By Marlon Knapp
Working in a gun shop, you get to interact with people at all levels of firearm experience. Most times the interaction is pleasant for all involved but other times…well, you get where I am going with this . . .
When we get upset or possibly bark at you for an infraction of our safety rules, it’s not because we are “power hungry safety nazis.” It’s because we may not know you and we certainly don’t know your intentions. One of the more sphincter-clenching moments for an employee of any gun shop is when a customer unexpectedly reaches for their concealed firearm to “show us” something or ask us a question.
Recently a customer attempted to pull his firearm from its holster to show it to me and see if I thought he got a good deal. As he was attempting to draw the firearm from the holster, I had to give him two sharp verbal warnings to STOP (read: I yelled at him). Once he realized I was mid-draw with my firearm and I was deadly serious, he allowed me to walk him through the proper steps.
Of course, if you know in advance you’re going to have the good folks at your local shop take a look at your firearm, do everyone a favor and bring it into the store unloaded in its case.
If you absolutely cannot bring it unloaded, do a couple of other things before reaching for that loaded gun. First, ask if they have one like yours. If it’s a modern, popular firearm, chances are good they’ll have one in stock and will probably prefer using it to find you a holster or check if a specific accessory will work. If you are bringing your gun in for repair, why are you carrying it loaded in the first place? Think, people, think!
If you still believe that unholstering your firearm is required, PLEASE STOP. Ask the nice (at this point) gun shop employee if they allow unholstering of loaded firearms (yes, it’s loaded until visually and physically verified by both the employee and you) and what the protocol is. We don’t care if you think the chamber is empty. I have an entire jar full of chambered rounds I have taken out of customers’ firearms that were “unloaded” and no, you don’t get that chambered round back. Consider it a tax for bringing me a loaded firearm.
We love what we do and the people with whom we get to interact. With your cooperation, we will be able to continue to enjoy our job and more importantly our lives.
Marlon is owner of Knapp Weaponry in Wichita, Kansas. He discovered the shooting sports and firearms at the ripe old age of four, thanks in part to his Uncle Rich, a Nebraska State Highway Patrolman, and Nebraska Game Warden. Marlon is former military, and current NRA and Kansas certified firearms instructor.