There’s a single, solitary gun store in Thousand Oaks, California.
Since the deadly events at the Borderline Bar & Grill, though, it’s been a busy place. While I do expect it’ll get picketed at some point, and people will likely say that it remaining open is somehow insensitive, that’s not why it’s busy.
No, it’s busy because a number of Californians are waking up to the fact that the police can’t protect you and gun control laws won’t stop these kinds of things from happening, but being a good guy with a gun might give you a fighting chance.
The Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, site of the nation’s latest major deadly mass shooting, rests just north of a residential neighborhood in this normally placid California enclave.
The horror that erupted there late Wednesday night brought out Brandon Simone and his neighbor, Molly, who live in apartments down the street from the bar.
Molly, who asked that her last name not be used for her own safety, opened up her apartment and meager first-aid kit to survivors suffering broken bones, open gashes and mental anguish while they awaited medical treatment.
Following that sleepless night, Simone and Molly drove together three miles down the road to VC Defense, the only brick-and-mortar gun store in town.
Simone, 35, is a single father who previously vowed never to have a gun in the same home as his kid. But while his teenage son Ethan skateboarded outside, he asked the shop’s owner what he needed to do to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.
There’s a documented phenomenon in America following mass shootings in which gun enthusiasts stream to dealers to buy up contested accessories like bump stocks before they are made illegal. Von Colln’s customers on Thursday didn’t appear to be those types, at least not during the couple of hours he allowed a reporter to hang out in his store and speak with customers.
They weren’t driven by a collector’s desire to hoard guns and accessories, but by raw fear.
Some were small business owners suddenly feeling vulnerable. Many were first-time buyers suddenly seeking weapons for self-defense. Von Colln had to turn at least one customer away because he didn’t have proper paperwork fulfilling California’s stringent identification requirements.
As new customers cycled through the store, the constant chatter – besides general expressions of hatred for the shooter – was about the six unarmed, off-duty law enforcement officers who were reportedly at the bar during the shooting. Their lack of weapons was a presumed consequence of a California law barring firearms in bars.
“At least there could’ve been a chance” of preventing the shooting if they were armed, said Von Colln.
First, I want to say that while there may well have been six off-duty police officers there unarmed, I’m pretty sure California law would have allowed them to carry in the bar. Most likely, they didn’t carry because they were there drinking, and the general rule is if you’re drinking, you don’t carry. It’s a good rule, too.
But maybe it’s time we start coming up with a companion to the designated driver, the designated shooter. The one guy who doesn’t drink so he can be carrying.
Regardless of any of that, it’s interesting to watch Californians flock to a gun store.
The story goes on to talk to Mike Rowan, a former corrections officer, and current firearms instructor at Trigger Burst Training Center. Rowan notes, “I get a lot of closet liberals, people who normally would never want anything to do with a firearm, and I train them and they secretly own firearms.”
What happens if these same liberals wake up and recognize that their side wants to disarm them through laws that have no impact on the bad guys? If that happens, it’s over for gun control activists.
After all, if even their side starts to think they’re nuts, they don’t have a hope in hell.
Not that I’m saying it will happen, especially if Californians are afraid to admit they’re liberal and they own guns. By hiding, they make it easy to ignore them and their concerns. They’ll lose their rights just the same, and I can’t feel that much pity for them.
But maybe someone will start to notice that guns make people feel a whole lot safer after an event like this and they’ll stop trying to restrict them.
I know, it’ll never happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Hat tip: The Truth About Guns