In Kingman, reaction to gun measures is muted

Dale Sills fires a handgun at the Bank Street Guns gun range Tuesday. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

Dale Sills fires a handgun at the Bank Street Guns gun range Tuesday. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - After President Barack Obama's Tuesday address that detailed the administration's plan to tighten how people purchase firearms, gun shops in Kingman were back to business as usual.

In fact, shop personnel said the president's push for tougher background checks and a more streamlined background check system helps gun shop owners process checks faster and would have little to no effect on how they conduct business.

In the president's address, he largely focused on the so-called "gun show loophole," which allows gun owners to buy and sell guns freely either at gun shows or via person-to-person sales without a background check. The White House wants to reign in that definition by clarifying that "it doesn't matter where you conduct your business - from a store, at gun shows or over the Internet: if you're in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks."

They aim to do this by allowing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine what constitutes a person "engaged in the business of selling firearms." While they did not stick a specific number of sales on it, the ATF can determine that a person is in the business of selling firearms, and thus subject to conducting background checks, by looking at the quantity and frequency of sales regardless of the location at which they sell them.

This applies almost exclusively to private sellers. Gun shops are already required to process those checks through the ATF's Form 4473, which gathers identifiable information as well as questions whether a buyer is a fugitive from justice, on any controlled substances, subject to restraining orders, convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, and more.

The current form has been in use since 2012.

"I don't think it'll have a great effect on us because, as you can see on the 4473, we must call them in," said Jim Jett, sales consultant at Bank Street Guns. "We get a status report to proceed or a denial."

For a couple of gun owners at Bank Street getting ready to use the indoor range, that process as it is isn't cumbersome at all.

"Background checks are quick and easy. It takes 15 minutes," said Justin Proudfoot. Proudfoot and his friend, Alex Grant, went to the range on Wednesday and hadn't heard much on the measures presented by the president.

"I support a heftier background check system. Some people shouldn't own weapons: people who have a history of violence, or were convicted of violent felonies. Everyone should own a gun with stipulations," said Proudfoot.

Grant agreed.

"We're pro-Second Amendment, but some background check is required. It doesn't impact us at all. We are not felons," said Grant.

At The Gun Shop Inc. on Stockton Hill Road, owner Chris Wagner said that the new measures make it easier for him to do business.

"These laws have been on the books for some time," said Wagner. "It's just banter. For us, it expands background checks to 24 hours a day if we want it."

Wagner is referring to Obama's push to overhaul the background check system used by the FBI by hiring more than 230 additional examiners and staff to process background checks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In his history of selling guns, Wagner only recalled one time where he had to wait because the background check system at the FBI was closed.

"Ultimately, it was said to pander to voters after so much hype," said Wagner of the provisions from the president.

Both shops did see an uptick in sales. Bank Street Guns reported selling more bulk ammunition and consistently sold 30 guns a day.

Wagner said his shop is selling well, but attributed his spikes in sales to Black Friday and the events that took place in San Bernardino. AR-15 rifles are out of stock and backordered for a few months.