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How Will Assault Weapons Ban Affect Gun Shops And Ranges?

Credit Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

A proposed assault weapons ban would prohibit all semi-automatic shotguns and rifles that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds. State economists say that would affect around 71 percent of rifles and half of shotguns. Charlie Strickland, CEO of Talon Training Group, says it’d be a big hit to his business.

Charlie Strickland owns both Talon Range and Talon Tactical Outfitters, he says the changes in the law would more than cripple similar businesses statewide.

CEO of Talon Training Group Charlie Strickland in front of multiple long guns.
Credit Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM
CEO of Talon Training Group Charlie Strickland in front of multiple long guns.

"By the definition of this, almost every semi-automatic sporting shotgun in the state of Florida would be banned. No more sale, no more manufacturer," explains Strickland. "How does it affect my business as a gun manufacturer, well that would be gone because we only build AR-15 style rifles it’s not a large part of my business but it is certainly a draw. It gets people in the door."

Inside his store, Strickland points out which of his inventory would – and wouldn’t – be affected.

"Our gun sells here in the store are predominantly handguns. But we do sell an awful lot of AR-15 style rifles, antique rifles that fit the same criteria. We have a lot of consignment sells come in that are older guns that fit the same definition of this amendment proposal and semi-automatic shotguns," describes Strickland.

He says that the guns the amendment would ban are about of third of his sales, possibly forcing him to close. Even his shooting range would be affected. That’s because the guns prohibited by the ban are among the most popular.

Shotguns and rifles at Talon Tactical Outfitters.
Shotguns and rifles at Talon Tactical Outfitters.

"Probably 80% of the shotguns we see on our skeet, trap and sporting clays facility are semi-automatic shotguns that under this would be banned," says Strickland.

While people could simply use other shotguns that would be allowed he said he highly doubts that’d happen.

"That’s not what’s fun for most people and it’s not what they are used to shooting. So can it be done, absolutely it can be done. Is it what’s going to happen, no people will just stop," says Strickland.

But he insisted shotguns shouldn’t even be prohibited since they are rarely if ever used in mass shootings.

"Now when they added shotguns they really went the bridge too far. I think if they had of left it to rifles we would’ve had a harder time arguing against it," explained Strickland.

Strickland says the difficulty in trying to ban guns the way the amendment does is that it’s too hard to try and stop manufacturers from getting around the rules.

"In California, they just put a little button on the side to make it harder to reload There’s always a way to change things, and there’s always a way around it," says Strickland.

When questioned if banning specific gun models would be better, he says no.

"Now you can make a list of manufacturers and say these manufacturers with these model numbers, they’ll just start new companies and add new models faster," explains Strickland. "The same way they do with designer drugs I mean they just change the chemical formulation and now all of a sudden it’s not banned until you can figure it out."

Strickland says in the short term business like his would be out of business, but in the long run, gun manufacturers will just create weapons that have the same effects but aren’t designed like the banned versions.

“They cannot define this without going overly far and that’s what they’ve done here. They made the attempt but bless their heart, they went too far,” says Strickland.

As of today, the petition for the ban has 105 thousand signatures, to make it on the ballot it must get over 766 thousand by February.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.