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 a gun store employee gets upset or possibly barks 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 me his new acquisition and to ask 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, please do everyone a favor and bring it into the store unloaded and in its case. If you absolutely can’t bring it unloaded, do a couple of other things before reaching for that loaded pistol.
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 that one to find you the holster you’re looking for or to see a specific accessory you’re considering will work.
If you are bringing your gun in for repair, why are you carrying it loaded in the first place? We really appreciate when you think about these things before you get to the store.
If you still believe that unholstering your firearm is required, PLEASE STOP. Be sure to ask the nice (at this point) gun shop employee if they allow unholstering of loaded firearms (yes, it’s always loaded until visually and physically verified by both the employee and you) and what the approved protocol is for doing so.
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’ “unloaded” firearms. And no, they didn’t get that those chambered rounds 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 every day. With your cooperation, we will be able to continue to enjoy our job and more importantly our lives. Be careful out there.
Marlon Knapp (not pictured above) is the 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.