I’ve generally been quite happy with the gun stores and ranges I’ve been to, both in the Chicago and Quad Cities areas. However that streak came to an end today, with a trip to B & B Shooting Supplies. The story is below, and I’m curious what other people think of the situation and my reaction.
For the second time this week, I stopped by B&B Shooting Supplies in Bettendorf, IA after work, looking for a particular model of the Ruger 10/22. I have one 10/22, but have wanted a second for some time. I asked whether they had this 10/22 in stock, and was told that they did not. I asked if they had an idea when they would get it in stock, and was told that they had no idea. I then asked how much they would charge if I had another gun dealer ship the rifle to B & B, so that B&B could transfer it to me. At this point the employee (actually the owner, I’m pretty sure) of B&B said that they would not be willing to do a transfer, because they would rather sell me the gun themselves.
I was rather shocked that B&B flat out refused to perform the transfer. I certainly understand their desire to sell me a gun themselves. I could understand charging me $100 to transfer the $250 gun. In fact, I could even understand them refusing to perform the transfer if they had the rifle there for sale. However, when they don’t have the gun in stock, and can’t even estimate when they will get the gun in stock, it is a different story – especially since I was quite willing to pay a substantial fee for the transfer. What really irritates me is that I’ve spent over $2,000 at B&B in the last two months alone, buying a Rock River Arms AR-15, hundreds of rounds of .223 ammo, hundreds of rounds of .40S&W ammo, thousands of rounds of .22 LR ammo, magazines, targets, cleaning supplies, and other gun accessories.
So, for the first time, I’m going to (partially) boycott a gun store. Whenever reasonably possible, I’ll buy firearms from the other half dozen gun stores in the area, even though B&B is close to my home and work. I’ll buy my ammo from other local gun stores, or online gun stores too. While I don’t expect that this action will have any real impact on B&B’s bottom line, especially given the record pace of gun and ammo sales, as a matter of principle I just don’t wish to give them any more of my hard-earned money. I’ve written the store a letter to this effect.
I’m curious what everyone thinks. Do your local gun stores flatly refuse transfers, even when they don’t have the gun in stock, can’t say when they will get one in stock, and you’re willing to pay a hefty fee for the transfer? Would you be as irritated by a transfer refusal as I am?
Note: For those that don’t know, federal law prohibits a gun store from selling a gun online and shipping it directly to the buyer’s house. Instead, the gun must be transferred from the online gun store, to a local gun store (or other FFL holder), and then to the buyer. The local gun store often charges a fee of around $25 to perform this transfer, although I’ve seen fees as high as $150. What I’ve never seen is a flat out refusal, since doing so effectively prevents the buyer from getting the gun they really want, while also depriving the local gun store of any income from the transfer fee.
UPDATE: I received a letter from B&B, in response to the letter I sent to them. Basically B&B expressed regret that I was unhappy and would no longer frequent their store, but didn’t really seem interested in resolving the problem. While I appreciate the effort they took to reply to my letter, I don’t appreciate that both in person and in their letter, they were more concerned about the miniscule profit from selling a cheap rifle than keeping a customer happy – especially when that customer has spent $2,000 in 2 months, and for the other reasons I discussed above.
UPDATE 2: I found a local FFL who will perform transfers. More information here.