When I was back in college down in Tennessee, I worked as a Merchant of Death(tm)…sales clerk in a Knoxville gun shop.
Contrary to uninformed mainstream media belief, gun shops don’t just sell artillery to anyone who walks through the door. The B.S. about “unregulated gun purchases” is just that. (Fun fact: Guns are the only consumer product sold in the United States that require a federal background check for every single transaction.)
Above and beyond the background check, gun salesmen usually exercise their common sense when dealing with customers. When you work behind that counter for any length of time, you tend to develop a finely honed radar for people that you know shouldn’t be walking out of your store with a firearm.
Here are some questions and remarks that will raise a red flag at the gun store:
- “Can I buy, like, just one bullet?”
- “Say, do you know what time the bank across the street opens?”
- “You got anything that will go through a bulletproof vest? Like, the kind cops wear?”
- “Phased plasma rifle in the forty-watt range.”
- “I’ll take this one…according to prophecy.”
- “I’ll need a few more magazines for that, too. Let’s see who gets laid off today, huh?”
- “The voices say I want that Remington pump-action.”
- “Uh, you guys need, like, I.D. for buying a gun?”
- “I need something for…deer. Yeah, a deer. A cheatin’, no-good slut of a deer.”
- “Will this pistol show on a metal detector? Say, at an airport?”
- “I need something with a scope. The anti-psychosis meds make me too loopy for iron sights.”
- “I need a what to buy a fully automatic weapon? I’m law enforcement! I work the tactical team at Pheasant Lane Mall!”
- “So, is this rifle easy to convert to full-auto? Just a bit of file work, right?”
- “I want some practice targets. You got any that are shaped like squad cars?”
- “Can I just rent this thing for a few hours?”
(On a serious note: I’ve refused sales, either directly or by diversion, to people who just gave off the wrong sort of vibe, even before running the background check. Despite the common misconception that gun shops are just indiscriminately selling killing instruments with no consideration for anything but profit, most gun shop owners and employees have absolutely no interest in arming violent criminals or nutcases. It’s bad for business–never mind your own conscience–if one of your shop’s guns is used the next day for a mass killing.