Gun shop owner reports record sales

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Gun shop owner reports record salesWhile a national debate rages on the merits of gun-owner rights versus gun control, the relatively conservative population of Ridgecrest indicates that residents lean toward the former.

According to Guns4Us owner Tom Wiknich, his store has not been able to keep up with the local demand for firearms. “I saw a small spike in gun purchases when Obama was elected in 2008 — I believe every gun dealer experienced an increase in sales at that time — but what’s happening now is just unbelievable.”

He estimated that he sold 1,000 guns in the last two months of 2012 — which he said was more than he had sold in the first 10 months of the year.

He said that he would have been able to sell about 200 more units, but the distribution network has dried up. The demand is equally high in ammunition, which also gets bought up almost as fast as he can stock it, said Wiknich.

Some surprising trends in first-time buyers are the increase in female purchasers, many of whom are older than the age of 45.

“People give a variety of reasons, but a lot of the women are saying that they want to be able to defend themselves in their homes, and they are afraid that future legislation might now allow them to.”

Wiknich said that fear of legislation seems to be the primary motivator for men as well.

“I think most gun owners support responsible gun ownership. Since I am an NRA-certified instructor, I have been giving a lot of training classes.”

He said his position in the gun-control debate is that responsible citizens should retain access, but the vetting process should give sellers a more effective way to determine mental instability.

As it stands, doctor-patient confidentiality prevents gun owners from doing background checks on many buyers. “I think that is a worthwhile piece a legislation to take up — giving us some way to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable. Right now all people have to do is answer a question, and we have no way to verify their answers.”

Wiknich added that in discussing with his customers their fears of future legislation, “People seem to be more worried about what will come out of the California legislature than what is going to happen at the federal level.”

Story First Published: 2013-01-16