The ‘fearful residents’ need some changes at the ballot box otherwise all is for naught.
Via USA Today:
The Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, site of the nation’s latest major deadly mass shooting, rests just north of a residential neighborhood in this normally placid California enclave.
The horror that erupted there late Wednesday night brought out Brandon Simone and his neighbor, Molly, who live in apartments down the street from the bar.
Molly, who asked that her last name not be used for her own safety, opened up her apartment and meager first-aid kit to survivors suffering broken bones, open gashes and mental anguish while they awaited medical treatment.
Following that sleepless night, Simone and Molly drove together three miles down the road to VC Defense, the only brick-and-mortar gun store in town.
Simone, 35, is a single father who previously vowed never to have a gun in the same home as his kid. But while his teenage son Ethan skateboarded outside, he asked the shop’s owner what he needed to do to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.
Molly filmed VC Defense’s handgun display with her phone and sent the video to her boyfriend, insisting that he immediately buy one.
For John Von Colln, VC Defense’s proprietor, the duo were among an unusually steady stream of customers that day. Many of them expressed the same sentiment: they had come to the gun store because no place feels safe anymore, and they felt ill-equipped to confront the next mass shooter or armed home invader.
There’s a documented phenomenon in America following mass shootings in which gun enthusiasts stream to dealers to buy up contested accessories like bump stocks before they are made illegal. Von Colln’s customers on Thursday didn’t appear to be those types, at least not during the couple of hours he allowed a reporter to hang out in his store and speak with customers.
They weren’t driven by a collector’s desire to hoard guns and accessories, but by raw fear.
Some were small business-owners suddenly feeling vulnerable. Many were first-time buyers suddenly seeking weapons for self-defense. Von Colln had to turn at least one customer away because he didn’t have proper paperwork fulfilling California’s stringent identification requirements.
A banker wearing business casual, designer glasses and a gold Rolex inquired about concealing a sidearm under a tucked-in dress shirt.
“I need more holsters because I am not going anywhere without my piece now,” he announced.
Asking only to be identified as John for his safety, the banker said his son was outside the bar during the shooting, and that two of his son’s friends were killed. His own fear, he said, is being caught unprepared at a mall targeted by another madman with a gun.
Von Colln’s salesman, a burly long-haired man in a black beanie who stood before a wall of rifles, counseled him on an ankle holster. If he ever found himself in a shoot-out at the mall, the banker could quickly unholster and unload while lying on his back.
Von Colln said he knew he was in for an unusual day at the office when he threw on his work outfit of a “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirt and cargo shorts Thursday morning, less than twelve hours after gunman Ian Long opened fire on the crowded bar. The crime scene just up the 101 Highway was still a chaotic carnival of law enforcement and media as several helicopters buzzed overhead.
A television reporter called to ask whether he had sold Long his weapon of mass murder. Von Colln found, to his relief, that a check of his database showed the former Marine had never been a customer.
Von Colln allows customers into his small gun shop by pushing a button which releases a heavy front gate. By noon Thursday, he could barely finish paperwork on a previous sale or bring out a new gun for a customer to handle before having to return to the button to let somebody else in.
As new customers cycled through the store, the constant chatter—besides general expressions of hatred for the shooter—was about the six unarmed, off-duty law enforcement officers who were reportedly at the bar during the shooting. Their lack of weapons was a presumed consequence of a California law barring firearms in bars.
“At least there could’ve been a chance” of preventing the shooting if they were armed, said Von Colln.