California is known to most in the Second Amendment world as one of the most anti-2A states in the country.
But for gun stores, they have to deal with the other “well-known” part of California: the hostile business climate, which in 2016 was named the worst in the nation.
Just ask Dave Powell, the manager of the recently opened Wild Bill’s Guns Too in Carson City, NV.
Powell had just moved from California where he worked in the Wild Bill's Elk Grove, CA location.
"The amount of paperwork a business, let alone a gun business, has to keep up on in California is ridiculous,” said Powell. “I swear it is easier to run a gun store in Nevada than it would be to run a coffee shop in California."
By Federal law, gun dealers are required to keep meticulous records of all of their transactions. In California, that standard is even higher due to the state rules as well as the Federal requirements.
In addition to a plethora of gun laws, the California Legislature seems intent on regulating everything from increasing the minimum wage, mandating companies offer extra paid time off, and taxing certain products into oblivion.
“It’s really like a death by a thousand cuts when you combine the new business regulations with the gun laws,” observed Powell. “It is truly shocking the amount of stores that are driven out of business or out of the state every time something new comes along.”
While Wild Bill’s still maintains their location in Elk Grove, CA, the driving impetus to opening the store so quickly in Nevada, according to Powell, was to be able to do something with many of the rifles that California had banned.
“We had so many rifles that we purchased, but were left over due to the ban. It would have been illegal for us to sell them to Californians after December 21st and we were going to take a huge hit financially,” continued Powell.
Not only did those laws not make sense on Constitutional grounds, they didn’t make sense fiscally with a state that is always running out of money.
”Here’s the hottest selling product of 2016 that makes the state a ton of tax revenue. We’ll call it product X. After a certain date, the state is literally banning it and if you have any of product X left, you’re out of luck. That would never fly in any other industry or any government budget. But we’re different. Because guns.”
But what is the worst part of it all.
Powell concluded: “It is just a sad fact of life running a gun business in California that you have to deal with politicians that literally want to see you cease to exist.”