The GRIM Future of Retail Firearm Sales in the U.S.A.

by Jim Shults

The GRIM Future of Retail Firearm Sales in the U.S.A.
The GRIM Future of Retail Firearm Sales in the U.S.A.

Ammoland Shooting SportsU.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- When reading through a recent copy of Forbes, I keyed in on an article about major brick and mortar retailers having problems (to say the least) with losses to internet sales. You see, my wife and I had just been in a Dillard's store in Scottsdale's Fashion Mall. This huge (I would guess 200,000 square feet per floor), multi-level store was packed with costly inventory, cost a lot to operate – and had just eight customers in it (including us). When I questioned employees, they said the Internet was killing the store.

I go into our local Cabela's during the week and wonder how they do it – or if they really are. In Phoenix, Dick's Sporting Goods big box store was so empty of customers we rattled around like BBs in a box car. This is not good!

Put yourself in a retailer's place. Typically, you may have several hundred to several thousand different SKUs (stock keeping units) in your store. This means you have a boatload of money tied up in inventory – and that leftover store inventory also gets taxed (inventory tax) at the end of the year in most states[10] (something few folks know).

Couple this world of retail competition with the costs of payroll, mortgage or rent, city and county property taxes, property insurance for fire, theft, and liability – and then add water, electric, heat, cooling, displays, upkeep, security, marketing/advertising, and theft (shrinkage), and you can see how a retailer's cost problems grow exponentially.

To keep it simple, let's look at payroll. For this example, we will set employee base pay at $15 per hour (it can be more or less but let's just go with this number–please do not pick on the author). Now add in the employer's silent share (payroll tax made up of FICA and Medicare), unemployment tax, workman's compensation, and other costs and fees in any particular state regarding an employee, and suddenly this “$15 per hour” employee becomes a per-hour cost to the employer of about $21 per employee – and that doesn't even count health insurance.

So what does just this extra “puny” $6 ($21 minus $15= $6 for those in Loma Linda) an hour represent in cost to the employer for a full-time employee – more than $12,000 annually! This figure also does not include any employer profit sharing, IRAs or simple 401Ks (if provided in today's high-cost world).

Now to cover that single “silent cost” of just $6 an hour or $12,000+ a retailer has to sell somewhere between $59,000 and $90,000 in guns at full MSRP to make up that one employee's “extra” cost from the profit. If it is a full line store, they can make it up a bit easier with lots of optics, cutlery, clothes and other ancillary sales that have a slightly higher margin – except that those are also the very items and sales that the Internet is syphoning off.

Gun profit margins are thin, yet guns are important to have in a full line store, and vital in a gun shop. On top of that, the cost of maintaining a gun inventory is not cheap! All these costs are one reason why so many brick and mortar retailers (of all types) are struggling to survive against internet sales.

Something to think about in just the gun industry. If we keep losing major retailers such as Gander Mountain, Sports Authority, and the failed parts and pieces of Sportsman's Warehouse (from a few years ago), the gun industry and its consumers are in trouble. Additionally, if you think the mom and pop gun shops across the country are making it, you are wrong; we just do not hear of them going under the way we do when big operations go down, and the generally older folks who own them are retiring and shutting down.

Gander Mountain For Sale
Gander Mountain For Sale

If these outdoor/hunting retailers continue to shrink or go out of business, how will the firearm industry survive? And, if big box gun retailers and full line independents keep going out of business, say goodbye to all the other stuff they carry, from shoes to camping gear, and boats to bullets.

Generally, (remember, we said generally) one cannot legally buy new firearms (and in many states even used guns) through anything other than a FFL licensee. So a legal transfer means an FFL licensee must usually process the sale. If we continue to shut down or kill off the firearms retailers, there is certainly no future for new firearm sales because Internet sales without FFLs being involved are, contrary to politically inspired left-wing media lies, illegal.

Now, you can say, “Well, private people can get an FFL” – and that was true years ago (for example, I had a special one as a military and gun magazine editor-in-chief in the 1980s and 1990s). But things are much tighter today, and more regulations by a hostile liberal government and/or ATF can literally tighten the legal FFL outlet stream to a tiny trickle almost overnight!

Internet sales of firearms without FFLs being involved are, contrary to politically inspired left-wing media lies, illegal.
Internet sales of firearms without FFLs being involved are, contrary to politically inspired left-wing media lies, illegal.

Currently, there are about 145,000 FFLs in the U.S. – but in the mid-1990s there were 450,000! A regulation change here or there can take that remaining 145,000 down big time. Also, of that 145,000, many are institutionally owned by manufacturers, retailers, importer/exporters, et al, and they often have several FFLs for various legal and business reasons. Cabela's has recently taken to selling guns online but, to finalize the sale, you still have to go to one of their stores to get the gun and fill out the federal and (usually) state clearance. Is this then the future of “gun sales?”

Firearms sales actually support a large part of our economy, to include many state game and fish operations. As Internet sales continue to rob retailers of their non-firearm, higher profit margin items, you may begin to see an interesting problem for the entire firearms manufacturing, hunting and outdoor industry develop.

The firearms industry (guns) is the base of many other industries and businesses dependent on hunting and shooting in general. Think of all the items dependent on gun ownership and the related shooting sports, to include even big ticket items like SUVs, RVs, etc. and the towns, and even states, that have hunting as part of their income base.

Retail locations are simply becoming showrooms for Internet sales. As a guy with a long history in retail sporting goods years ago, it all makes me seriously sad, and it bodes badly for the health of our currently free society when it comes to the Second Amendment and what that amendment really means for citizen freedom.

Go to most any shopping center nowadays and you will see closed stores of all types, courtesy of Amazon and other Internet warehouse outlets. Perhaps the Internet scenario is something the firearms industry and associations should begin to address, because it is coming at us at light speed – and when the retailers are gone, or retail gun access is gone or incredibly reduced, then where will you legally purchase a firearm and, if you can, what will be the cost and trouble to do so?

 

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    RBDTommyroscoethehatidadhoRock Recent comment authors
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    Rock
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    Rock

    Higher prices IS what killed Gander Mountain, Dicks and Cabelas is in the same boat, gotta pay for the fancy buildings, displays and uniforms somehow. The money needed to pay for the EYECANDY store is placed on the merchandise that we are to buy there. The Gander Mountain in Greensburg Pa, once closed and reopened is going to be Campers World, a place dedicated to camping supplies only, no guns or ammo…. With that being said, it won’t last long, can you say BORING ? Kmart stopped selling guns/ammo, it CLOSED to. Stores and shops that cave to the liberal/Dem… Read more »

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    You are absolutely correct regarding the sporting good and other large merchandise chains. I do respect all of the people who say we should patronize the local small gun store merchants, but do they do that with all merchants of all merchandise they buy? Should inefficient or expensive gun stores get special treatment from customers just because they are selling firearms? What about small local stores selling hardware items or anything else? No one is more pro-gun than I am, and I would hate to see the local gun shops go away, but I don’t know what the answer is… Read more »

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    Kmart and other similar stores did not close because they stopped selling guns. The gun department requires personnel to complete the purchase. The rest of the store does not. The labor costs of a gun department makes that part of the store very expensive real estate. The margins on guns did not cover the cost. Plus, some states and localities added security requirements so the locking glass case was not enough if there was not going to always be somebody behind the counter. Retail is suffering because of so much online purchasing. With online, nobody stands around waiting for a… Read more »

    Rock
    Guest
    Rock

    The loss of gun sales were “A” large part of the reasons for many sportsmen, hunters, shoppers in this area (Pa) to just stop going to Kmart… The dropping of the gun sales was a big “part” of the loss of overall sales. Husbands or boyfriends stopped going with the “other half” to shop at Kmart, even if it was only for something to do. I was one of them, there was NOTHING for me to look at or buy after their decision. The store became a ghost store… Both ways of shopping have their good and bad… BUT, when… Read more »

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    As a stockholder in SearsHolding, the parent company of KMart, closing the gun department came after the stores were already having trouble. Many city stores never had gun departments or closed them decades earlier due to poor gun sales.
    If you went to KMart with the wife just because you could go look at the guns but did not usually buy any, is it any wonder why they stopped selling guns ? Lookie Loos are the death of retail. They occupy salespersons time without any sales.

    Rock
    Guest
    Rock

    Being a stock holder also told you that I didn’t BUY any guns there ? They lied about that too then. I also own stocks in a few different area’s (utilities) and outlets. So, I am NOT one of your Lookie Loos. I almost ALWAYS, bought something in the department, a gun or most times ammo. Sears, which I already knew was the parent company of K-mart (and why Kmart sold Craftsman tools, now made in CHINA) is another company that is about ready to go belly up, might want to unload your stocks. Sears also dropped their gun sales… Read more »

    Rock
    Guest
    Rock

    Not here to argue or be belittled, stating exactly what happened with the Kmart here. It turned ghost when the guns and ammo left, you can use your stockholdings in Sears as a pulpit, but stocks are an overview of ALL of the holdings, and YOU my friend weren’t HERE to see a longtime pillar of the area collapse. I watched Sears, Wards, Penny’s and many other stores go “PC” and suffer the consequences… Good luck with your Sears Holding stocks.

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    Being a stockholder just gave me more access to and reason to understand the dynamics of the stores. Walmart Super Centers had a big impact. KMart tried adding groceries to keep the customers but could not keep up. Target Stores also kicked KMart’s butt. They both built up their stores at the same time that KMart started circling the drain.

    Tommy
    Guest
    Tommy

    Lmao. You’re an idiot. Like being a stockholder gives you inside info

    roscoethehat
    Guest
    roscoethehat

    You are correct in a much larger way as well. The full line stores not only Charge way too much for the frill and fluff but an overwhelming part of the inventory of non-firearms sales are imports from CHINA. Over priced sweatshop crap under brand names. It hurts the entire economy and to no small part Sporting good and firearms sales. In an industry that see most American sportsmen forlking over BIG bucks for lessor quality and running up a continued Trade deficit the direction is clear. Online sales are sky roceting this particular issue by even further flooding the… Read more »

    Tommy
    Guest
    Tommy

    Did sears consult the stockholder before closing? Lmao the things people say

    Jonathan Rutledge
    Guest
    Jonathan Rutledge

    There is a lot of falsehoods in this story. Internet sales are NOT killing these stores. You still have to send all internet sales to a FFL holder and do the 4473. They charge between 10 and 35 bucks for EACH gun just to do that. The real reason is charging full MSRP and over that price when you can go to a local shop and get the exact same thing for 3/4 and a lot of times 1/2 the price. That is what kill Gougermountian. Basspro and Cabela’s are even worst than Gander was. Gander atleast had decent prices… Read more »

    Ricardo Riostirado
    Guest
    Ricardo Riostirado

    Mr. Duncan Johnson I see your point and understand your concern; but big stores like Gander Mountain are way over priced and are packed of common items. If you are looking for a magazine for your 9×18 Makarov or looking for 7.5×54 ammo you are not going to find it there. If you are looking to buy a hand gun or rifle you are paying huge prices same with ammunition. So the public will gravitate to where they can find better value on the items they are looking for. I own a gun business Operation Steel Rain and I am… Read more »

    Ammoland
    Admin

    Ricardo , just a headsup, Duncan is just the editor on this article. The author is Mr Jim Shults.

    Al Friend
    Guest
    Al Friend

    I have a close friend who has a home business FFL and SOT 3. He is not going to be the next Warren Buffet, but does well for himself. Here is how he doe it. Since not everyone in the U.S. owns 2-3 firearms, he believes there is a market for actually talking, face-to-face, with people about their needs. Why they want a gun, what are they planning on using it for, etc. People see the value in someone taking personal care of them. They often will buy from him because of that. He is also up front about pricing… Read more »

    MWest
    Guest
    MWest

    The first gun i bought was at an ACE hardware store back in the 70’s in the 80’s Dicks use to sell reloading equiptment , powder, primers and bullets but as NY goes it get more and more anti gun, the local walmart wont sell pistol ammo with out a permit. Even though there are long gun that use pistol ammo they don’t care. So I use the small gun stores and the internet. in my area there must be at least 15 FFL holder that do transfers . The local gun store will do a search for a person… Read more »

    KevinC
    Guest
    KevinC

    I disagree about the lack of retail being a bad thing for the Second Amendment. By the author’s own admission, the dramatic drop in the number of FFL’s in the U.S. happened way before the Internet upset the retail apple cart.

    Retail may be dying (and there are a lot of reasons why, such as failing to develop a fan base for their stores), but gun ownership is not.

    Matthew B
    Guest
    Matthew B

    Yes, But sadly, if you purchase a firearm on-line, it needs to go to an FFL dealer in your state to do the transfer work. as more Brick and mortar stores go out of business, and if prices on-line are less than when an FFL dealer can sell guns for, he will most likely not renew his license as he won’t be making any money. How would you buy a gun on-line, if there are no FFL licensed folks in your area/state…. That is not a cheap license…Just my humble opinion..

    Robert Thomas
    Guest
    Robert Thomas

    Retail is dying. Amazon, etc. and the internet is killing it. Gun shops will exist simply because of the laws controlling sales and most gun owners like to hold, touch, try an unknown firearm prior to purchase. That said, if you want a particular firearm, and have shot your friends gun, or even just a friendly strangers gun while at the range, is there reason to handle that model prior to purchase? Or does an internet sale now make much more sense? I always check with my local shop regarding availability and price, if they can match or come close,… Read more »

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    for Vanns40: I do not know about Bud’s business structure specifically, but I do know that creating an umbrella company may have many advantages. Consumers see Bud’s sites and stores and they appear to be the same, but they may actually function as separate business entities. It is a very common practice.

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Lee: I know for a fact this is one in the same and if you want to prove it to yourself it’s very easy. Look up a gun on Bud’s guns website, get the price, then call the store in Severville, Tn and say “just saw this on your website, do you still have it in stock at this price?”. Bet you dinner they say yes. And the reason I’m so sure is because my buddy who lives in TN did exactly that when he bought his Sig 556. Sorry but you’re just wrong about Buds.

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    Hi Vanns40: I have no idea what Bud’s does, and do not really care. I have purchased from them without difficulty. But… if you re-read what I wrote, you will read that I pleaded ignorance regarding Bud’s business structure before I wrote anything else. Anything else regarding business structures that does not look right? Did I make a mistake?

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Oh oh, my screw up! I conflated what Consumer Bob said and attributed it to your comments. My apologies!

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    No problem! I loved writing in school and one of the things I learned was how difficult it is to read something once and really understand what the author wrote, or write error-free without editing. Very normal. I know this is off subject, but do you or anyone else reading this have any experience with lacquered steel cases used in bolt actions?

    oldvet
    Guest
    oldvet

    @Lee some of the old steel may have corrosive propelants

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    It would usually have been corrosive primers. The barrel just needs a swab with water to flush the corrosive residue. This was common with WW II and Korea surplus. I still have some.

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Only corrosive, I believe, if you get, I believe Greek ammo. Could be wrong. As for lacquered cases, only experience I have is in semi-auto and no problems. There was anecdotal that that the coatings would come off with heat but that was false. It was fouls to be other things that caused the problems not the lacquers.

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    It sounds like if I stick with new ammo, it should be fine. Thanks to all of you!

    Tom
    Guest
    Tom

    One off the biggest problems is the reluctance of manufacturers to move away from the antiquated wholesale/distributor model. Why should I have to deal with Davidson’s or AmChar or Jerry’s who almost universally never have what I want or have allocated it to someone else? The market has begged for disruption by vendors like Buds. My favorite LGS doesn’t have a showroom. I shop the website, pick it up in person for a great price. Yes, I pay sales tax, but I also have the benefit of a local presence and holding it in my hands before I pay. The… Read more »

    Bob
    Guest
    Bob

    I understand the concern about the fate of B&M firearms stores. The current Internet shopper has access to an inventory and bottom dollar price that that even the big box stores cannot come close to matching. I would compare this to the automobile dealerships. Savvy buyers now know the bottom line before ever stepping foot in the showroom. Dealerships unable or unwilling to change thier marketing tactics disappeared. B&M gun dealers have to use updated marketing to woo customers into the stores. The ability to “upsale” and the more lucrative used and accessories market is their advantage. Use the Internet… Read more »

    Bob
    Guest
    Bob

    I once owned a small gun store, fully licensed and permitted and doing quite well. The city that it resided in decided that mine and a few other types were undesirable, in their words high risk to residents of the community. As a result my city business license jumped from $25.00 a year to $1,500.00, the following year to $2,500.00 and the year after that $5,000.00. The same year business license jumped the city also required high risk business, their words not mine, to carry liability insurance or be bonded for a minimum of 3 million the first year, 5M… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    We can blame B&M for not having a forward thinking business model all day, but that isn’t the entire story. Gander, when the parents ran it, was a good place to get quality equipment. It may not have been as cheap a price as you could find if you worked at it, but the quality was right up there. The kids, in my opinion, were less savvy and when they sold the store the bottom fell out. The people who have run many stores into the ground are the venture capitalists who buy companies, try to squeeze out the utmost… Read more »

    oldvet
    Guest
    oldvet

    Don’t know about all the ganders but one thing that hurt the local one here was they severely curtailed the reloading department and went into clothing boats and atv’s . That caused the reloading trade to go other places.

    james
    Guest
    james

    Gander Mtn failed because they were too late to the game.

    Yes they had strong website.

    Problem is their pricing was too high, want a firearm ordered, you have to pay $25 shipping fee.

    You can buy from Buds or KYGUNCO and have no shipping and no sales taxes, just your ffl fee.

    Rick Ellison
    Guest
    Rick Ellison

    I don’t buy online as a rule. Between Palmetto State Armory and Academy Sports I can usually fiend a better price locally. Dick’s semi auto ban took them out off my list of people I do business with. Gander always had a great inventory but everything seemed to be priced above MSRP. There is quite a bit of mark up in firearms so the ability to make a profit and have a happy customer who thinks he got a real deal exists..

    Garryowen
    Guest
    Garryowen

    “I don’t buy [alomst everything] online as a rule.” Guns: we go to a local gun shop and ‘feel-’em-out’. We are fortunate that our local shop has a range to also ‘feel n’ shoot’ before you buy, but then check the price of your FFL buddy working out of his basement (with lower overhead) and if he can beat there price by $40 – $50 or more than the brick n’ mortar w/the range and all looses the sale. ALL other shooting stuff: including ammo come from Midway or Ammo to Go, and we only buy ammo when the discount… Read more »

    Don
    Guest
    Don

    How many of us go into the brick and mortar store to check out a gun and then buy it on the Internet? I justify it by saying I can get it for a few bucks less and pay no tax. I’m not sure I’d want to buy that gun sight unseen with only a gun writer’s opinion to go by. Maybe the author had the answer – the “gun” shop will carry all the peripherals and people will just pick up the guns they bought on the Internet and fill out the paperwork there. At least that will relieve… Read more »

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Don: There’s also the problem that brick and mortar stores create for themselves. Dick’s Sporting Goods flately refuses to remove the trigger lock from any firearm until after you’ve purchased it and they escort you to the front door! Why would I ever want to buy a gun from them that I couldn’t check beforehand? If I buy, on the internet, from Bud’s, have it shipped to an FFL for the paperwork and something is wrong, Bud’s makes the return seamless — no hassles, no problems. Dick’s makes you go through the seven doors of hell. Deal with reputable folks… Read more »

    RBD
    Guest
    RBD

    Come on. Fantasy worlds. You cannot compare Dick’s to a local gun store. Oh, and a gun store without guns? Another fantasy. I’ve been operating gun stores and ranges for nearly 20 years. All you folks with good ideas might want to look in the mirror. You think the LGS is well capitalized? The customers loathe buying from you EVEN if your price is best. I charge Bud’s Gun Shop $65 for a transfer. I don’t care if a customer complains or not. He/She doesn’t need to ship it to me. Ridiculous. It’s a tough business and it’s getting a… Read more »

    Gunwrites
    Guest
    Gunwrites

    Don’t forget to add in the costs of an FFL and the tremendous amount of associated costs in dealing with all the paperwork. You would be shocked if you truly knew the amount of over-regulation and the toll it takes, financial, physical& emotional, on a small business. The BATFE as a whole is a parasitic menace upon a licensee and your freedoms.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Gunwrites, I agree. The GCA, NFA, and the BATFE are all just drags on commerce that we, as a nation, can no longer afford. Congress just passed this stuff to protect themselves, and not We the People.

    oldvet
    Guest
    oldvet

    Don’t forget that one of the stated goals of the obass-#@le administration was to put as many gun dealers out of business as possible.

    oldvet
    Guest
    oldvet

    Again with the moderation seems like gil is getting censorship happy

    SK
    Guest
    SK

    Gander Mountain put themselves out of business. Almost every time I went in there I left empty handed. Their prices were too high. I could go across the highway to a local sporting goods store and get the same thing cheaper. But I could still buy firearms online a lot cheaper after I fingered them in the brick and mortar stores. When I worked at Sports Authority I could anything in the store at cost plus 10%. 10% was the mark up on guns at the time(early ’90’s). I bought a model 70 for $330. Those were the days. Oh… Read more »

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    I wonder if the author buys guns off of the Internet. Not mentioned by the author is that gun stores make good money off of Internet guns, because, in most cases, they charge ridiculous prices for basically filling out one or two pieces of short government forms (which YOU yourself do a lot of the work to fill out) to hand you the gun that YOU bought with YOUR upfront money and had shipped to them so they could just hand it to you. They pay no money for the shipping of the gun from the seller or advancing money… Read more »

    BJI
    Guest
    BJI

    The small independent gun shop 8 miles from my home charges me $20 transfer fee. Am I getting scr…d?

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    I think $20 is very reasonable for most parts of the country.

    throwedoff
    Guest
    throwedoff

    I use a local pawn shop for transfers. David, the manager, gives me a business card with the price of the transfer quoted on the back ($10) to present in case he is not there when my transfer arrives. It helps that they also stock reloading supplies and AR parts and accessories that I buy as well. I also work for the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice which gets me a discount in the shop. Their normal transfer fee is $25. They do more than just complete a couple of transfer forms related to the transfer. They also have to… Read more »

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    I currently use a pawn shop to do my transfers. After years and years of using gun shops for transfers, I will have to say that the pawn shop, at least the one I use, has the friendliest personnel and is not looking to constantly raise the price on subsequent transactions. They are professional and are used to dealing with a wide variety of people. They are not angry at you for buying guns on the internet, and do not really care if you buy a gun from them. Pawn shops are the closest thing to an independent transfer facility… Read more »

    Mike0369
    Guest
    Mike0369

    Government regulates the guns and the ammo.Government limits imports of guns. Government imposes the inventory tax, property tax, income tax, Social Security tax, workman’s comp. tax, unemployment insurance tax, sales tax, and taxes on power, water, and sewer.
    And the internet is to blame for the profit margin of brick and mortar stores?

    Goose
    Guest
    Goose

    Well, GANDER MOUNTAIN was an internet retailer as well as a brick and mortar. Their employee pay and benefits were really lousy, far inferior to the demonized AMAZON. So, what was the problem? Could it have been amazingly incompetent management? YOU BET! The wrong products at the wrong price in a continuous epidemic. The focus of this outfit was to sell credit cards and overpriced extended warranties. They had no idea that they had to get their merchandise in line with other, similar retailers. Amazon didn’t cause the demise of Gander. This company was a casebook story of stupid management.… Read more »

    JeffreyGunderson
    Guest
    JeffreyGunderson

    Yes they were a very poor run company. Plus the states ruin it by raising sales tax at every time they need something.Bad Management and Government. You can’t win!!!

    Jay B
    Guest
    Jay B

    I couldn’t agree more. Gander Mountain shouldn’t be used as an example. They got what they deserved! Management didn’t know what was happening at the customer counter because management didn’t CARE what was happening as long as they were getting paid. I shopped there because there is no Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas in West Palm Beach, and Dicks caters to the golf industry. It was rare to make a purchase at Gander without the clerk charging more than the marked price, or adding a “warranty” that I didn’t want.

    JDL
    Guest
    JDL

    I agree, Goose – Gander’s failure had nothing to do with any outside influences. Their demise was suicidal.

    Cary
    Guest
    Cary

    I’m hooked on Online Firearms purchases. Lately everything seems to be $550-1250. Add a 5.5% tax to that and it starts to add up. And there is just no product selections like GunBroker or GrabAGun . The last 6 firearms I had transferred they had never even seen before! They thought the Mossberg Shockwave was a SBR.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @ Cary, online purchases of anything are more prone to fraud. At the gun store or gun show you can see, hold, inspect, and carry out what you buy. On the internet you risk getting something less than you intended to purchase or nothing at all.

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    I agree with you regarding buying used guns on the Internet. You have to really hold your breath to do so, in my view, although I suspect that many people have had good experiences buying used guns on the Internet. I buy only new guns, because they have warranties, they are not questionable as to condition, and most likely they are not stolen. I have extensive experience buying guns on the Internet. I did have one new gun that was marketed as a factory weapon, when in fact it was assembled completely with factory parts by a dealer. The dealer… Read more »

    Slim
    Guest
    Slim

    Sounds like you don’t have a lot of experience purchasing firearms online. I’ve purchased dozens online over the last few years and I can’t recall ever being burned. I typically pay 20-50% less than the firearm would cost at a retail establishment if I could find the firearm at a local retailer at all.

    I try to spend money with the local shops and even give them the opportunity to price match. The problem is, I tell them what the gun is listed for online and they say, “that’s less than what we paid for it!”

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    You are wrong, sir. I have way more experience than you buying guns online. You buy dozens, I buy way more than that for my private collection. I have extensive experience. You live in a bubble.

    JDL
    Guest
    JDL

    Online firearm purchases have to be received at a registered FFL and transferred. That registered FFL also has a business license with the state and local governments. It will not be long before these state and local sales tax departments realize that they can force the local FFL to collect the sales tax on guns purchased on the internet and transferred through them. Additionally, licensed businesses get a portion of the sales taxes in payment for collecting them for the government, so there is little incentive to resist this if it applies to all gun stores. Just because you bought… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @JDL, There is a Congressional act that precludes states from applying sales tax to online purchases, unless the vender company has a brick and mortar outlet within that particular state. Congress has asserted its authority over commerce and has expressed its intent to preempt state law.

    Pistol Packin Preacher
    Guest
    Pistol Packin Preacher

    Hey at you Wild Bill. I have bought guns in many ways all my life from friends, hardware stores and Other Band M but never off Internet. I say more power to ANY way as long as the playing field is level and then may the best capitalist win. I have had good and bad experiences buying cars, guns and other stuff. It’s life. I have some mom and pop gun shops that look at you like don’t touch my guns and some like Buds who say touch them, fire them and we will sell them at bst price. Thee… Read more »

    Pistol Packin Preacher
    Guest
    Pistol Packin Preacher

    As the dude said in “the last samurai” good conversation

    Webfoot Logger
    Guest
    Webfoot Logger

    They are already charging sales tax on firearms received in Washington state.

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    Unlike firearm sales, stores like Dilliard’s and Walmart or much more vulnerable from market forces. Firearm regulations will never go away; we have had them in one way or another since the beginning of organized political systems. regulations and ATF restrictions change the calculus on what will happen with the firearm market. Meaning: politics controls access to legal firearms. My advice to businesses involved in firearm sales: make a new plan everyday… just like all industries. My advice to firearm owners: stock up.

    Garryowen
    Guest
    Garryowen

    Good advice, Lee – “STOCK UP….”

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    I talked to a gun store/range owner in my town today about getting a particular rifle. The other way to get it was to order it through Cabela’s and pick it up at the store in OKC which about a 15 mile drive. He said that he could sell it for $15.00 more than Cabela’s price. I will be paying him a visit in the morning to order the rifle. I believe in doing business with locals when I can.

    BJI
    Guest
    BJI

    Scheels will give you 6-months same as cash for a Scheels Visa Credit Card purchase of more than $500. This is a GREAT deal if you cannot afford to pay cash on the barrel head for a gun! No small independent gun store can do that so it’s NOT just the internet putting the hurt on small shops.

    James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon
    Guest
    James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon

    It’s all a matter of convenience and price. There once was a time when the personal touch was very important … I remember those times. But now days, given the quality of most mass produced goods, it’s just simpler, faster, cheaper and makes more sense to buy online. If the local stores can’t compete with that, they won’t survive. As sad as that might be, it’s just that way. Part of the problem that made me an internet shopper was almost invariably I knew far more about the product I was thinking about buying than the salesperson. They’re basically just… Read more »

    Richard Kennedy
    Guest
    Richard Kennedy

    I have to agree. I too remember when the personal touch was important. However, now its about saving money where you can. And when it comes to guns and ammo, this is very important. I want to be able to buy the guns I want and shoot as much as I want, and to do that means I have to look for the best price. The retail stores can’t touch the prices that Grab-A-Gun offers. I’m lucky that Grab-A-Gun is within driving distance so I don’t have to pay transfer fee. Also, have to agree that people behind the counter… Read more »

    Jack
    Guest
    Jack

    Pretty obvious to anyone you must be in the area to fill out the 7743 regardless (those are not mail order-the plug for Buds) and it has nothing to do with communists as mentioned by a reader who equates ISS with the ATF or whatever. The real world as this guy wrote in the article is accurate! The B&M base continues to shrink and that is a fact and those not in retail or having no base of retail working knowledge just won’t get it–until… and that applies to all types of stores. And employment numbers now existing in B&M… Read more »

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    I’m sorry, I forgot that some can only see the “little picture.” Your ignorance of the world will not serve you well. Fortunately for you, you can change your condition if you choose to.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Jack, You mean writer. The only way to mention something here is to write. A reader’s action is to read. I hate to even mention the petty little mental error.

    whatdoiknow
    Guest
    whatdoiknow

    Wholesale Distributors need to come together, as well as Brick and Mortar FFL’s. If Wholesale Distributors refused to sell to internet based FFL’s (without a storefront) and FFL holders with Brick and Mortar stores refused to do transfers from Internet dealers the problem would be solved. The internet is killing the brick and mortar retail stores, and it will not be a slow death.

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Well, aren’t you the little trade restrictionist of the gun industry. So, if someone gets a business license to do business out of their home, then gets an FFL you just come along with trade restraint and say NOBODY DO BUSINESS WITH HIM? How magnanimous of you! You certainly do want to encourage small business don’t you? Remember that’s how Harley-Davidson, Bill Gates and hundreds of thousands of others started. If it was up to you they never would have. Competition is the life blood that keeps this country running and keeps prices coming down on every single product we… Read more »

    Garryowen
    Guest
    Garryowen

    Well said, Vanns40, “…either become competitive or you go out of business, period.” There is a small local gun store near our 4,000 member range where we went in a few months ago to buy a box of clay birds, which normally sell for $12-15 max! I handed the saleman a $20 and he said they cost $24.95 PLUS tax. Okay, I said, but this is the last time. Not only will I never come back into this store, but I will go out of my way to tell other members how you ripped me off on this little sale,… Read more »

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    Is the author Chicken Little or Don Quixote ? The sky is not falling and the windmill is not a dragon. Many companies have been grossly mismanaged. They are over-priced until they have a sale or they have poor quality or a combination of the two. The gun side of the store can be sunk by the rest of the store. Retail is hurting everywhere. If the stores do not know how to keep the customers coming, they deserve to struggle. Some expanded too fast with too much borrowing leaving huge debt burdens. Others have lousy web presence. Those commenters… Read more »

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Idadho: You are factually wrong about a couple of things and ideologically wrong on so many others. However, I’m just not going to start on this all over again. Oh heck, maybe I will just touch on the tax portion of it. We are taxed to death on everything. In two States they thought it was just a great idea to tax rainwater! Here you come with “no loopholes for anyone”! I’m tired of my tax money being squandered. If there’s a way I can barter, private sell or internet purchase without paying taxes I’m going to and if you… Read more »

    Pistol Packin Preacher
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    Pistol Packin Preacher

    Amen

    Pistol Packin Preacher
    Guest
    Pistol Packin Preacher

    That’s Amen to ALL you said @Vanns40

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    I did not say the state would require a face to face hands on demonstration. The manufacturers could require it to cover the firearm with a premium warranty. Pure capitalism. I can buy a brand new, never opened laptop with a full service warranty or with a limited warranty. The limited warranty new product is labeled as ‘refurbished’ so the discount dealer is not competing directly with the authorized dealer. Many manufacturers have a dual channel of distribution like this. They use it to sell surplus inventory or to high volume discount sellers. Every state that charges a sales tax… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Idadho, You say, “Those commenters who say, Online allows me to save 5 or 6 % sales tax are law breakers.” The SCOTUS, nearly a hundred years ago, said that tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Only tax evasion is a crime. And I believe that it was the great Oliver Wendel Holmes , Jr who disagrees with you.
    Oh, and that report you mentioned, I believe that that only pertains to tobacco purchases. And that “forgiven” concept is just outrageous.

    idadho
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    idadho

    What report did I mention that pertains to tobacco purchases ?

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Idadho, Happy Sunday morning! None. I am saying that I think some of the states require a report at the end of the year regarding internet purchases of tobacco products, but not internet purchases of all products.

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    Wild Bill, I have never seen such a reporting requirement. It must be a state tobacco law but it is not part of a state tax return that I have seen. From what I found quickly, the tobacco excise tax avoiders are a target of the tobacco authority. They can be vicious. Tobacco excise taxes would be reported separately from use taxes. But, online tobacco purchases have both taxes due, excise and use (sales). If it requires a tobacco tax stamp, excise taxes are due. I have seen the lines on state tax returns that require reporting of purchases made… Read more »

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Idadho: The easiest, most Constitutionaly correct method, regarding firearms, would be to abolish all firearms laws and return to the way it was pre-1934. That would solve a myriad of problems and would also let us sit back with a beer and enjoy the spectacle of liberals running around with their hair on fire! Now, between this particular forum listing and all the Liberals parading as pseudo-Conservatives, I’m worn out! I think I may take a few days off (much to “Gil’s” delight I’m sure) and ignore the Internet. I leave it to the true Conservatives to keep the trolls… Read more »

    idadho
    Guest
    idadho

    I am a conservative. I suggest using market forces to handle the issue. If not charging sales tax creates an advantage to online sellers that hurts local businesses and allows ‘law abiding gun owners’ to break the law, tighten up the process. Taxes suck but I’d rather pay a consumption tax than an income tax. And YES, the NFA should be repealed. Just read Dean Weingarten’s articles about guns in Australia. They even outlaw carrying knives now and are trying to tighten the screws. I would support a alcohol clearance standard before handling firearms. Pilots have an 8 hours, bottle… Read more »

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    You have to be willing to adapt and change and many of these same stores have come to that conclusion too late or refuse to admit it. One that has understood it from the beginning appears to be Bud’s Guns shop. They have a brick and mortar store combined with a range and also adapted to take full advantage the internet. Mention best prices and Bud’s is invariably brought up as a place to check.

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    If you are referring to the Buds Gun Shop in Tennessee, you are incorrect. I spoke to several employees there about a year ago and was clearly told that Buds does not own this store. It is a completely separate business. And they can charge whatever they want for the guns, which are clearly at different prices than Buds charges. They will not match the prices that Buds charges online. If you buy a gun at that store and have it shipped to your dealer, they will charge you a shipping charge, which is not charged if you order directly… Read more »

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Oh good grief, I don’t know who you were talking to but they didn’t know what they’re talking about. Go to Buds gun shop online, they have three stores, two in TN and one in KY. It’s all the same.

    Consumer Bob
    Guest
    Consumer Bob

    Sorry. You are wrong. It is a franchise. Just as with McDonald’s they do what they want with price.

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    So, he wrote that entire article and FAILED to mention the reason we have to fill out forms to buy a gun and why there are fewer FFLs. How hard would it have been to say that the reason for all that is the communist element of our society? And yes, I said communist. That is the tyranny the world has faced for a hundred and fifty years now. Not admitting it won’t make it go away. In the grand scheme of things ISIS is but a piker among the bad guys.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    The S. Ct said that the Gun Control Act is Congress’s legitimate control on commerce. The internet sales versus brick and mortar store sales issue is one more reason to repeal the GCA. The GCA is another one of the unnecessary regulations.

    Lee
    Guest
    Lee

    Interesting. I agree, it needs to be altered.