Whidbey Arms, the gun store opening at Ken’s Korner Mall this week, does not pose a new danger to the citizens of South Whidbey Island.
Owner Jim Childers appears to be a very competent person to be in charge of a gun store. He has respect for the weapons he sells, he knows the myriad laws governing gun sales and he’s properly obsessive about security. Motion detectors, cameras and off-site storage of images should provide plenty of footage for police if there is a break-in. As of Friday, a metal screen reinforced the front window.
What is missing is posts out front to stop someone from stealing a vehicle, smashing their way into the store, grabbing what they can and leaving in the same vehicle. It can happen here, as Linds Jewelry in Freeland learned only a few weeks ago. It should not be able to occur at a store that stocks guns. The Sheriff’s Department barely has the staff to keep one deputy on duty 24/7 on South Whidbey so we should not expect a quick response. Prevention is the key.
Aside from that point, anyone intent on doing harm locally would probably not shop locally. Childers won’t sell to any wild-eyed crazies, but other places will as long as they pass the background check.
Arguments about gun control are raging nationwide right now. There probably will be some tightening of gun laws, particularly with background checks. That’s OK, but it won’t stop gun violence.
The best remedy for gun violence is gun education. It’s been required for decades before a young person can get a hunting license at age 12. Gun clubs on the island do an excellent job of educating youth, men and women in how to safely handle a gun. Kids from gun owning families learn at a tender age to respect guns and handle them as if every gun is loaded. More education is the answer, not more hysteria.
Gun sales is a highly competitive business. In the present climate, just finding guns to sell is difficult. Whidbey Arms’ success will likely depend more on the accessories they sell, including clothing and camping gear, than on gun sales.
A new business is opening on South Whidbey. We’re betting Whidbey Arms will be a good neighbor and a good citizen