This recession has meant hard times and few customers for most local businesses, but 23 miles south of the city, in nearby Lakeview Falls, at least one retailer is doing well. Slaven’s Outdoor World has been filled to capacity with city residents looking to purchase firearms. In fact, according to owner Lou Slaven, sales are nearly triple what they were at this time last year.
We conducted an anonymous and informal survey of nearly 200 city-dwelling Big Louâ€™s customers over the weekend of November 7, to try and discover what is behind the sudden gun-buying frenzy.
Question 1: Why are you buying a firearm today?
37.6% – Afraid Washington Democrats will soon make buying guns illegal
32.2% – Home/self defense
18.0% – Forthcoming hunting season
10.2% – Expanding collection
1.2% – Going to shoot self/spouse/major political figure (probably
0.6% – Going to shoot self/spouse/minor local TV personality (probably
0.2% – â€œBitter, and need something to cling toâ€ (sarcastically)
Question 2: What sort of firearm did you purchase today?
40.0% – Semi-automatic handgun, expanded magazine
27.2% – Fully automatic firearm, expanded magazine
17.8% – Standard semi-automatic handgun
12.2% – Standard rifle/shotgun
2.4% – None, failed background check
0.4% – Crossbow
Question 3: Were you aware that owning a fully automatic weapon or a firearm with an expanded magazine is already illegal within city limits, according to an ordinance passed in 1996?
87.4% – “No”
12.6% – Yes
We questioned Lou Slaven whether he was aware that firearms at his store were being sold illegally to city residents.
â€œWell, naturally thereâ€™s going to be a few bad apples that will lie on their applications, or provide false IDâ€™s to circumvent the system,â€ said Slaven. â€œThereâ€™s only so much we can do to verify that information.â€
A salesman for Big Louâ€™s Outdoor World, who spoke with us on condition of anonymity, tells a different story:
â€œWeâ€™ve got a lot of ways of bending the rules,â€ he confided during a cigarette break. â€œShady legal loopholes, backroom deals, whatever. As long as those nut jobs up north want guns badly enough – and they have the money – Big Lou will find a way to put them in their hands.â€
– Ray Ingraham