Beverly Hills is considered to be the most exclusive address in the nation. The term is generally synonymous with wealth, more so than any other community in the nation.
Not everyone who lives there is among the uber-rich, but I don’t know of that many poor folks who call it home.
It’s also something of an anti-gun bastion. As part of Los Angeles, that shouldn’t really surprise anyone. What is interesting is that even in ritzy Beverly Hillys, gun sales are booming.
In Beverly Hills, even the purchase of a firearm comes with certain…expectations. The city’s only gun store, Beverly Hills Guns, is a “concierge service” by appointment only, for a largely affluent clientele. And business is booming.
Since opening in July 2020, the store has seen upscale residents from Santa Monica to the Hollywood Hills increasingly in a panic following several high-profile smash-and-grab and violent home invasion robberies. The apparent siege has brought in a daily stream of anxious business owners and prominent actors, real estate moguls and film execs, says owner Russell Stuart. Most are arming themselves for the first time.
“This morning I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, ‘I want a home defense shotgun,’” says Stuart, whose store is discreetly located in a Beverly Hills office building, with no sign on the doors, down the hall from a diamond dealer. “Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad. We’re used to this being like Mayberry.”
That fear has the wealthiest of local gentry contemplating every more elaborate security measures: armored luxury cars, safe rooms and bullet-proof glass in their homes. One client asked about creating the “Tony Stark-level” security of a half-dozen automated drones to hover over his house, says Stuart, whose gun store is part of his larger security company, Force Protective Agency. “If you want the Gucci package, it’s going to cost money.”
“Beverly Hills is definitely a target,” says security expert David Perez, CEO of Omega International Group and a former Marine who previously worked security in the Clinton White House and at the Pentagon. “We’re telling clients, ‘Hey, don’t go out with flashy jewelry. Try to keep a lower profile. Instead of driving the Bentley, maybe just take the SUV. “
To be sure, wealthy people who flaunt their fortunes are always more likely to be the victims of crimes than those who are discrete about their status.
However, let’s also remember that Beverly Hills is the place where people are most likely to be able to hire private security. For them to be buying guns is interesting.
After all, their “just have the maid do it” approach to security is, I believe, part of why they’ve taken such an extreme stance on the Second Amendment. They don’t figure you need a gun because people outsource that sort of thing.
Yet even they are buying guns. They’re paying huge sums of money for security, and they’re still buying firearms.
They’re scared. They’re really, really scared.
The question is, though, will they look at this and reexamine their beliefs regarding gun rights for everyone else? My guess is that they won’t. See, while most gun owners become gun voters, the very wealthy often don’t. They see themselves as special, as different. They need a gun because they’re not just trustworthy but important. You and me? We’re not, so why should we have guns?
Never mind that we’re just as likely to be the victim of a violent crime as they are, if not more so. That doesn’t matter.
So while this is interesting, I don’t expect it to do much to change how Los Angeles, and California as a whole, approach guns.