ON THE GLASS cases featuring guns for sale at the Delaware Valley Sports Center, the stickers warn: "Don't Lie for the Other Guy."
Behind the cases, center manager Dwayne O'Brien stands ready to rat out scofflaws, with dozens of cops' numbers programmed on his cell phone, some on speed dial.
You'd never suspect that this shop was once among the city's top crime-gun dealers, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Mr. O'Brien very rightly doesn't want to be targeted or scapegoated by gun control activists. I don't think that's the intention of gun control folks, especially in a case where the gun store owner is obviously doing the right thing. The article, written by Dana Di Filippo seems a little biased.
Gun dealers, the thinking goes, should be held accountable for their role in the gun violence that bloodies city streets. Careless or crooked gun dealers are just as guilty as the criminals who illegally use guns, firearm foes say.
"You can't stop gun crime without targeting the source, which is corrupt gun dealers," said Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center. "It's the same reason we target drug kingpins ."
What's your opinion? Isn't the fact that the new owner is making an extra effort to change the reputation of the store an indication that the former owner was not? Isn't it acceptable to target the source, if that source is providing easy purchases to criminals?
Nevertheless, "[t]hat view vexes O'Brien." He makes one of the worst car comparisons I've seen.
"That's like holding a car dealership responsible when someone kills someone with a car - you cannot control what the consumer does with the product," O'Brien said. "The only thing you can do is make sure that gun gets in hands that are safe and legal."
I guess if you're talking about a car dealer who sold cars to people known to be underage or known to have suspended licenses, then you could make such a comparison. But I'm afraid this just doesn't work.
Nor does calling gun control activists "firearm foes," like the article did above.
What's your opinion? Does anyone really believe the Brady Campaign and other gun control people would have a problem with Mr. O'Brien who is obviously striving to do the right thing?
O'Brien knows well the clues that suggest that a customer is a straw buyer.
A hovering boyfriend who picks the gun and answers O'Brien's questions but then has his girlfriend complete the paperwork.
A patron who consults with friends waiting in the parking lot outside before buying.
"People asking for Glocks, because they hear about them in rapper songs," said O'Brien, who has worked in the gun industry for 12 years. "I try to steer them back to models more suited for first-time buyers, but they say: 'No, I want a Glock.' And they don't know anything about Glocks or guns at all."
But red flags trump profit.
"If I don't feel right about a sale, I won't sell it," O'Brien said. "Because I'm white, bald and tattooed, they think I'm racist when I refuse a sale."
Speaking for myself, I'd say this is exactly what we want in a gun shop owner. Some of the others we've discussed could learn a thing or two from Dwayne O'Brien.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.