Westside store owner: Gun-control backlash no financial bonanza

       Amid the wave of gun-control advocacy in recent months, a reported side effect has been an increase in those wanting to buy guns.

Paul Paradis, owner of the Paradise Sales gun shop, stands behind the counter of his store on West Colorado Avenue.
Westside Pioneer photo

       However, according to Paul Paradis, this has not translated into a financial bonanza for his Paradise Sales gun shop at 605 W. Colorado Ave., and he sees an even bleaker future when two state gun-control laws take effect July 1.
       Still, Paradis, who's had a shop on the avenue since the 1980s, is hopeful regarding a suit that was just filed in Federal District Court by 54 Colorado county sheriffs, claiming those state laws are unconstitutional.
       At first - in the political fall-out from the Connecticut school shootings in late 2012 - Paradis' business did show an upward spike. “In December, January and February, our sales tripled,” the owner recounted. “But after February, we had nothing left to sell.”
       He has worked since then to relieve that situation, only to find that manufacturers have raised their prices considerably. For instance, an AR-15 assault rifle now costs about 50 percent more than it used to, according to figures Paradis provided.
       Another sales impact is the limit on magazines to 15 rounds - directed by one of the new state laws. This puts Colorado gun shops at a disadvantage, he said, against stores in surrounding states that can still sell magazines with 30.
       The lawsuit alleges that overall the new state laws limit an individual's Second Amendment right to weapons more severely than any Supreme Court ruling has ever allowed; also, that the wording is so unclear that the laws could be interpreted to make illegal almost any gun magazine or even the loaning of a weapon to a friend.
       State Rep. Pete Lee, whose District 18 includes much of the Westside, joined fellow Democrats to pass both gun bills (HB 1224 and 1229). They overrode opposition from Republicans, who are in the minority in the State Senate and House, and the bills were signed into law by Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.
       Contacted by the Westside Pioneer, Lee said that limiting magazines to 15 rounds (as required by HB 1224) was supported by “a lot of evidence… They're de-signed to kill a large number of people quickly. Do we want those in our community?”
       The other law, HB 1229, was intended to “close the private gun show loophole,” Lee said. “This will prevent domestic abusers who commit a lot of violent crimes.”
       For many years, Paradis' store has offered training in an effort to make owners responsible gun users. He thinks people concerned about gun violence are misguided that laws will make them safer, noting that criminals can always get guns illegally, for example the one used to kill state corrections chief Tom Clements. “But gun owners are seen as the bogeyman now,” he said.
       Paradis estimated that his business has dropped off 50 percent since February. The gun-shop business “is not as profitable as you might think,” he summed up.
       In fact, the issue-related upheavals have put “a half-dozen gun stores” out of business,” Paradis said. “I hope we're still in business a year from now. We're just trying to ride out the storm.”

Westside Pioneer article