New Year's Day

Mistrust of Government Contributes to ‘Crazy' Sales at Peninsula Gun Stores

A Burlingame gun shop owner says the number of people seeking self-defense classes has also increased.

Gun stores on the Peninsula reported record sales as shoppers snatched up firearms and ammunition that would no longer be available under tighter gun restrictions that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Frenzied buying is par for the course after new regulations are announced, but shopowners appeared shocked by how quickly merchandise flew off their shelves as 2016 drew to a close. 

Scott Jackson has owned Bay Area Firearms for 19 years, and offers classes as well as custom-built rifles for gun owners that bring in individual parts. He said he hasn't seen anything like the last few months in the nearly two decades before.

"People just don't trust the government," Jackson said. "This is the feedback we're getting: 'We don't trust the police. ... We're gonna defend ourselves.'"

When asked if the last six months brought the biggest sales and training requests he's had at his store in Burlingame, Jackson replied, "Without a doubt." 

He added: "The last year-and-a-half, it's just been really busy, but the last six months have been crazy. The phones lit up."

California voters in November supported some of the nation's toughest gun control measures.

Voters approved Proposition 63, banning large-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring background checks for ammunition sales and speeding the seizure of firearms from owners who are no longer allowed to own them.

"I think that the regulations help the business," said John Parkin, co-owner of Coyote Point Armory in Burlingame. "Of course now that we don't have the rifles ... we don't know where it's gonna go." 

Parkin said they're restocking for 2017, with features that meet the new provisions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us