Originally, my intention for writing this article was to make the community aware that the Gun Store's main business is class 3 weapons. Now I am even more concerned that our "little piece of heaven" is, somehow, dramatically altered by this kind of controversial business
Update, December 8: Ms. Fisher, who has taken a lot of shots for her story, has a sent a response addressing many of the critical points raised. Click on the comments button at the bottom of the story to see her response.
Note: A concerned citizen, Anna Fisher of Wimberley, sent this report about a gun store doing business in the neighborhood that is licensed to sell class 3 military style weapons. The business occupies what used to be a country and western dance hall on RR 12 between San Marcos and Wimberley. On its website, the gun store boasts, "From Twenty two’s to tanks, We try to have something for everyone." For hunters, gun enthusiasts and collectors, it's a virtual candy store. Most drivers passing by might think at first glance that the place is a World War II fighting machine museum. Ms. Fisher, however, takes a different tact and questions the wisdom of allowing the sale of assault weapons in the heart of a peaceful and peace loving community. She did a fair job of trying to get an answer from the gun store's owner, apparently to no avail. Nothing against a legal business trying to meet a strangely growing demand for all types of weapons that pack massive kill power. Just saying, maybe the wider community should chime in on cases like these and examine some of the more serious potential side effects. We are informed by Ms. Fisher that one of the local newspapers she called told her they probably would not run her petition as an advertisement and it's doubtful, she said, that they will even publish her report.
Send your comments and news tips to email@example.com, to Ms. Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org, to Pct. 3 County Commissioner Will Conley at email@example.com or click on the "comments" button at the bottom or the story
An Open Letter
By Anna Fisher
“If you know what you want and we have it, the whole process takes about ten minutes . . . And if we don’t have it, we can get it,” says the sales representative at the Gun Store. Recently opened on RR 12, the "Gun Store" is a Class 3 weapons dealer licensed to sell assault weapons to the general public. (The store formerly operated in San Marcos proper.)
It is not your standard hunting store. Their web site reads, “As a class 3 dealer we are licensed to buy and sell fully automatic and suppressed weapons and would be happy to walk you through the legal transfer process.”
According to the Western Firearms Company out of Grapevine, Texas, “Owning a class 3 weapon (machine guns/silencer) is relatively simple.” For example, the AK-47 rifle used in the September 28 shooting on the UT campus only required the purchaser to be 18 years old and have proof of residency. Class 3 weapons are referred to as “assault weapons” for a reason – their purpose is to kill people.
As a resident of this community, I was shocked to discover that a class 3 weapons dealer has moved into the area. Class 3 weapons are not personal protection weapons nor or they hunting rifles. Selling military-style weapons to the general public strikes me as incompatible with our neighborly way of life, as well as dangerous.
In an effort to understand the business of the Gun Store, I visited the store and talked with two sales representatives. They briefly described their impressive wall display of guns ranging from hunting rifles to fully-automatic rifles. In a further effort to understand his perspective, I called the store owner. Rather than returning my call, the owner asked his store manager to call me. Once again, I asked to speak to the owner and was told I could not. Since their website claims they are a “friendly” store, I was a little surprised and asked why not and was told the owner would not talk to me.
I had prepared a series of questions to ask the owner but I decided to ask the store manager only one question. I asked, “In light of the controversies surrounding sales of class 3 weapons, why do you choose to sell class 3 weapons, rather than only selling hunting guns and personal handguns?” He became defensive and said, "That is the end of this liberal interview” and hung up. There was one other question I really wanted to ask, “How does your business contribute to the quality of life of this community?”
Law enforcement agencies contacted pointed out these licensed stores operate within the law. However, does a business owner play an enabling role with the criminal market when he sells these types of products?
As to where class 3 weapons dealers can locate, these dealers are even less regulated than liquor stores, bars and gambling operations. It seems the only vehicle available for refusing to allow a gun dealer to locate within a community is zoning. Further, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms, the federal licensing agency for gun dealers, is prohibited by the "Tiahart Amendment" from sharing their records with the public, including whether any weapons confiscated from crimes have been traced back to a particular store. The NRA successfully lobbied Congress to prohibit the computerization of gun dealer records. According to a San Marcos Homeland Security officer, it is even difficult for local law enforcement agencies to access these records.
Originally, my intention for writing this article was to make the community aware that the Gun Store's main business is class 3 weapons. Now I am even more concerned that our "little piece of heaven" is, somehow, dramatically altered by this kind of controversial business. People choose to live here, I believe, because of our neighborly and wholesome way of life. Most of us know our shop owners and each other. It is highly significant that the owner of the Gun Store refuses to even talk to me.
One young Wimberley mom said to me, “I feel uncomfortable every time I drive by that store, and when my children are in the car. I am worried the military tanks blatantly displayed will frighten them."
This community is protective of its way of life and is proud of its healthy and safe environment. We should ask ourselves if selling military-style weapons to the general public is the kind of business we welcome.
If you have similar concerns, and would like to gather signatures for a petition requesting the Gun Store to voluntarily stop selling Class 3 weapons at the RR 12 location, you may contact me at: FOXLADY830@YAHOO.COM.