Dec 15, 2013
06:21 AMThe Connecticut Story
A Newer Connecticut Gun Shop Owner Says New Laws Hurting His Business
Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register
Mike Higgins, co-owner of TGS Outdoors, holds a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle, above, and a Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22 semiautomatic rifle, below, both chambered in .22 Long Rifle, Friday in Branford.
It’s been about 10 months since Mike Higgins opened the doors at TGS Outdoors, and while he’d like to hire more employees, he said the state’s new gun laws are hindering his business’s ability to grow.
“I’d love to hire more people if I could grow my business, but I don’t have the product to sell,” Higgins said.
Higgins said his shop’s spot in Branford is a prime location near a number of hunting clubs. The opening of the store caused some controversy and sparked a couple of town meetings, although Higgins argued that the number of supporters vastly outnumbered the opposition, and that the media sensationalized the issue.
New state laws have created a tough situation for gun store owners, he said. Before the law went into effect, Higgins said, for example, he could have sold a standard Glock pistol with a 13-round magazine. The same applies to a number of other guns.
Now, he must purchase models that take smaller magazines, which aren’t as common.
Gun manufacturers aren’t going to change their entire assembly lines to accommodate laws from a handful of states, he said.
There also has been a persistent shortage of ammunition that existed even before the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shootings, Higgins said.
“I will either succeed or fail on my own merits,” he said as a business owner. “I don’t want the government interfering with that.”
Meanwhile, those who lawfully bought a gun now classified as an assault weapon under new state law or magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds as of April 3, 2013, will have to register them with the state before Jan. 1, 2014.
So far, state police have received about 4,000 applications to register magazines and 4,500 for newly-classified assault weapons, said Lt. J Paul Vance. It is hard to say whether there will be slew of applications in the final weeks before the law goes into effect.
“With holidays and everything coming up, we encourage people who are being a little slow to make it happen and get it completed,” Vance said about the registration process.
At one point, the state faced a backlog of more than 9,300 background checks, according to The Associated Press. That figure included both pistol permit applications and checks for employment. There also were 62,000 gun registrations for transfer of firearms either by gun dealers or private parties.
The state added more staff and the backlog was reduced dramatically, Vance said.
“We still have a backlog, there is no question,” he said. “People buy guns every day.”