“Without the in-person transfer of firearms at a licensed FFL dealer mandated by the 1968 Gun Control Act, the local gun store as we know it would not exist today.”
Now before you say, “Why, that’s poppycock! I know and trust the store around the corner and I will always go there!”, consider this.
In the late 80’s, there were a number of locally-owned camera stores in the Phoenix area. Photomark, Wilson Camera, Foto Forum, Mesa Camera Shop, to name just a few. Most had more than one store, and you could usually find one near where you lived or worked.
Now most have closed down, leaving just one or two stores scattered over the Valley
Well, at first came the big box stores who sold the same “prosumer” SLR’s like Minolta Maxxum’s and Canon EOS’s that undercut the prices at local stores. The small shops I worked at couldn’t compete on price, and we spent our time educating the people in our stores who would drive down the street to buy their camera for $20 less at CircuitCity, then return to us for accessories and film. That worked for a while as there was just as much money (if not more) to be made on a camera bag as there was on the camera itself.
Then came digital and Amazon.com, and everything changed again. Now customers had no reason to go to BestBuy because they could buy the camera at Amazon for less, and because they were making fewer prints, they had little to no reason to come to the local camera store for film developing. An entire business market was wiped out in ten years, and even the big boys were affected.
Now consider this: Without the need to pickup a gun in-person, would you go to a local gun store, or would you just buy something at a big-box store like Cabela’s or The Mountain Of Goose? Would you even bother doing that, if Amazon sold and delivered guns right to your door.
Something to think about.
Update: I should clarify that I am not taking a position for or against any law with this article. I’m not huge fan of the NFA (to say the least), and don’t get me started on the Hughes Amendment. The fact is, though, that because of the FFL transfer law, gun shops have been sheltered from the market forces that have forced other small businesses to close.
Whether or not that’s a good thing, I leave to you.