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"Trend Crimes" and the gun dealer.

Customers come to you every day out of fear. Fear of what they read in the newspaper. Fear of what they watch on the 11 o'clock news. Fear of the terrible acts of violence they see on the street. Your job, in no uncertain terms, is to sell them confidence in the form of steel and lead.

Don't assume all of your self-defense customers have the same fears, however. With almost constant input from the media, your customers are becoming increasingly aware of various "trend crimes"; and, unfortunately, so are the criminals. As customers search for security at your handgun counter, are you ready and able to speak intelligently about today's trend crimes? Do you have the merchandise those customers need to combat today's more-and-more inventive and desperate street criminals?

This month, Massad Ayoob explores the most recent trend crimes and explains how gun dealers can make their own communities safe places to live while increasing their self-defense customer traffic.

If you have been selling guns for a while, you have undoubtedly noticed that citizens who are afraid of crime and seeking to buy defensive firearms are somewhere between a "significant part" of your business and the majority of it.

The more you know of your customer's motivation, the better you can serve him with good product and good advice. This means that you want to stay on top of crime trends in your local area. That puts you a step ahead of the customer in making sure you've anticipated his (or, as is more often the case, her) needs, and have the answer that add up to immediate sale.

Are burglaries up? Increase your stock of safes in various sizes. Consider adding a line of alarms. And make sure you have a full selection of home defense firearms -- along with some reliable gun locks to keep burglars from utilizing stolen guns immediately.

Is the pattern in your area turning from burglaries of unoccupied residences to home invasions? The difference is, if the family or any member of it is at home when the criminal makes his illegal entry, it has gone from burglary to home invasion -- from theft of property to reasonably perceptible danger to life and limb -- and the price of crime just went up considerably.

A customer who lives in a region where home invasions are all over the newspapers wants gun security devices that give quick access to a loaded gun. An impulse of fear has sent that customer to your shop, so you want a quality product in stock to satisfy the customer's needs and complete the impulse purchase.

The same customer is afraid of a bullet going through the wall into the home next door or into their children's bedroom. Do you have in stock frangible bullets that offer major close-range impact shock while simultaneously reducing the danger of over penetration through walls? If not, stock some ThunderZap, Glaser Safety Slugs, and/or MagSafe ammo or similar rounds.

Crimes On the Street

In some cities, especially the warmer climes, a whole lot of folks are carrying their valuables in fanny packs. The pickpockets have learned to have partner number one bump into the selected victim from the front while partner number two comes up from behind and deftly unclips the fanny pack.

This is of even greater concern to your customers, who often have guns in their fanny packs. Do you offer a line like the current version of the product that started the whole trend, DeSantis' Gunny Sack, in which the attaching clip is on the front where the wearer can keep track of it and protect it?

(Your customers may not know about this trend. If not, tell them. It may mean an on-the-spot sale, if you have the product in inventory. Good for your profits, good for their safety and peace of mind.)

Crime Of The Year -- Carjacking

Carjacking is the trend crime of violence today. In almost all crimes, being alert and aware come far ahead of hardware in copping with the threat, but when that mental game plan is in place, and all other things are equal, equipment can make or break things when it comes down to the wire.

Does your gun-carrying customer who spends time in his car wear his sidearm strapped behind his hip? That and a lap/shoulder restraint, not to mention a bucket seat, can slow down access. Do you have a top-quality holster in stock that can be removed from the belt without unbuckling it, and discreetly positioned for cross draw? Does this customer have the body shape to allow for a shoulder holster, which is quickly accessible for a seated person?

Maybe that customer is a candidate for a whole second system: a backup system. A secondary hideout gun in an ankle holster is amazingly easy for a seated person to access quickly and discreetly. I mentioned this in an article a while ago, and recommended it for cops, whose duty guns are almost invariably on the strong-side hip while they're seat-belted into position in their "mobile office."

One police reader took it seriously, acquired the equipment, and practiced accordingly. The time came later when a man approached his cruiser as if to ask for directions, stuck a shotgun in his face, and pulled the trigger. Thanks to the ankle-holstered .38, the cop was able to blow his antagonist away before he could deliver the coup de grace. The officer is today a fully functional and only slightly disfigured survivor, and I hope, a satisfied customer. This is not true of his antagonist, who is where he belongs. I suspect that's the kind of after-sale results you're looking for, too.

Gunshop Trend Crimes

Don't neglect your own safety when looking at a crime trends. Gun shop thieves of late like to "crash and grab," driving a stolen pickup through the window and shoveling as many guns into the vehicle as possible before they figure the cops can respond. Some wise gun shop owners have installed tank-trap-like reinforced concrete pillars in front of their windows to forestall this criminal enterprise.

For gun thieves whose method of choice is walk into retail firearms establishments, shoot first, and steal guns later, 1992 was an especially popular year. We have discussed the arming and training of retail gun shop employees -- and outfitting them with concealed body armor -- in these pages before. Suffice to say that there's no longer any doubt that it's an idea whose time has come.

As a firearms retailer, you are the resident expert for thousands of people who trust your advice and the products you sell to keep them and their families safe and peaceful of mind. If you stay on top of the crime trends that worry them, you'll do the best possible job of answering their needs. They will respond by giving you repeat and referral business . . . and every now and then, you will become the means of innocent people's rescue, and the vehicle of Justice.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Lethal Force
Author:Ayoob, Massad
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:Blackpowder: the shooting industry's last frontier.
Next Article:The archery aisle.

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