Friday, September 21, 2018
Politics

New gun laws will have limited impact on firearms dealers

TAMPA — Chris Carollo, the founder of Shadow Solutions Firearms in Lutz, expects Florida’s new gun control law to take a bite out of his business.

Carollo says his Pasco County store gets about 20 percent of its long gun sales from customers between the ages of 18 and 20. Under the restrictions that went into effect last week, sales of such weapons are now banned to anyone under 21.

"That just took three years worth of demographics out of our clientele base," Carollo said. "There is not much we can do, but financially we will feel the effects."

Other gun shops contacted by the Tampa Bay Times were less bothered by the changes. They said it is either too early to gauge the impact or don’t believe the law will do much to their bottom lines.

It’s difficult to determine exactly how many potential gun buyers will be affected by the new age restriction. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which keeps statistics on the number of background checks it performs for gun dealers, does not keep records on the age of the applicants.

In addition to raising the minimum age for the purchase of long guns, the legislation eliminated the sale of so-called bump stocks — devices that increase a weapon’s firing speed — and established a three-day waiting period for the sale of all firearms, including handguns.

It also created a system that allows law enforcement to confiscate the weapons of a person deemed a threat to himself or others, prohibits people deemed by a judge to be "mentally defective" from purchasing firearms and creates a $67 million program for county sheriffs to train school personnel to neutralize an active school shooter.

The law was introduced in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 students and adults. It was almost immediately challenged by the National Rifle Association via a lawsuit.

Carollo said for many of his customers, a gun purchase is a rite of passage.

"I can’t tell you how many people come in on their 18th, 19th or 20th birthday to buy a rifle or an AR-15," he said.

Other gun shop owners are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Rich DiTocco, owner of Castle Keep Guns in Largo, said the new age restriction won’t have much of an effect.

"Most of the things I sell are to people who are 21 or who have a concealed weapons permit," DiTocco said.

He doesn’t expect the new law to do much to solve the problem it was designed to address.

"It won’t have any impact," he said. "It is just a way to make people feel good. In my opinion most politicians do things to help get votes."

Bob Flores, owner of the Iron Site gun shop in Largo, said he isn’t expecting a significant financial impact from the changes. And even if he did, he said he agrees with the new age limit.

"I am good with raising the age limit," Flores said. "I believe 21 should be the age limit to buy a weapon."

Flores, like other gun shop owners contacted for this story, does not carry bump stocks.

"I don’t sell them, and I don’t install them," he said.

"We do not sell bump stocks," said Carollo of Shadow Solutions. "We think they are pieces of junk. We are a high-end shop and never carried them."

Fred Flesche, owner of Shooting Sports in Tampa, said it is too early to tell how the new law’s age restriction will affect business.

As for the waiting period, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties already had a three-day waiting period for all firearms so that is nothing new, Flesche said.

Pasco went by the previous state law, which required waiting periods for handguns only.

"It will affect business somewhat," Carollo said of the mandatory three-day wait for long guns. "It all plays a part."

The waiting period may even get longer in Hillsborough, where county commissioners recently voted 4-1 to have the county attorney draft an ordinance to extend the local waiting period on gun purchases to five days. The commission will hold a public hearing before voting on the ordinance.

Though he expects a long-term hit from the new law, Carollo said that the business did see a bump in the days leading up to the bill’s signing. Business tripled in anticipation of the new law, he said, with about half of those customers in the age bracket that would no longer be allowed to purchase firearms.

"Saturday was a madhouse here," he said. "People wanted to get guns."

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.

 
Comments
Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

TAMPA — During a showdown Friday in Florida’s most hotly contested state Senate race, Democratic challenger Janet Cruz launched fireworks at Dana Young over education funding, the environment and guns.Young, the Republican incumbent in District 18, r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Published: 09/20/18
Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

It’s not often that we citizens — busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives — find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, we’re about to get that chance.On the November ballot — among all those candidates ...
Published: 09/20/18
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Published: 09/19/18
Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Two things you need to know about Florida’s prison budget:1. It was $2.3 billion this year.2. It was still not enough.Kind of staggering when you think of it that way, huh?We keep spending more and more on housing prisoners, and it’s like throwing mo...
Published: 09/18/18
Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said Monday he was willing to speak to a Senate panel to "refute" an allegation he sexually assaulted a woman while in high school, after his accuser said via her attorney that she was ready to testi...
Published: 09/17/18
California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in subu...
Published: 09/16/18
Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. embassy in Havana suspended processing requests from people hoping to leave the island nation as refugees. The reason: Staffing was reduced to a skeleton crew in the wake of mysterious health attacks on em...
Published: 09/17/18
Romano: Rick Scott’s do-it-yourself guide to rigging a Supreme Court

Romano: Rick Scott’s do-it-yourself guide to rigging a Supreme Court

His time in Tallahassee is coming to an end. Eight years of triumph or shambles, depending on your point of view. And yet, Rick Scott’s legacy may not be written until his final minute as governor.For several years, Scott has been plotting a judicial...
Published: 09/15/18
Fraying Ties With Trump Put Mattis’ Fate in Doubt

Fraying Ties With Trump Put Mattis’ Fate in Doubt

WASHINGTON D.C.? — Back when their relationship was fresh and new, and President Donald Trump still called his defense secretary "Mad Dog" a nickname Jim Mattis detests ? the wiry retired Marine general often took a dinner break to eat burgers with h...
Published: 09/15/18