Hunters, target shooters, and citizens concerned with defending their homes soon will no longer to be able to buy a gun in at least one United States city.
The last gun store in San Francisco is preparing to close its doors by the end of this month, due to mounting pressure from local leaders and new pending gun sales regulations. High Bridge Arms – a 63-year-old business — has decided that doing business in the city is no longer a viable option.
Steve Alcairo, the shop’s owner, said the decision was reached, at least in part, to protect the privacy of its customers.
The gun shop has become a little famous over the past several years, even attracting celebrities as customers. T-shirts boasting that it’s the “Last Gun Store in San Francisco” have been popular and sold well, even to people outside of the city, Alcairo told NPR.
“We’ve been boxing them and sending them off to different states,” he said.
Alcairo wrote on Facebook, “It’s with tremendous sadness and regret that I have to announce we are closing our shop. It has been a long and difficult ride, but a great pleasure to be your last San Francisco gun shop.”
The decision to close the store came after local lawmakers garnered intense support for proposals that would require not only the turning over to police the records of ammunition purchases but also to video customers and give that footage to the police. Both proposals have been considered in other American cities.
“We’re getting phone calls: ‘So if I buy a box of bullets from you, are you going to report us to the police department?’” he told NPR.
Although the law does not take effect until after a final vote later this year, expansive media coverage already has scared away customers.
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“I’m not doing that to our customers. Enough is enough,” Alcairo told AP. “Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right. Our customers shouldn’t be treated like they’re doing something wrong.”
If the new gun control law passes as written, it will usher in the most stringent Second Amendment restrictions San Francisco has passed in two decades.
Some customers have shopped in the store for much of their lives.
“My wife, she bought her first rifle here. Actually I bought my first handgun here,” said one customer, Steven Walker. “It’s pretty amazing we’re losing this shop.”
The National Rifle Association said the city accomplished its goal.
“Looking at this entire regulatory scheme, it becomes painfully obvious that San Francisco’s intent is to simply make it unfeasible to operate a gun store within the city,” the NRA said in an analysis on its website. “However, city officials should tread lightly when considering more rules. The Second Amendment includes the protection of an individual’s ability to acquire arms.”
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