Retail Roundup: To carry or not to carry?

Sage Jacques, manager of Sheridan Arms in Saginaw, shows different weapons to a customer at the front counter. (Michael Piwowarski/Editor-in-chief)

By Michael Piwowarski, editor-in-chief.

After a 21-year-old man killed 22 people at a Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas, the retail chain decided to take action by ending sales of handguns and short-barrel ammunition, as well as asking customers not to openly carry firearms in their stores.

For the midwest, Meijer was the next big retailer to follow suit, requesting that customers do not openly carry firearms in their stores. The company announced this on Twitter Monday, Sept. 9, adding that “open carry can create an environment that makes our customers and team members feel unsafe.”

Among other major retailers that have made a similar decision are Walgreen’s, CVS and Kroger.

Bill Sheridan is the CEO of Sheridan Arms, a firearms dealer and indoor shooting range in Saginaw. He disagrees with this decision being made by major retailers.

“One of the reasons that [these shootings have happened] is because nobody could actually shoot back and protect themselves or other people,” says Sheridan. “So it becomes an issue when you have a population disarmed, that they are unable to do anything themselves or their loved ones.”

While Walmart and other retailers obviously took their stance in light of the El Paso shooting, Sheridan believes that these policies are invoked out of being uncomfortable with guns. However, Sheridan subscribes to the philosophy that guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

According to Sheridan, sales at his store have increased sharply since the El Paso shooting, and this usually happens whenever mass shootings hit the headlines.

CNN Business reported in August that gun makers American Outdoor Brands (formerly Smith & Wesson) and Sturm, Ruger & Co saw their stocks rise following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

“People very clearly understand that they don’t want this situation happening to them,” says Sheridan. “And so not only firearm sales, but we see a spike in firearm training, so that we can lawfully train people to carry a gun […] concealed.”

The ideal solution to curbing gun violence, as Sheridan points out, is to educate more individuals on gun safety and self defense, encouraging them to defend themselves and others.

“I feel much safer at a place where you have licensed, trained people carrying a gun, rather than not only nobody able to defend themselves, but there’s no security and no armed defense within that building,” says Sheridan.

Sheridan Arms offers classes on firearm safety and usage, as well as CCW/CPL training for covering requirements necessary for obtaining a concealed carry permit in Michigan, among other classes. Information on these, as well as pricing, can be found on their website at sheridanarms.com.

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