Santa Clara Gun Store Owned by Mountain View Police Officer Closes Abruptly, Leaves Customers in the Lurch - NBC Bay Area
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Santa Clara Gun Store Owned by Mountain View Police Officer Closes Abruptly, Leaves Customers in the Lurch

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    A Santa Clara-based gun store has shut down without warning and left customers angry and worried. Robert Handa reports. (Published Friday, Dec. 18, 2015)

    A South Bay gun store has shut down without warning and left customers angry and worried.

    The San Jose Gun Trader, which is located in Santa Clara on Coleman Avenue, has left many customers in a lurch and wondering about their handguns' whereabouts.

    One man, Ron Verdugo, told NBC Bay Area he and many others "bought and paid for their [firearms], registered their [firearms], did the required 10-day waiting period, [but] then came to the shop and no one was here."

    A note on the door indicates the owner, Tim Minor, closed the store due to unexplained "technical difficulties."

    Old package delivery slips show no one has been there for at least a couple of days.

    Verdugo says he didn't expect to run into any problems with the store because Minor is a Mountain View police officer.

    "I called the listed number — no response," said Verdugo as he peered into the dark shop windows. "I called the number [posted] on the store — no response; e-mailed him a couple of times — no response; looked at the website and it said they were open."

    NBC Bay Area also attempted to reach Minor but could not make contact.

    Verdugo says he personally knows other customers including his son and a close friend who also paid and went through much of the registration process through Gun Trader. They made sure to follow all the proper steps, he said.

    "My firearm is a handgun," Verdugo said. "A semi-automatic handgun — legal in California."

    It is not a "high-capacity magazine" and is "registered and all that," he said.

    "My son's is the same type of handgun," Verdugo stressed. "A 9mm Smith and Wesson. My friend put down a $1,000 deposit for a handgun revolver and they never called him back."

    Verdugo says he did a check with the Department of Justice on Minor's licenses and operating permits and, according to him, all are still valid.

    The Mountain View Police Department confirmed Minor is an officer and his ownership of the gun store was approved by the police chief.

    The department declined to comment on the store closure or Minor's current employment status as well as any possible disciplinary action.

    Sources say Minor may have cleaned out and shut down the store because of problems in his personal life.

    Verdugo also expressed concern about where his gun might end up and if he would be partially responsible if the gun was used in any type of crime.

    "The [guns] are registered in my name and in my son's name and where are they? I don't want them out on the street. I want to know where they are!" Verdugo said emphatically.

    For his part, NBC Bay Area legal analyst Steve Clark says the gun owners would not be liable under these circumstances.

    Clark also says it's difficult to know what will happen with Minor or what might be going on behind the scenes considering all the state and federal agencies involved in monitoring and tracking weapons.

    However, he says, at this point, customers may have to go through the civil courts to get any relief.

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