Headlining gun-related news at the end of September 2015 is the only somewhat startling fact that the gun shop known as High Bridge Arms will be closing its doors for good by the time Halloween rolls around. What makes this headlining news for Second Amendment supporters is this: High Bridge Arms is the last gun shop left in San Francisco, California. That’s right, in a city of more than 840,000 citizens, it’s the final holdout and, although sales have been good, General Manager Steven Alcairo told media the store’s owners are throwing in the towel due to rampant regulations. The laws being forced in the City by the Bay have become so Second-Amendment-Right-infringing that the last holdout will now become the last memory San Francisco gun owners have of their constitutionally granted freedoms.
The proposed regulation that has become the final straw for the owners of High Bridge Arms would require the store to both take and keep video footage of each and every transaction the store carries out, but that’s not all. It would also require they hand over the personal data of their customers to local law enforcement every week. High Bridge Arms currently has 17 – yes, 17 – cameras at their store, and they’ve always complied with requests from law enforcement.
Some may see this as a sign of what a particular Army veteran friend of mine would refer to as the Gestapo State of California, of which San Francisco is certainly a sparkling jewel, but reality is something far darker. This is a sign of the times, times where Second Amendment rights are being chipped away at bit by bit, while those in what are currently more gun-friendly areas breathe a sigh of relief that it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Guess what, Second Amendment supporters? It not only could happen to you, it is. What happens to one American citizen happens to us all, and when it comes to our right to bear arms, the gravity of the situation is fantastically heavy.
In June of 2015, NICS – that’s the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for those not familiar with purchasing firearms – reported a record-breaking month of firearm sales. 886,825 background checks took place, making it the busiest month of June for NICS in the entirety of their 17-year history. Of course, as many are quick to point out, NICS checks don’t signify actual sales. Not everyone who tries to buy a gun passes the background check, which is exactly what NICS is for; something many anti-gunners are quick to forget or insult for accuracy. Even so, it’s an encouraging sign; one indicative of a still-burgeoning desire of Americans to legally purchase firearms. Or is it?
Despite reports from NICS, many gun store owners nationwide are reporting a sharp decline in sales. Long gun sales specifically are dropping off; pistols haven’t suffered quite the same decrease in interest, but it would follow, logically, that they, too, will soon suffer the same fate. Granted, those sales aren’t suffering a horrific slump, they’re simply decreasing from the impressive sales spike of 2013. And while 2013’s highs are typically attributed to the timeframe’s increase in gun control legislation, it still makes you wonder just where the fear has gone. Concern over a loss of rights has tapered off along with those long gun sales, but the threat itself has not.
The 2016 presidential election is becoming an increasingly common topic of discussion, and there are definitely two sides of the conservative aisle: those who believe a win is a sure thing, and those who believe a solid enough candidate does not exist. But there’s something it’s all too easy for both sides to forget. When the incumbent is nearing the end of his 8-year reign, he no longer has anything to lose. There’s no concern over upsetting a particular faction or rocking the boat by pushing for certain pieces of legislation aggressively. Outgoing presidents have been known to grant rather outrageous pardons, such as Bill Clinton’s pardoning Marc Rich, and one can only imagine what our current Oval Office resident might do.
This is not to say there should be panic in the streets, hoarding of precious metals, or stockpiling of bottled water (well…). Only that it’s all too easy to forget or dismiss threats to our Second Amendment rights, and the soon-to-end saga of High Bridge Arms should serve as a warning. The constantly tightening noose of gun store regulations in San Francisco are, after all, aimed specifically at that last holdout. The hope can only have been that each yank on the rope would eventually force them to close their doors, and the local government finally came upon the magic regulation: stomping on gun buyers’ Second Amendment rights with jack-booted feet.
Anyone purchasing a firearm at High Bridge Arms would, after all, go through NICS. The requisite paperwork must be filled out, the background check must be carried out, and the results, whether yay or nay, must be adhered to. So why would the local government demand the store both take and hand over video footage of all sales? And on a weekly basis, at that. There may be those who say this is nothing but a large city attempting to get a handle on gun violence, but here’s the thing: California has the lion’s share of our country’s strictest gun control laws, and yet their violent crime continues to rise. Imagine that.
High Bridge Arms has been in business since the 1950s, when it was founded by Olympic shooter Bob Chow. Chow competed in the 1948 Olympics 25-yard pistol shooting event, and when he opened the gun store it became more than just a shop selling firearms and ammo, it became a landmark. To this day tourists stop by High Bridge Arms, especially those in law enforcement. It isn’t just a store, it’s a slice of San Francisco history, Olympian history, to boot. But because it’s firearms-related history, it’s been relegated to the trash heap by the government.
San Francisco City Supervisor Mark Farrell made a public demand for tougher gun control a few months ago, saying he believed “easy access to guns and ammunition continue to contribute to senseless gun violence here in San Francisco.” He may as well have accused High Bridge Arms of wantonly passing out firearms like candy bars and all-day suckers. They are, after all, the only gun store in the entire city. All gun control legislation related to store sales can only apply to them, and though they’ve always complied, they draw the line at violating their customers’ rights through weekly turnover of live video footage of gun sales.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has taken the opportunity to climb atop its anti-gun soapbox as well. Spokesman Ladd Everitt believes the aforementioned video footage is vital to catching lawbreakers and of High Bridge Arms’ refusal to cross that line, said “If High Bridge Arms is so scared of implementing such a practice, my first question would be, ‘What do you have to hide?’” He went on to question why every gun store in the nation isn’t required to provide video surveillance of gun sales. Apparently Everitt is unfamiliar with the NICS process that takes place before those sales – that and he doesn’t understand personal rights.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is responsible for taking to social media this past September to urge its followers to treat open carrying citizens as criminals, calling police at the sight of someone carrying – or suspected of carrying – a firearm. On their Facebook page they followed up these urgings by saying “Never put our safety, or the safety of your loved ones, at the mercy of weak gun laws that arm individuals in public with little or no criminal and/or mental health screening.” It’s easy to imagine the number of unnecessary calls being made to 911 by anti-gunners following such asinine advice, and also easy – and disturbing – to consider just how much of law enforcement’s time is being wasted on such matters. And when you stop to consider the obvious risks of such behavior – many coalition followers have been stating their intent to pepper spray, assault, or somehow physically detain anyone they see with a firearm – the potential for harm to both sides is simply staggering.
It’s a travesty that High Bridge Arms is being forced out of business by the intolerance of the gun-grabbing left. There’s no way to sugarcoat this – no, there’s no reason to. These types of focused assaults on gun stores, gun owners, and our Second Amendment rights in general cannot be tolerated.
All too many rallies for gun rights are only sparsely attended, with locals apparently believing “someone else” will handle legal matters in their stead. Guess what, no one can handle this in your place. Only the involvement of all gun owners will change things; this requires a tidal wave of action, not a kiddie pool splash of apathy. Nothing is going to change unless you do something about it yourself. Expecting the guy – or woman – next door to make sure your gun rights are protected makes about as much sense as expecting them to breathe and pump your heart for you so you needn’t concern yourself with such trivial matters.
The fate of High Bridge Arms is a sign of the anti-gun climate. Wake up, gun owners. Complaining and posturing on social media from the safety of your computer keyboard helps only as much as the scant seconds it takes to type it out. You’re asleep at the trigger and will have only yourselves to blame for the unimaginable losses sustained in the end. You say your guns will only be taken from your cold dead hands? Try fighting for them with warm ones.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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