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article imageSan Francisco's last remaining gun store plans to close

By Nathan Salant     Oct 5, 2015 in Odd News
San Francisco - San Francisco's last gun store has announced plans to shut down at the end of the month, a victim of what it claims is too much regulation but appears more likely to be increased competition from big-box stores.
"It's with tremendous sadness and regret that I have to announce we are closing our shop," High Bridge Arms manager Steve Alcairo announced on the store's Facebook page, no doubt to the delight of anti-gun activists who protested outside the store regularly.
"It has been a long and difficult ride, but a great pleasure to be your last San Francisco gun shop," Alcairo said, according to the [url=http:// t=_blank]Associated Press.
Alcairo said he and building owner Andy Takahashi decided to close High Bridge Arms after a new, more-intrusive-than-ever gun sales ordinance was proposed by city Supervisor Mark Farrell.
San Francisco has approved several gun control ordinances since the murder of eight people in a downtown high rise in 1993 and the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.
"Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right; our customers shouldn't be treated like they're doing something wrong," Alcairo told the AP.
"I'm not doing that to our customers, enough is enough," he said.
But the store's announcement has inspired a torrent of sympathy and anger, and -- no doubt to the delight of Alcairo and Takahashi -- brick-and-mortar shoppers to the High Bridge Arms storefront on Mission Street.
New rifles and handguns have been disappearing from the store's walls and display cases, T-shirts touting the store as "The Last San Francisco Gun Store" in English and Chinese have been selling fast, too, the AP said.
But Alcairo said the store that survived years of growing local restrictions and seemingly relentless gentrification of the Bernal Heights neighborhood had met its match and would close on Oct. 31.
Farrell's' announcement in July of his proposal to require photo evidence of all gun sales and regular reports to police ended up slowing business over the summer so much, Alcairo said, that he had to lay off three clerks, even though the proposal still hasn't been approved yet.
The sales slump came even as gun sales across the state were rising, according to the California Department of Justice.
Gun sales by brick-and-mortar and online big-box and sporting goods retailers undoubtedly put a major dent in High Bridge's clientele.
Farrell told the AP that he introduced the bill to help police combat violent crime in the city.
"Anything that makes San Francisco safer, I support," he said.
Farrell also said he doesn't understand why the store would close now, before the bill even was voted on.
The California DOJ reported 931,000 guns were sold in the state last year— three times the number sold in 2004, the AP said.
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