Federal Way is positioning itself to enjoy some of the money generated by the firearms industry.
The United States is experiencing a historic wave of new shooters. Bellevue, Wash., and Las Vegas, Nev., are two cities that have attracted successful gun-related businesses.
Potlatch, Idaho, a former timber town alongside the Clearwater National Forest, is among several cities that are recruiting gun manufacturers and other gun-related businesses. In fact, states like Idaho and Montana have recognized the economic opportunity in America’s legacy of firearms freedom and the spirit of enterprise.
Las Vegas received funds from a sell-off of federal lands pursuant to a law that only applies to Nevada. Most of the revenue had to be used on parks, and $64 million has been spent on the Clark County Shooting Complex, located on 2,880 acres north of Tule Springs in the northernmost part of the valley. The complex will see another $3 million spent to build a facility for shooting clay pigeons.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas has acres of indoor gun ranges all competing for the wave of enthusiasm for shooting activities in and around the strip.
In Washington state, the number of concealed pistol licenses is up by nearly 64,000. Other states are reporting similar increases in concealed weapons permits. Gun rights advocate Dave Workman says the number of gun owners in Washington who have concealed pistol licenses is 358,335. The number has never been so high.
The best estimates of gun sales are based on the number of NICS background checks, which have been soaring right along with the numbers of CPLs.
This trend can partly be explained by fears that President Obama will bypass Congress and ban certain kinds of gun ownership by entering into a U.N. treaty or by administrative fiat.
It is also recognized that every time a mass shooting occurs, many people purchase weapons, often for the first time. But the trend has continued unabated for many years and started long before most of us ever heard the name Obama.
The good news is that many new gun owners are motivated to take classes that often go beyond basic safety courses. It is widely acknowledged that gun safety increases when gun owners invest time practicing their shooting skills. Working with professionals increases the safety factor by teaching even experienced shooters how much we have to learn.
Of course, the needs don’t stop with instruction. Gunsmiths, holster manufacturers and sales of optics are all examples of markets that Federal Way can tap into.
There are also many vendors that market to law enforcement. Some federal agencies in Federal Way will be utilizing the new ranges, bringing their colleagues to Federal Way for training sessions and spending money in our stores.
Some of those vendors must be thinking about relocating to a city that is on the verge of becoming a mecca for law enforcement officers.
The best part about it is that with all the cops from around the country coming to Federal Way, the predators will be going elsewhere.
Can Federal Way learn something from Las Vegas and Bellevue? We now have our first indoor range in Federal Way, and another one is in the works. Bellevue area hosts at least three indoor ranges, and a number of outdoor ranges, all within a short drive from one another. Where there are ranges, there are also firearms schools and other businesses that cater to gun owners.
Federal Way can only gain by hitching our economy to America’s love affair with firearms — a love affair that shows no signs of receding.