A knife in the back is all the more painful when it’s done by a fellow compatriot.
This time the knife belongs to Big 5 Sporting Goods, who recently shocked the gun rights community by removing their opposition to legislation that places absurd and costly security measures on California firearm retailers.
When the bill in question – SB 464 (Hill) – was first introduced, the sizeable retailer sat at the table with Gun Owners and other pro-2nd Amendment groups, urging legislators to vote no. But then they cut a sweet deal that benefits them the most.
Lobbyists hired by Big 5 testified in the Assembly Public Safety Committee that new amendments addressed the company’s previous concerns which was a stunning slap in the face to those 2A supporters in attendance. What’s almost worse, however, is that they provided political cover to the bill’s author. He can now boast that firearm retailers aren’t in opposition – which very effectively pits the smaller gun guys against the big ones.
Sam Paredes, Executive Director of GOC told Breitbart “Big 5 Sporting Goods was at the table with us and the California Rifle & Pistol Association when this legislation was introduced, then they brought in a consulting firm. Such a firm’s job is to represent their client’s interests and work out a deal. They worked out a deal and walked away from the table. Left the rest of us in a lurch.”
In addition to the bill’s original mandate for retailers to either erect store-front concrete pillars or have all firearms put in a safe, the amendments add options on steel display case frames and smash-proof glass.
Let’s be real here. The new security spec amendments (see below) are most likely already utilized by Big 5 – they clearly have the Big Pockets to invest in top-of-the-line security measures.
Big 5 crows that they are “one of America’s top retailers of name brand sporting goods and accessories” – which is true. But their shortsighted, self-interested actions speak volumes as to how they feel about the importance of the 2nd Amendment. Their “neutrality” on this bill is downright unacceptable.
Senator Hill thinks “Guns are stolen from gun stores due to a lack of adequate security….guns are left in their display cases without suitable locking mechanisms, making them easy targets for burglars…” He also points to media reports on robberies where thieves used a vehicle as a battering ram to smash through doors, and he says guns were easily accessible when left in display cases.
He neglects to state that these individual incidences are miniscule when put up against the thousands of gun retailers in California – in fact, the author only lists 10 robberies in 2016. The last thing we want to do is minimize criminal activity, but when compared to the roughly 3,800 gun dealers in the state, crash-and-grabs happen to less than one third of 1% of firearm retailers.
To reiterate, Big 5 may have the deep financial pockets to withstand these new measures, or they could already have such on-site display cases. The bottom line is, many smaller dealers do not. Also, even if this were a somewhat viable option for handgun display cases, the display of long guns is another issue altogether.
If anyone thinks this is an issue that is limited to California, they are dead wrong. What’s to stop Big 5 from cutting a similar deal with law makers in other states?
If it is the intent of SB 464 to put gun stores out of business, then they are on the right path and Big 5 just made it easier for the gun controllers to achieve that goal.
If it weren’t for the efforts of the pro-Second Amendment organizations in California, Big 5 would have been out of the firearms business in the Golden State a long time ago. At very least, they owed us the courtesy of informing the 2nd Amendment community that they were willing to feather their own nest – at our expense. Instead, they hired a powerful lobbying firm, independent of the pro-gun lobbying groups, to look after their own best interests.
Like we said before. A “friendly-stab” cuts deeper.
To read the full Breitbart article by AWR Hawkins, click here.
**The amendments that removed Big 5’s opposition allow retailers the option to: