Gun sales down under Trump

  • Tom Colli, of Charter Arms, breaks down a display table during Old Glory Guns & Ammo’s annual open house/ customer appreciation day. Staff photo by Abby Kessler

  • Old Glory Guns & Ammo hosts its annual open house/ customer appreciation day Saturday, June 3, 2017. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Old Glory Guns & Ammo Owner Dana Ryll sits in his office during an annual open house/ customer appreciation day. Staff photo by Abby Kessler

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 9:39AM

Kristine Galeota and her teenage daughter Lucy were among a swarm of people that came to Old Glory Guns & Ammo for an annual open house/customer appreciation day last Saturday. They live in Massachusetts but come to the shop in Mason for the wide selection of guns, and because of the customer service.

As women, they said they walk into gun shops and are often dismissed.

“I walked into Cabela’s the other day, and the guy said to me, ‘I bet you’re scared of guns,’” Lucy said, who just graduated from high school. “I was like, ‘no, I probably know more about guns than you.’”

Her mom says she’s experienced a similar attitude.

That’s not the case in Mason where the employees don’t treat them any differently than the men who walk into the store, they said.

Lucy isn’t legally old enough to own guns yet (you have to be 18), but she has a few she calls her own even though they are listed under her parents’ name. Her uncle recently bought her a gun for high school graduation, customized with her high school colors. The newest addition bumps her collection up to three.

Though you wouldn’t suspect it from the crowd at the shop last weekend, owner Dana Ryll said gun sales are actually down a little bit since Donald Trump was elected to office.

Somewhat counter-intuitively if you have someone who is pro-gun in office, people are less worried their gun rights are going to be stripped away and therefore don’t feel the need to stock-up, he said. If someone is in office who is anti-gun, people grow worried they won’t be able to buy guns and ammo forever and therefore supply. That means there were a lot of good sales years when Barack Obama was in office.

Still, people on Saturday pursued guns and ammo from dozens of vendors who set up displays in the parking lot. Old Glory alone has about 1,400 guns on display for people to choose from.

Ryll said the event doesn’t draw in much money, but that it does bring customers into the store and increases name recognition.

Outside there was a suppressor demo station where people could shoot off a variety of guns with a silencer. People lined up to test the guns, no ear protection necessary.

Ryll said there is currently a piece of legislation called the Hearing Protection Act working its way through Congress, that’s aimed at removing an onerous tax and a lengthy registration process for silencers.

“They don’t make the gun any more dangerous,” Ryll said speaking in favor of the bills.

There’s another called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow individuals to carry a concealed handguns across state lines that he’s also keeping a close eye on.

Ryll likened the situation to a driver’s license.

“You don’t say, ‘Uh oh I can’t drive here because I need a license in Massachusetts,’” Ryll said.

He said he lives a few minutes from the border of Massachusetts and crosses state lines frequently, so he has to be careful.

“I just think it would be nice if that passed, too,” Ryll said.

Ryll has been interested in guns his whole life. He’s not much of a hunter, mostly a target shooter. He bought the shop a few years back on a sort of leap-of-faith. He said the business has grown, and they’ve built a reputation that was established by the previous owner.

Ryll’s daughter, Stacy Bryden, said her dad has been collecting guns for a long time. He has an entire safe full of them at the house. Bryden said when she was small, her dad used to take her to a local dump where they would shoot a BB gun. She doesn’t do it so much anymore, life, and kids have dried up most of her time, but she said she would like to get back into it.

She feels comfortable with a gun, and it’s freeing, and empowering.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com. Follow her on Twitter @akesslerMLT.