's largest gun store and he says business picked up with the Christmas season and hasn't diminished since then.

    Anonymous at 6:18 PM: I wonder if it's not so much fear of Obama Part 2 as the speed at which we're headed for the edge of the financial cliff, plus, oh, things like it being clear absent an Israeli strike Iran will soon get nukes. We've all grown up hearing our deficit spending can't last forever and someday things would get very bad, but Obama's trillion and a half annual deficits have clearly moved up the day our "chickens will come home to roost".

    Right now we're doing OK because we're the least worst place to park your money, but with half the Federal debt at 3 years or less maturity and interest rates artificially low, well, it could get real ugly really fast.

    It could also be a correct opinion that our ruling class including both parties is so bad as the Instapundit keeps reminding us that we have little confidence in their handling of the ship of state.

  6. About women and guns now... all of my daugthers are very interested in learning to shoot. There's an indoor range nearby now, and they've been pestering me to take them there for some shooting. Well, just haven't been able to get to it yet, but we will, because they aren't letting me off the hook!

  7. The rules that make it so darn hard and expensive to obtain and maintain an FFL aren't helping make guns more affordable.

    I wonder if any of the anti-gun "leaders" own stock in the firearms and ammo manufacturers!!!! As crazy and inconsistent as that seems they sure are doing everything they can to make those companies stock and sales volumes rocket to the moon they would be fools not to own stock in them!

  8. I was at the Scottsdale Gun Club (AZ) recently perusing .380's when an elderly lady started recommending her favorites [note: I qualify for Medicare soon, so when I say elderly, I mean relative to me!]. She commented that she lived in Pinetop and "everyone carries" (well, they do have bears, but a .380 vs a bear?).

    More on topic, the demographic at their gun range includes lots of young folks and some women (maybe 25%).