A Burbank gun store cited for violating weapon registration laws is closing this month, but new owners hope to relaunch the business.
While the current owners of Gun World on Magnolia Boulevard declined to comment, a sheet of paper taped to the door tells the company's side of the story: "Because of the even stricter gun laws which have made operating our businesses next to impossible, Gun World has decided to close its doors."
Its last gun sale was Aug. 21. The sign said the store will stay open to sell accessories through Sept. 30. New owners hope to be back in action in two months, said Daemion Garro, one of the new owners.
Other local gun sellers agreed that regulators have made it hard to do business. But Gun World has also had its share of brushes with the government.
Gun World's license was revoked last year for multiple violations of registration laws, according to federal court documents. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found that on 3,000 occasions the store recorded incomplete information on firearm acquisitions. It also allegedly failed to list weapons in its acquisition-disposition books 47 times, according to the agency.
The story was also cited for twice failing to properly certify that a gun buyer was permitted to acquire a weapon, and on numerous occasions for failing to record a buyer's place of residence or birth.
In an appeal of the revocation, an attorney for the store argued that each of the counts "was an inadvertent, technical record-keeping error which was not intentional or deliberate … or done with the intent to do something the law forbids."
Gun World withdrew is appeal of the revocation on Aug. 17.
Robert Scholnick, the Granada Hills attorney who represented Gun World, declined to discuss the case. But generally, he said, "The incredible amount of reporting required by the federal, state and local government has made it impossible to do business. They do not want people in this country to own guns."
On Thursday, Garro said the current owner of the store is retiring and he and other employees plan to seek permits to re-open, using the same name.
"It's hard to say when," Garro said. "I hope within the next 60 days."
Other local gun dealers said that a never-ending wave of new gun laws makes it difficult to do business.
At Gun Kings Armory in Glendale, owner Rob Musso reeled off a list of regulations that burden shop owners and customers, including a 2009 state requirement that handgun ammunition be kept inaccessible to buyers without assistance from a salesperson.
He also cited rules imposing waiting periods before dealers can sell used guns or those brought in on consignment; and a state law to take effect in February 2011 requiring store workers to get thumbprints and documentation from buyers, write up the paperwork and then store it on the premises for five years.
"The lawmakers in California know they cannot get an outright ban on firearms," Musso said. "So what they've done is make it as hard to participate in shooting sports as they possibly can."
Gun Kings Armory retail manager Joe Bregman said it takes 35 to 40 minutes to complete a sale of a gun. Customers who enter during the middle of a transaction often turn around and walk out before they can be served, he said.
The thicket of regulation is so onerous that one steady seller at the store is a paperback book, "How to Own a Gun and Stay Out of Jail," he added. The book is updated every year to factor in new laws.