Jonathan Estet knows a lot about boats and a little about guns.
But as Americans flock to gun stores fearing the federal government will toughen restrictions on firearms, Estet decided to expand the products sold at his boat store in Mooresville.
For the past few weeks, Estet and his business partner have been running a tiny ad in the classified section of the Observer: “GUNS CHEAP ANY GUN ANY DAY COST + $50.”
And Estet, who is part owner of Boater’s Warehouse on Brawley School Road and a new entrant to the gun business, said he is fielding 30 calls a day from the advertisement.
He doesn’t keep guns in the store; buyers thumb through a catalogue or call with the type of gun they want. After the necessary background checks, the store orders and delivers the guns, Estet said.
In the three weeks the business has had its federal firearms license, Estet said, he’s sold 10 guns.
“We could have sold tons more,” he said. “It’s just that we can’t supply them to the customers because our warehouse ran out.”
Other local gun stores reported skyrocketing sales last week, after President Barack Obama announced an aggressive gun-control plan.
Larry Hyatt said December was the busiest month in the 59-year history of his gun store on Wilkinson Boulevard. David Drummond, who owns Carolina Sporting Arms on South Boulevard, said business has been so busy that he can’t keep his shelves fully stocked.
“Our store looks like it’s been robbed,” he said.
In Mooresville, Estet and his business partner decided to get into the gun business after Obama was re-elected. Gun purchases usually rise after the election of a president who is expected to be tough on gun control.
They applied for a federal firearms license, which authorizes them to sell guns and allows them to run background checks on a federal database.
As their application was pending, Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at a school in Newtown, Conn. In a memorial service after the shooting, Obama said he’d take action to strengthen gun laws, and gun sales took off.
Estet said it’s lucrative but delicate territory, especially for his longtime customers.
“There are a lot of people out there that are for guns, a lot of people that are against guns. Once we explain to them that we don’t keep guns in the store, they’re more comfortable with it.”