- Many small businesses, like Guardian Arms in Moses Lake, are feeling the negative impacts of Washington's assault weapon ban.
- Gun stores have low profit margins, especially on items like ammunition and handguns.
- The ban on selling semi-automatic rifles has limited the market for long guns.
- Guardian Arms continues to sell parts for AR and AK platforms, as these parts do not make up an assault weapon.
- The ability to sell parts is crucial for small gun stores to stay in business.
- Small independently run FFLs, serving rural communities, are at risk of closing down due to the ban.
- Losing these FFLs could lead to a loss of the ability to exercise Second Amendment rights.
Welcome to Washington Gun Law TV, where we discuss the impact of gun laws in Washington state. In this episode, we focus on the real impact of Washington's assault weapon ban on small businesses and individual Second Amendment rights. Our guest, Bruce Davis, the CEO of Guardian Arms in Moses Lake, sheds light on the challenges faced by gun stores in the wake of this ban.
Davis explains that contrary to popular belief, gun stores are not lucrative businesses. The profit margins are low, especially on items like ammunition and handguns. For example, the profit margin on handguns is only 8-10%, making it challenging to cover expenses like rent. Davis mentions that selling ammunition is not profitable due to competition from big-box stores.
When it comes to long guns, the profit margin is slightly better, ranging from 12-20%. However, with the ban on selling semi-automatic rifles, the market for long guns has become limited. Davis notes that the profit margin for semi-automatic rifles was slightly better than bolt-action rifles. The ban has completely stripped this stream of income from Guardian Arms.
Lower receivers, an essential component of firearms, were being sold at a discount before the ban. The profit margin for lower receivers is similar to that of long guns, around 12-15%. However, the sale of parts is crucial for small gun stores to stay in business. Davis emphasizes that parts other than the lower receiver, such as barrels, muzzle breaks, and charging handles, can still be sold at Guardian Arms.
Davis and President William Kirk discuss the interpretation of the law regarding the sale of parts. They believe that the law only prohibits the sale of parts that can be assembled into an assault weapon. Since no single part can create an assault weapon, Guardian Arms continues to sell parts that can be used in AR and AK platforms. However, they do not sell complete rifles or assemble them for customers, as that would violate the law.
The ban on assault weapons has led to an increase in the demand for parts, as individuals who already own lower receivers seek to convert them into fully functional firearms. Guardian Arms can assist customers in assembling the necessary parts for a complete firearm, provided they bring in their lower receiver. If customers have a stripped lower receiver, Guardian Arms can help them complete it.
Davis highlights the importance of small, independently run FFLs in serving rural communities. If these businesses were to close down due to the ban, it would limit access to firearms and hinder the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Davis encourages viewers to support small gun stores like Guardian Arms.
In conclusion, the assault weapon ban in Washington has had a significant impact on small businesses like Guardian Arms. The low profit margins and restrictions on selling certain firearms have made it challenging for these businesses to stay afloat. However, they have found a way to continue serving their customers by focusing on the sale of parts. The loss of small FFLs could have broader implications for Second Amendment rights, making it essential to support these businesses in rural communities.