Business booms for gun shop as locals seek self-protection

  • Written by Derek Johnson

gun shopAMS Guns owner Larry Gordon (right) helps a customer during a recent afternoon. Photo by Derek JohnsonOne recent morning, a local woman alone at home suddenly heard pounding on her front door. Seated at her computer and dressed in grubbies, she didn’t respond. But the pounding persisted. The doorknob rattled. And now her anxiety quickened. Suddenly, the rattling stopped, and she heard footsteps walking away. Creeping to glance out her window, she spied two men putting on gloves and advancing toward her home. Panicked, she grabbed a baseball bat and shouted a threat through the door. The men retreated to their car and took off.

The next day, the woman’s husband drove to AMS Guns in downtown Woodinville, looking for protection.    

To Larry and Kathy Gordon, the long-time owners of AMS Guns, this scenario is nothing new. “I hear stories like that constantly,” Kathy said. “Home invasions are on the rise. Most of the people that come here are for sport, but our business has grown from fear of guns being taken away (via government legislation), and from people wanting something to protect themselves.”

The shop has a lived-in look, with various types of guns, hunting rifles and accessories filling wall space and glass cases. The issue of gun control would have to wait for another day. For now, the questions centered on the advice they give to those looking for self-protection.

“A revolver,” Kathy said. “There’s no jamming, there’s no thought. You just pull the trigger. I tell every single person that comes in here that this type of gun is a last resort. You’re only going to use this if your life or someone else’s life is threatened. It’s not a firefight.”

Finishing with a customer, Larry Gordon joined the conversation. He asserted that owning a gun isn’t for everybody.

“We have asked a question, over the years, to first-time gun owners,” he said. “Can you use lethal force to protect your life or the life of a loved one? If the answer is no, then you need to think of something else. Maybe pepper spray, maybe a taser or baseball bat. But if you can’t take someone’s life, do not buy a handgun.”

Gun control advocates argue that current screening practices fail to prevent needless violence. But the Gordons disagree. Criminals, they say, buy guns off the black market, and don’t undergo the rigorous background checks already in place via legitimate merchants.

“The system really does work,” he said, offering an example. “One day a woman arrived in a white suburban. She wanted to buy a gun. I showed her a revolver, and then told her I needed her driver’s license and concealed weapon permit. She didn’t have a permit, so I told her that she was going to have a five-day wait before picking it up. She shouted an obscenity, then said ‘You can’t even buy a gun when you want to kill yourself!’”

The woman stomped out the door and Larry followed to get her license number. They called 911. “We later heard that they apprehended her at her house,” he said. “She was really distraught. Maybe it saved her life.”

As the interview concluded, Kathy was asked for a final summation.

“Your neighbor probably has a gun and it’s okay,” she said. “99.9 percent of guns in the United States are never used in a crime. If you’re buying for protection, the only reason you’re going to use that gun is to protect yourself and the life of a loved one.”

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