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VA gun store doubles sales, spikes cash purchases amid gun control talks

Wall of rifles at a gun store. (Michael Saechang/Flickr)
January 02, 2020

A gun store in northern Virginia has seen a roughly 200 percent increase in guns, magazines, and ammunition sales in the recent months since state Democrats won control of the state legislature and began discussing new gun legislation for the state’s coming legislative session.

Jerry Rapp, the owner of SpecDive Tactical in Alexandria, VA, said the store has seen the largest Christmas season sales period since President Donald Trump took office. According to the Washington Examiner, Rapp has also reported an increase in cash sales as customers have shown increased concerns about the privacy of their purchases.

“The only other person that was a better salesman right now is when we had President [Barack] Obama,” Rapp said, comparing Trump’s presidency to his predecessor’s. “Every time [Obama] turned around he was going to ban something or make something illegal. But even that isn’t even close to the amount of sales we’re selling right now of magazines, of guns, of every kind of gun from pistol, rifle, shotguns, to AR platforms.”

SpecDive Tactical, which touts itself as the largest firearms retailer in northern Virginia, may owe its latest windfall to increased support for gun control policies at the state legislature.

According to WCYB news, another gun store in Abingdon, Va. has also seen gun sales increase of between 35 and 45 percent.

One lawmaker has proposed a ban on many types of semi-automatic firearms, as well as magazine capacity limits, without an exemption for existing owners. Virginia’s Democratic governor Ralph Northam has also shared interest in similar weapons bans, though he would allow existing owners of those weapons to keep them if they comply with registration.

The rise in cash purchases also comes on the heels of a bill, previously proposed by Virginia’s Freshman Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, that would collect credit card data to monitor gun purchases.

Rapp also expressed concern over other state laws that would affect SpecDive Tactical’s ability to perform firearms training. Along with basic firearms courses, the company teaches more advanced combat shooting and tactical courses.

“From a gun place, the biggest [proposed legislation] that affects me right now, because we’re a training company that sells guns, is if you are a trainer or if you train your son or daughter, that you could become a felon,” Rapp said.

Rapp’s comments likely refer to another Virginia bill that would expand on the definition of “unlawful paramilitary activity,” making it a felony to instruct people in the use of firearms and explosives while “knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder.”

While the proposed firearms training legislation would not affect “lawful activity related to firearms instruction and training intended to teach the safe handling and use of firearms,” some instructors may feel uncertain about the legislation, given a growing trend towards sanctuary measures that deprioritize the enforcement of new gun laws.

Many local jurisdictions throughout Virginia have passed sanctuary resolutions in response to the apparent move toward stricter gun laws. Those “Second Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions suggest many local officials would deprioritize or even refuse to comply with the enforcement of new gun control measures in the state. At least one Virginia county has already voted to form an active citizen militia.