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Maryland’s restrictive gun laws drive dealer to Pennsylvania to make a living
In two weeks, he will be shuttering his firearms business and reopening in Pennsylvania, a state he said is much more welcoming to a firearms dealer than Maryland.
Wearing khaki camouflage pants and a green shirt that offsets his salt-and-pepper goatee, Mr. Greer held up three thick papers. They are expired Maryland firearms dealer licenses and are useless in Waldorf, but Mr. Greer has plans for them in Pennsylvania.
“I’ll use these for target practice,” he said.
Leaving the town he has called home for 24 years wasn’t always in the cards for the 55-year-old businessman, but it became a reality this year when he saw the direction state lawmakers wanted to take on gun control.
The Firearm Safety Act of 2013, passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly in April, is one of the most sweeping gun control packages in the country. The legislative package adds 45 guns to a list of banned assault weapons, limits handgun magazines to 10 rounds, and requires gun buyers to submit their fingerprints and obtain handgun qualification licenses.
The laws take effect Oct. 1, which is also the cutoff date for grandfathering firearms applications and purchases.
Mr. Greer trails off when he considers the impact of the laws and the resulting rush for gun purchases caused by the new rules.
“Not every store is in the same situation I am, but for a small-business guy like me. Once the bill went through the House and Senate and looked like it was actually going to pass, I saw that it was going to be impossible to make a living.”
For the past four years, Angus MacGregor’s Trading Post has kept a steady business selling firearms, accessories and ammunition from a two-story reconverted home in Waldorf. Until Saturday, the last day to buy guns from Mr. Greer's Maryland store, the store’s gun room displayed an array of rifles and handguns.
On the opposite side of the house is a much smaller collection of model-train supplies, remnants of Mr. Greer’s original idea for a hobby store which opened 11 years ago.
“I did surprisingly well,” he said, adding that the tanking economy also brought bad times to the hobby market.
Forced to look for another source of income, Mr. Greer drew from a childhood interest. While growing up in Ithaca, N.Y., he collected guns from the Ithaca Gun Co. and knew there was room for another dealer in the Waldorf firearms market.
“I thought if I got my federal firearms license, it might help the business,” Mr. Greer said. “It worked. People were so happy to have another choice in town to buy guns. It was a welcome addition to the town.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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