Gun Store Offers Real Solution to 'Gun Deaths'

(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

I don’t like the statistic of “gun deaths.”

I don’t like it because it lumps everything in together and ignores the fact that there are different causes for homicides, suicides, and accidents.


Yet we also know why they’re lumped in together. It’s done to drive up the numbers of “gun deaths” and present the nation with a more staggering statistic.

But the truth is that suicides are a legitimate problem and while I will never agree with their solutions, the so-called experts aren’t wrong when they suggest having a gun in the house the moment someone decides to take their own life makes it much more likely they’ll do just that.

We have a right keep and bear arms and I don’t want anything getting in the way of that right.

But I also want people to have options to remove guns from their own homes if they feel they might decide to do something their families would regret.

Which is where this gun store enters the picture.

The owner of Allegheny Arms and Gun Works fiercely supports gun rights. But he’s also experienced his own gun-related tragedies.

In the past decade, Josh Rowe, a veteran, said almost a dozen of his friends and colleagues have committed suicide with a firearm. Most of them served in the armed forces. Most recently, his uncle died in 2021.

It was a shock, the 46-year-old said. His uncle, who lived in Phoenix, was “the life of the party.”

“This guy would travel all over the country,” he said. “When we cleaned out his house, he had cards and letters from friends.”

“So I made the effort to make sure my firearms weren’t in the house,” Mr. Rowe said.

It was a simple precaution that many don’t take — mainly because there’s nowhere to store those firearms.

That’s why in 2022, the Bethel Park business became the first gun store in Pennsylvania to offer voluntary firearms storage for any legal gun owner, no questions asked.

At Allegheny Arms, anyone who wants to store their firearms can simply walk up the counter, and inquire about the service. Mr. Rowe’s employees will only ask how many firearms they would like to store, and provide them with a contract. Employees will answer any questions patrons have, and ask for a copy of the patron’s license or other identification. After a $20 deposit, the firearm is signed into inventory.

“It’s a pretty straightforward process,” he said.


This isn’t the only gun store that does this, either.

Hold My Guns is a program that seeks to make this a far more common practice, and it’s one I fully and completely support.

The truth of the matter is that many times, people know something is wrong, that they’re not in a good place mentally, and should be separated from their guns. The problem is that unless they have family or close friends who are willing to handle those guns for them, they’re kind of stuck.

And that’s assuming family and friends can take those guns off their hands. Universal background check laws make that a non-starter in a lot of states.

Having gun stores that will take the guns temporarily, where you maintain ownership, and then come back when the crisis has passed is a huge step forward. It means you can get the guns out of the house when you need to. It also means you can do it without alarming friends and family, which is another reason some won’t ask for those parties to take their guns.

Gun deaths is a terrible statistic, but it’s one that’s thrown around a lot. Most of those “gun deaths” though, are from lawful gun owners taking their own life. We don’t have to let that continue. We need more stores like this stepping up and helping our community.


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