The last San Francisco gun store has closed. The owners said they do not feel they can operate any longer due to the state of the city’s political climate and because of stringent gun control regulations. High Bridge Arms has also reportedly been the target of vocal protests by activists who do not want firearms to be sold in the city.
High Bridge Arms manager Steve Alcairo announced the closing of the last San Francisco gun store on the shop’s Facebook page.
“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,” Alcairo said.
— KQED (@KQED) October 5, 2015
According to Alcairo, the final straw came for the San Francisco gun store when local politicians proposed a new regulation that would require High Bridge Arms to create a video record of every gun and ammunition sale — and report such transactions to the local police department, MSN reports.
If the new law garnered passage, it would become perhaps the most stringent gun control regulation passed in the city since several high-profile murders in the 1970s and 1990s. The store will close its doors for the last time on October 31.
San Francisco’s Last Gun Store Is Closing | TIME http://t.co/QmtaN0sAMc
— Rick Cooley (@rcooley123) October 5, 2015
In 1993, eight people were killed in a downtown San Francisco high-rise building. In 1978, gay rights activist Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were both murdered in what were deemed assassinations. The announcement of the gun store closing was met with a flurry of both anger and sadness by gun rights advocates and enthusiasts from around the country.
A long line of customers quickly arrived at High Bridge Arms to say their farewells and score some deals at the going out of business sale.
“I’m not doing that to our customers. Enough is enough,” Alcairo said when referencing the proposed video recording law. “Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right. Our customers shouldn’t be treated like they’re doing something wrong.”
As rifles mounted on wall shelves and handguns of all types were quickly being rushed to the cash register, so were T-shirts that boasted that High Bridge Arms was the “Last San Francisco Gun Store.”
The gun shop had battled an increasingly imposing brigade of gun control laws ushered in by both local politicians and voters. A handgun ban was passed in 2005. The law was later struck down by the court as an infringement upon Second Amendment rights.
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell defends the videotaping of customers buying ammo and guns legislation. Farrell said the bill was penned in order to help police officers combat violent crime in the city. He called it “comical” that the gun store is blaming its closing on the bill because a final vote of passage has not yet been taken, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
“Anything that makes San Francisco safer, I support,” Farrell said.
The High Bridge Arms manager said gun sales slowed down significantly since the legislation was proposed in July. Alcairo added that customers believed their ammunition and firearms purchases were already being recorded and the videos being turned over to the police. He was forced to layoff three gun shop clerks due to the sluggish sales. According to California Department of Justice Statistics, the summer gun sales slumps come on the heels of a massive sales surge in the state.
A total of 931,000 guns were sold in California in 2014, the second highest number of sales in the state since record keeping began in 1991, the California DOJ report indicates.
The manager of the last San Francisco gun store also said he was worn down by the continually mounting amount of paperwork associated with gun sales in the city, as required by the local police department, ATF, and the Department of Justice.
“This is the city that defended gay marriage and fights for unpopular causes like medical marijuana.” Alcairo pointed out. “Where’s my support?”
Champion pistol shooter Bob Chow opened the High Bridge Arms store in 1952 after competing for the United States in the Summer Olympics. He sold the store to Andy Takahashi in 1988. Takahashi still owns the building. Alcairo said gun lovers from around the world would stop in the store and pose for a photo with him and the armed staff. Professional athletes playing in the city would also reportedly stop by to purchase a weapon and a T-shirt from the last San Francisco gun store.
[Image via: Shutterstock.com]