About This Episode
In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Cheryl & Danny Todd of AZFirearms to discuss their unique online auction platform, AZFirearms has become a pioneer in the buying and selling of firearms, ammunition, and accessories. Join Join us as we explore the future of the online firearms market and the impact of AZFirearms on the industry.
Insights In This Episode
- Selling firearms through traditional methods like gun shops or private buyers can be limiting.
- Online auction platforms offer a wider reach and allow thousands of potential buyers to determine the price.
- Being a federal firearms licensee allows for the legal transportation of firearms across state borders.
- In states with changing firearms laws like California, auctions can help legally transfer and sell firearms.
- Auctions attract buyers through competitive bidding, often leading to higher prices for sellers.
Cheryl & Danny Todd : AZFirearms
Cheryl & Danny Todd have been self-employed since they got married in April 1985. They have owned and operated various businesses together, including a Slot Machine Resale Shop, an Ice Cream & Sandwich Boutique, a Mailbox & Shipping Store, a Baseball Card Store, and currently a Gun Store and an Auction House. Danny and his wife consider themselves both students and teachers in the business world, valuing the lessons they have learned from each venture and sharing their experiences with others. If you’re interested in guns and auctions, they invite you to visit their websites.
Featured on the Show
About Tactical Entrepreneur
Tactical Entrepreneur is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.
Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry. Let’s get after it. Welcome to the Tactical Business Podcast. I’m your host, Wade Skalsky, and today I have the privilege of talking with Dan and Cheryl Todd. We’re going to be discussing the ever evolving world of firearms sales. And they’re with AZFirearms, it has emerged as a trailblazer, offering a unique platform for buying and selling firearms, ammo and accessories through online auctions and consignments. Their website is AZFirearms auctions.com. Cheryl. Dan, how are you guys doing?
Charyl: So good. Thank you so much for having us.
Dan: Yes, thanks for letting us share some info.
Wade: Absolutely. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with a consignment based online auction model, why don’t you walk me through a little bit of what that means and how that works?
Dan: Well, wait, it’s a great way to to get rid of your collection or to buy because there’s so much to start with. But let’s just start. Let’s say you have a collection of guns. One of your parents passed away, and they want you to sell the guns. You can go and gun shops, or you can have somebody come to your house and look at your guns, and they’ll make you an offer, and you’ll either take it or you’ll wait for another guy, and eventually you’ll end up selling the guns. Or you also have your friends that come by and say, oh, he wanted me to have this gun, blah blah, blah. But anyway, what better way to do it than to put it in front of thousands of people and let them determine the price of the gun? I used to go travel around, buy guns from people, their estates, and then I learned that I’m doing them a disservice because if I estimate what a gun’s worth, so I’m going to buy it based on that price. If it sells for more money, they lose money. So why not just team up as a partner with them? We’ll sell your guns for you. We’ll take our percentage and you’ll get top dollar for your guns.
Wade: And I think two is like a lot of times when people are selling a collection of guns. Like you said, if there’s a death in the family or if it’s through an estate, it’s a very emotional time for them. And trying to go through negotiation with somebody, they’re not going to be in the right place. They’re not necessarily going to get the right amounts for what the guns are worth.
Dan: That is true. And there’s a part of that that I really changed my attitude years ago is that these people don’t know what to do. And they’re like desperate. They need help, they’re weak, they need help. They need advice. So again, rather than make an offer to buy their guns, go through a consignment, go to auction and you’ll get more money for the guns. Absolutely.
Charyl: We provide a service. And the other thing about the auction platform is it’s recognized by the courts. If you have family members that are haggling over, because that happens more often than you might think, they both 2 or 3 people maybe want the same item. Well, if it goes through auction, it levels that playing field. Whoever ends up buying it back from the estate, the courts will recognize that as a bona fide way to settle out an estate. The other thing is that with us being federal firearms licensees, especially bordering the state of California, where their laws are changing in real time, we have people that end up being disenfranchised out of their collection or out of their inheritance of these firearms, because they’ve suddenly the guns themselves have become something that’s illegal to own.
Dan: In California.
Charyl: In California. So we can go into California. We have a federal license. We can take possession of those. The minute we’ve taken possession. The family can breathe easy. They can relax. We will bring them back to Arizona, sell them through legally, sell them through the auction, and then the family is sent a check and they can move forward from there.
Dan: And also there’s times when the family, somebody wants a gun in the family, but they are not legally allowed to own the gun. That’s true. So when they transfer a gun to one of those family members, they are committing a felony. So this is just the safest way to go.
Wade: I’m a California refugee, so I live in California for 16 years. And so where I live now in Virginia, it’s a much more Second Amendment to a friendly state. But I’m also a lawyer, and I can tell you is even I sometimes get confused as to what’s legal and what’s not legal, because the people that are writing, when they’re changing the laws, when they’re writing them, they’re not really especially like in, say, California, for example, a lot of the people in the legislature have no clue about the Second Amendment. They have no clue about guns and firearms in general. And so they can write these laws that that confuse pretty much everyone. So it is a very safe, let’s get this out of our hands and into someone who in every state is allowed to have it legally and just go from there. I think another really interesting thing to unpack, too, is that you may have a spouse that was very into guns and pro guns, is very skilled with them. But then you have the the other spouse is not. So again, it’s basically from what you’re telling me, it seems like you get instant expertise, right? So it’s like I’m going to be able to give these guns to someone who was going to know what to do with them. They’re going to know how to handle them. They’re going to know how to store them. It’s 100% legal and don’t have to worry about it. Is that a fair way to say it?
Dan: And we just did an estate. About a month ago that was 50 guns and a ton of ammo that the people were actually calling the sheriff’s department to come and take the guns out of the house to give them to him. It got intercepted by a friend of mine that said, hey, no, you need to call Gold Auctions, let them talk to you. So I went and talked to them. They gave me all their guns to sell. They’re probably going to get 20 grand that they would have just gave away because they were afraid they didn’t know what to do. How do you get rid of guns when you don’t know anything about guns? There’s so many people that are afraid to even take the chance. So we take the guns. They everybody has to do a 44, 73 or they go to another FFL dealer. So you take the risk out of your life. Yeah.
Charyl: Firearms, ammunition, accessories. Those can be a huge and significant portion of a person’s estate. And that’s just something to keep in mind. And that’s not the only reason that we sell guns. It’s not just everybody is passing away and passing their guns forward, but this is something that does come up and people just feel like I have no idea what to do with dad’s guns or my husband’s guns or my wife’s gun collection. So just wanted to be sure we laid that groundwork for that.
Wade: If someone wanted to put just one gun on consignment, let’s say that I had a collection of guns and I was like, okay, I’ve got this old Glock that I’ve had for a long time, and I’m moving over to getting a new one and like a Gen five and, and then can I just do one gun on consignment, or is it something where you have to do a lot of them?
Dan: You can, but usually the rates change. The more guns you have, the lower our percentage is for taking the gun, because there’s a lot of work on our side too. It’s not just we take your guns and we sell them. We we list them, we check them out, we list them. We make sure that they go to the right people, that kind of thing. So. Well.
Wade: And I think the other thing too, is that there’s the advantage that there’s an auction model takes into account what’s happening in the real world, right? So if there’s a shortage in something, then it’s going to be reflected in the auction versus where you’re just trying to look at something and say, oh, we bought this gun for X number of dollars. For whatever reason. Now it’s hard to get the auction. People are going to respond with the proper amount of money for that. In that situation, it’s more responsive to what the real value of the weapon or the ammo is.
Charyl: Exactly. When we had our retail gun shop, which was a wonderful experience, but we would set a price on something. And then of course, everybody wants to negotiate it down at the auction. Everybody’s negotiating it up because it’s a competitive buying model.
Wade: Do you think that more retailers are going to go into a consignment model? What were some of the challenges that you guys faced in switching from a retail to a consignment model auction model?
Dan: Well, we’ve been doing this for about 18 years. I say 20, but my daughter says 18. But we started with a gun shop, an auction house. Together. We did both and we had a retail store, and then we also had the auction house in the same building. And it was a great combo because if a customer came in and had 50 guns, we could take care of them. Whereas an average gun shop, they might buy 2 or 3 of a collection, but they can’t buy the whole collection. So our consignment for auction. So it just morphed into that. And the retail, if we’re going to go into why I got out of the retail business as far as over the counter gun sales is the regulations and the just the paperwork, it just got ridiculous. My last audit that I had with ATF was 30 days. My normal audit is three days. When Biden came into office, my audit was 30 days for the.
Wade: Auction side or for the retail side.
Dan: Well, it was both at the time. It was both.
Charyl: Right. We’ll still be subject to ATF audits, but there’ll be a much smaller amount of paperwork they can go through because we aren’t doing the retail every single day, selling so many guns to the public. The other thing that I wanted to touch back on when you said, do you think that other retailers are going to go to the consignment route, so there’s consignment to a retail entity and then there’s consignment to an auction house. Do I think that a bunch of people are going to run and start doing training, changing their business into an auction? I don’t, because it is a completely different business model, and we just happen to have the advantage of having run both businesses consecutively at the same time. So it was a super easy transition for us. But I will say this, that to consign guns to a retail entity. If you’re the consignor, first of all, you want to be sure that person is solid, that they’re not going to close up shop and take off with your stuff, or they don’t have any audit issues, that sort of thing. But if it’s a good, solid store, that is a very good way to go with your item. Now, if you’re the retail owner, the store owner, I would say that if you aren’t working in the secondary market, it’s going to be really hard for you to keep the lights on. There is such a small markup in the retail industry for firearms. If all you’re selling is the latest, greatest, whatever.
Dan: Market’s not high enough to support a business.
Charyl: And so if you are attracting people to bring in their secondary market items, that is where really the key is. So it is a win for both sides. And we did very well with that.
Wade: And it expands your market too. Right. Because it’s not you’re in you’re located in the southwest. But you can on consignment. You can take a gun anywhere in the country. Is that true. Right. Okay.
Dan: Can receive a gun anywhere in the country. Yes.
Wade: And but I mean, so do they have to actually physically transport the gun to you for you to put it on consignment or to auction it?
Dan: It is not against the law to send a gun to an FFL dealer. And yes.
Charyl: They do have to send it physically to us.
Dan: Yeah, unless I go pick them up or whatever. Yeah.
Wade: Yeah. You have to have the gun in possession to be able to sell it.
Dan: Oh yeah. Definitely. Yeah. Definitely have to have the gun in. Yeah.
Charyl: And so Dan’s like so so let’s see. Are you near an ocean a casino or Disneyland. Yeah. Yes I will come pick up the gun for you. If you’re in the middle of a desert in Texas, maybe ship it.
Wade: Yeah, you can write it off as a trip. Right. So.
Dan: But but if it’s a large collection. We’ve gone to Texas. I’ve been to San Francisco for a large order of guns, so we’ll travel for it if it warrants the again, we might just give you advice as how you could sell it in your state.
Wade: So so and so let’s let me that’s a good time to talk about get a little granular on it and talk about specifics like, let’s say that I had a collection of guns. Let’s say I had 20 guns, right. What is the process for me in terms of reach out? Like obviously I would reach out to you. What is the process look like? How long does it take? How do you assess your fees? How does it all work?
Dan: Well, the fees are determined on how much work we have to do and how the higher quality your guns are. Of course, the fees are going to be less, but so basically somebody calls me and says, hey, I’ve got some guns I want to get rid of. We screen them and ask them how many guns they have and what information they have. Then we’ll either have them come to us or we’ll go to them. If it’s a large collection, I’d be happy to come to them. And we’ve flown places to go and look at our collection too. But it just depends. We want to make sure they’re we’ll go through the process. We ask them to research our company, make sure that this is a good fit, and then we’ll come out.
Charyl: Absolutely. And the best way to reach us is really email. You can send anything to auctions at Pot of Gold Estate.com or our phone number is (623) 935-9907. We have firearms experts on staff but other things as well. Usually if you have guns, you also maybe have coins and jewelry and all the other things that we sell through pot of gold estate auctions. So we are a one stop shop, full service option for people.
Dan: So when they call us, we look at the guns and we explain to them the process depending on the time of the year. But I’ll say, okay, I can put these guns in an auction in a month and a half. We do that and we sell the guns. And then 5 to 10 days later they have a check in their hand. We don’t hold their money, I don’t some auction companies charge. They’ll hold it for 45 days. And we don’t so want to get them their money. That’s what they called us for because they needed to sell their guns so don’t like to hold it. But there is a time when we pick up the guns. There is a time it takes to get them listed, and we want them to be on the internet, to boil to where people can see them there. There’s some auction houses that take your guns on Tuesday and sell them on Friday. It’s a terrible way to go because you’re not getting enough people looking at them. So yeah.
Wade: It seems like there’s a little bit of an art to it in terms of kind of you can’t create demand for an item that people don’t know about.
Dan: Right? It is an art. And I’ll tell you the biggest struggle, okay, I want to make my buyer. I want to make my consignors happy. Right. You want to get them the most money you can. We also want to make our buyers happy because if they’re not getting deals, they’re not going to buy. So how do we do that? The best thing to do is give them as much information on the gun as possible. I have two photographers that take excellent pictures. You can grade the coin by looking at the pictures and that’s important because if our buyers are deceived, then they won’t buy any more. So we try to be as accurate as possible.
Charyl: Absolutely. And we have an auction almost every Tuesday of the year and everything is done online. After Covid, we were forced away from the live in person. We used to have two auctioneers, first and third Tuesday of the month, and they were doing their little chant and everything, and it was a great gathering and we loved it. We never really wanted to go to the online only format, but once we did it, we realized that it actually decreased our overhead. And somehow it doesn’t make sense to me how it expanded our audience. Unless it was, everybody was going online all at the same time. And so people realize that you can’t congregate anymore. If you liked the auction style, that maybe more people found us that way. But almost every single Tuesday night, our auctions go live at 6 p.m. they run straight through until the last bid comes through the system. And we have every year we have our big annual militaria and gun auction, and it is the first Monday of every December, which this particular year happens to be December 4th, which is my.
Wade: Birthday in advance.
Charyl: Happy birthday to me. We’ll be having an amazing auction, and we’ve got some really cool items in that that people don’t want to miss out on. Now, this is the year 2023. I know when we’re recording a podcast, somebody could come on this a year from now and be looking for that December 4th auction that would have already passed. So it’ll be the.
Wade: First Monday of every December, though you have that special auction?
Wade: Sometimes people, a gun store can be very intimidating, right? Sometimes they’re attached to a range and they’re noisy and like, my range has a gigantic gun store to it. And it’s all sorts of people are walking around armed and military, and there’s all sorts of guns and noises. And if you’re new to guns, it can be it can be intimidating. Right? So one of the advantages of shopping online in an auction is you’re getting a good deal, but at the same time, too, is that you can just do it in your pajamas, right? That being said, is what steps can you do? You take that you can tell people, hey, look, this is how we’re compliant. This is how it’s legal. This is how you can take possession of it. And this is how we would do any kind of check that is required for wherever you are. Can you walk us through how you ensure that happens?
Dan: Before I do that? Wait, I have to comment on what you just said because I had probably the biggest gun shop in Arizona. My biggest fear was walking into another gun shop.
Dan: Yeah, even with the experience, I’ve been around guns all my life, and I think it’s part of is that and I don’t think it’s happening as much anymore. But in the old days, you go into a gun shop and they tell you what you want, they tell you how they do it and it’s changing now. You used to go, I’m going to go buy my wife a gun. Now you don’t do that. Oh my gosh, you don’t do that. You take your wife or your wife goes by herself or whatever, and she picks the gun out and buys it. She goes out and shoot, makes sure that it fits her. So I think that’s changing because even me, in the old days, in the 1970s, I had a gun shop and I’m embarrassed on how we did it, but everybody did it that way. Yeah, we’re the experts, not you. You don’t know nothing about guns. But see, that’s changing. So that’s good. It is important that the buyer of a gun knows that they can legally own that type of gun in their state. It is their responsibility to find out. However, they can go to their local gun shop and say, hey, I’m thinking about buying this gun, blah, blah, blah. Or they can call us and we can try to help. Although we can’t keep up with counties and cities and states enough. So what we do, the gun’s going to ship to their state once in a while. They can’t accept the gun because the gun shop says, hey, we can’t sell this kind of gun here. There is. Things that happen, but I encourage people to be aware of where they live and what they’re buying, and make sure that it’s legal for them to own it there. There are still people that think they can buy a gun in the mail and have it shipped to their house. So even today, now they think that they can just buy a gun at auction and it goes right to their house.
Charyl: President that was telling him that’s how it worked for a while. So that’s one of the reasons that we now have a podcast so we can educate people on how it really is done. So let’s say that I live in Kentucky, let’s just pick a state and I’m buying something through AZ firearms auctions, dot com or auctions.com. And it’s a firearm and it needs to be papered. Well I’m going to go to my local gun shop, ask them if they will be my transfer agent or call them on the phone. Do you accept transfers? They’ll say yes. And here’s the fee. There’s generally some kind of a paperwork fee. It’s nominal. What? Usually 15 bucks, something like that. And so then that FFL, that gun shop will notify us that they will be the transfer agent. So when that sale happens, that successful auction is closed. The buyer pays us. We ship from dealer to dealer. The buyer goes into his local gun shop, does the paperwork, gets the proceed from the ATF, from the 44 to 73 and off they go. And it’s perfectly simple. It’s perfectly legal and really pretty hassle free.
Wade: The other cool thing about that process is that because again, online is you can watch an auction, I’m assuming, and not have to participate, right. So you can log on, you can look at the auction, you can see how it goes, and you can say, okay, well, I like this gun. There’s this gun. And then you start to focus on one. And there’s always good to have in the gun world. And we were talking about this off camera. Is that very few places you can go as a stranger and meet more friendly people than a gun store or a gun range, honestly. And so it’s in everyone’s best interest to have a relationship with a gun shop or a gun range somewhere close to them, because it will obviously, you’re going to get a gun, you’re going to want to have it shipped to that place, and they can help you and be a team with you guys. Is that a fair assessment?
Dan: It is. And we have many repeat customers that go to the same FFL every time. If you can’t have a relationship with your local gun shop, then find another gun shop because they’re relational player.
Wade: Yeah. I mean it’s it’s a it’s more than just a transaction. Right. Because there are all the legalities that are involved. There’s the social pressures that are occurring right now. And so I think it’s really you guys provide a great opportunity because the other thing too is a brick and mortar gun store. It’s impossible for it to have everything. So if you’re going to order something, why not order it from like a at to take advantage of a consignment or an option, going to some giant big box store and ordering it from like Cabela’s or something because your local gun store is not going to have everything, especially if you’re looking for. Do you guys do like a lot of antiques and specialty kind of guns?
Dan: We did when we started our gun shop 20, 18 years ago. We had 100 guns. When we decided to get out of the retail business, we had 2000 and most all of my guns were. I loved the used guns, the military collector guns more than anything else, and we had quite a collection.
Charyl: We still sell quite a few antiques. With that first Monday of December auction, our military and gun auction, this one coming up, the number one, the very first item is a super cool item. It is a papered for your audience who don’t know what papered means. Back in World War Two, people could bring home war trophies, for lack of a better word, captured items, and then you would go through a process and get the capture papers and those have stayed. When you have the item, you have the capture papers. Sometimes you have like the leather holster they were in. Every layer of that adds to the history of the item itself and increases the collectibility and the value. And we have a mauser, a German broomhandle with capture papers.
Dan: And holster.
Charyl: And holster.
Dan: So it’s the way he captured the gun back in World War two.
Charyl: And we have something that is very rare. I’m having to read off the paper because I don’t want to get the words wrong, but a XFC 55 now, there was only 5000 of those even made. And we have one of them in that auction coming up. And it is a super high end Swiss sniper rifle. And when I was writing my notes, I was instructed to emphasize super high end.
Dan: 18 years that I’ve had the gun shop, I think I’ve had one K43 German rifle, eight millimeter semiautomatic rifle. We have two in this auction. Weirdest thing. And they came from two different people. So to answer your question, yes, the collector guns, we had plenty. And I don’t think a person can make it in a gun shop with. They don’t make trades and they don’t carry used guns just because.
Wade: The margins are so small on retail.
Charyl: And something else. We always have these complimentary items. So it is a military auction as well that we’re talking about that first one in December 4th, 2023. And we have a whole collection of flight helmets from World War two to modern era. And those are fun and interesting and decorative and historical and no paperwork required.
Wade: Yeah, because they’re just a helmet, but with a lot of history behind it. This episode is brought to you by TacticalPay.com. Every few years, it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses, and so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry, or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH, debit and credit card processing, visit TacticalPay.com. Again, that’s TacticalPay.com. That is one way that you can generate interest for other items in the auction as well, so that one of your strategies basically where you’re like, okay, so we’ve got these really high interest items that we’re going to attract some people, but people are showing up to the auction ready to buy, but not everyone can buy that Swiss sniper rifle. So one person gets that. But then the people that don’t buy it, well, I still have some money to spend that helps. Is that one of the strategies that you use to help generate interest for the other items that you have in the auction?
Dan: I do, I do, and in fact, I’ll tell you personally, when I was collecting guns, I don’t collect guns like that anymore, but I collect coin operated amusement devices. But anyway, when I was collecting guns and I’d go to an auction and they’d have a gun that I really want, okay, I mean, I just I’m going to buy that gun and I would buy it, and then I would look for sleepers to help pay for the over amount that I paid for the gun, that all I had to do is wait a year and it’d be up to that value anyway, that’s a funny thing, but I’ve done that several times because when you see one of a kind gun, if you don’t buy it, you lose it.
Charyl: I love that, honey. I spent way too much money on this item. But the good news is I spent more money on other stuff.
Wade: Yeah, well, when he said he went like this, he went, I don’t collect guns anymore. And. But I do coin operated. Whatever. So it’s he’s wanting to make sure you knew he’s not collecting guns still, but he is collecting them for the business, which is totally acceptable.
Charyl: You got it.
Wade: How long have you guys been married?
Dan: Oh, my gosh, there was a.
Charyl: Let’s see If he gets it.
Dan: Right, the dinosaurs were.
Dan: 38 years. It’ll be 39 in April. Yeah, just we just.
Wade: My wife and I just hit 14, 14 years together, so 11 married. But but have all married people have that look where they’re like that. So.
Dan: But you know Cheryl, I’ve been married 38 years, but we’ve worked side by side those 38 years.
Charyl: So we say we should get double And then people will be like, you guys look amazing for being married like 180 years.
Dan: Yeah, it’s tough when you’re running a business and you got two different ideas out there. But you know, we’ve had some conversations, but we what? We grew from it. We grew stronger. Some people were drift apart, but we stayed together with it. And I can’t do anything without her, I just can’t.
Wade: Well, and I think one thing that you guys do have is that you have a very interesting business that you run together, right? Yeah. It’s you have two different sides of the coin. One side of the coin is the excitement side, which is, oh my God, we have this, this Swiss sniper rifle that there’s only 5000 these made. And you can talk about that. And that’s exciting. But then there’s the other side where there’s this fluid compliance all the time. So there’s it’s never a stat. Your business is never static. And so I think that’s that probably helps to be able to keep it a little bit more exciting. How do you stay abreast of all the issues though? Because like we talked about before, the changing laws to make sure that the ATF issues a new president comes in. So you’re going to have a totally different view of how they view firearms and its enforcement. Is it just something just because it’s a passion or how do you stay abreast of everything?
Dan: Well, in any business you have to you look for the information, check on the ATF files. I listen to the news. I don’t care what kind of business you own, but especially in the firearm business, if you’re not thinking about how to stay on top, you’re going to lose. I talked to a gentleman not too long ago that he got. He started a gun shop. It was his passion to have a gun shop. After about a year of it, he’s going to cry. He’s done so many things wrong. He hadn’t got caught yet, but he’s done so many things wrong and he doesn’t know what to do. And it’s hard. You have to know if you’re going to sell guns. You have to know what you can and can’t do because they’re looking for you. Especially now with the president that we have now. They’re looking for a stupid mistake. If you don’t put Avenue instead of a, there was a time they were going after you for that, and somebody finally figured out that it’s illegal abbreviation. So you can’t. But they would still go after you. And the problem with the gun business is, okay. So I started out with just me and another guy that would help me. Then it comes down. We have 14 people at one time, and as a business owner, you have to be in that store every minute that it’s open. You cannot leave because the minute you leave, somebody does something wrong and guess who’s at fault for that? If you if a person makes a mistake on a 4473, who gets in trouble, the owner of the store, the one that’s on that license. And it’s so hard because it’s like I had an auction to run. I had the gun shop to run, and I couldn’t be there all the time because I’d go out and pick up guns or whatever. You find mistakes and we’re human. We make mistakes. But if you’re going to open a gun shop, you need to be there and you need to check everything.
Charyl: It is a huge responsibility.
Wade: It just brings us back to the advantage of using you guys as a service because you have the institutional. Personal knowledge
Wade: The growth from when you open the shop, like you said in the 70s, right? Is that what you said is when your first.
Dan: I had my first was in the 70s? Yes.
Charyl: This particular one is about 20 years old.
Wade: In the industry, you started selling guns a long time ago. And so.
Wade: Yeah. Well, I’m 51, so I got a shotgun for my 12th birthday because I was grew up in North Dakota, but it was a different time back then where you could just I could probably have walked into the store and bought it myself. As a 12 year old.
Dan: I was selling guns when I was 16 at a gun show.
Wade: But the advantage of that, though, is that you’ve seen how the compliance issues have changed. You’ve experienced them, and so they’re internalized. It’s not something where you have to go look at a book, or what the red flags are or what the problems are. And so when you’re helping someone to to put something on consignment because different guns and people don’t understand, this is like different guns have different regulations, so.
Dan: Oh you bet.
Wade: So let’s say that someone has a machine gun, right? So like you can have a machine gun with the proper paperwork, but it’s pretty complicated. You know what I’m saying? It’s like so, so, but the person that doesn’t those are very thorny issues to walk through. And for you guys the issues like that. Right. Go ahead.
Dan: Well, when I had the license I had the license to manufacture and make machine guns. So I had destructive device, I could do cannons. We had two 105 howitzer cannons in our store, 50 machine guns, well, probably 100 machine guns. We had a lot. And to manufacture a machine gun, you basically better know what you’re doing. But I’m going to give a heads up to the NSF. They are very good at helping people understand the laws. There’s so much information. If you own a gun shop, you should be a member of the NSF.
Charyl: It’s the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Dan: Right, Because they really can help you. And then the other thing is know your ATF agents work with them. They’re not all perfect, but there is a lot of good guys out there that would help me when I had a situation that I wasn’t understanding. And you have to be careful with that too, because everybody has a different opinion. But the top one is I have several other manufacturers that I used to meet at the gun shows and the shot show, and we would talk about certain circumstances and how to do things. So I learned a lot from that. But you do have to stay on top of it because the laws do change, especially with the manufacturing.
Charyl: Yeah, but your point is well taken, Wade, that with a longevity like we’ve had in a particular business, that there is that institutional knowledge. That is it would take forever to start at zero and start learning. Now, as the gentleman that Danny was talking about, his dream turned into a nightmare in a big hurry because he was trying to learn as he went, and he really needed to have a better understanding of the laws and the regulations of his state before he opened that door.
Wade: Yeah, well, but the theme is the same is that you guys talked about too, though, is that over time you said, hey, a business just isn’t going to make it. If you can’t get a relationship with your gun store, you need to find it for a gun store, right? Because it’s not this business. Firearms are not transactional. Everyone thinks that firearms are always transactional and they’re actually not meant to be transactional. It’s a relationship business. And so like you’re talking about have a relationship with you’re going to see the ATF agents all the time because they’re going to come by for a compliance check. So the ATF is not a monolith. You know what I mean? Like it’s comprised of human beings. And there all some of them, they’re all trying to do what they think is the best thing to do. And that’s the beautiful part about your guys’s service, is that you can have a relationship with an auction service, right? It’s like it’s just even a relationship just means that you have two people that know each other, and you show up and you it and check it out and you come back and it’s great. And so the institutional knowledge that you guys have, coupled with your relational approach, I think, is why you guys have a lot of loyalty to people that get to experience what you guys do. Where do you see the industry going in the next 5 to 10 years? Do you see it staying the same? Do you see it getting more restrictive? What do you guys think? What is your view on that?
Dan: Okay, that’s a simple question. It depends on how our political situation is. If you know, that has a lot I mean that has everything to do with it. Politics have everything to do with it. There are politicians that want us to be able to be free and enjoy our Second Amendment, and there’s others that want to take it away from us. And as long as we have that threat, I would personally allow any of my friends to own a gun shop if I could stop them from doing it just because of the rewards you get for all the work you do is very low. Unless you have an issue, unless you have something that can like doing the auctions, things like that. But I am worried about the industry right now, especially because it seems like everybody, there’s people out there that are giving it a bad name.
Charyl: So let me weigh in on that. If I could Wade, first of all, the Second Amendment itself is a nonpolitical issue, right? It’s in our Bill of rights that is written for everyone, but we have allowed it. We the people have allowed it to become a political football. And so that’s why what Danny said is so true, that who you elect, who you vote for, their. Opinions have actually come to outweigh what our Founding fathers put down to codify into law our God given rights to keep and bear arms. So we do have to be involved and aware politically. Now, as loud as the voice against our gun rights seems to be, it feels like it’s just this never ending megaphone that certain people have out there to say, guns are bad. If you own guns, you’re bad. And if you sell guns, well, you’re the purveyor of death, so you’re the worst. If you just look at what’s happened over the last few years, we now have more than half of our states in the United States. I think we’re at 27 now. If I’m not misquoting that 27 states now have constitutional carry, that is saying I don’t have to ask somebody’s permission. And Arizona was one of the first.
Charyl: We were the first or one of the first to get that. Don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to keep and bear the tool of self-defense that best fits my life, the tool of hunting that best fits where I’m going hunting and what I’m hunting for. The tool of recreation. If I’m taking my kids out and going, plinking and instilling those values, and that those empowering them with knowledge, those things are very powerful. And the fact that at the same time that we’ve had these loud voices saying, guns are bad and we need to do away with the Second Amendment, more states are adopting something that is a it’s actually flying in the face of this permission based system. It’s very encouraging. And the more states that get tells you there’s an interest, and if there’s an interest, there’s going to be people who want to buy tools. Buying guns is a lot like speaking for a lady who likes to accessorize. It’s like buying shoes. One pair of shoes is not going to cut it. I multiple shoes for multiple different purposes, and guns seem to find their way into that place where, you know, you just want more.
Wade: Like tattoos don’t have any tattoos, but like people that get tattoos, they can’t just get one right. Because once you have one, you get more. But I agree with you, Charyl, on two things for sure is that the political side is I think people need to understand it’s not just the governor, and it’s not just the president of the United States or the senators. It’s your state senators. It’s your sheriff, like your local sheriff. If you look at the history, your local sheriff can be a bulwark for the Second Amendment against infringement. And then the second thing I think that I’m experiencing, and I don’t know if you guys are seeing this as an uptick of people participating in these auctions or the type of people that are participating. And these may be anecdotal. Maybe you can share some of this with me. Is that more normal people are coming to guns as the society starts to wobble a little, was because it used to be very easy to be against guns. When nothing ever happened in your neighborhood, nothing ever happened to you. Nothing ever happened to your friends. We lived in one of the safest places in the world. It’s very easy to say, don’t need it. We had an armed robber. I live in a very nice neighborhood, and we had an armed robber rob a store a few blocks from my house and run into the neighbor. We had reports of the person running the neighborhood armed with a gun, just running around on foot. So as a father of two kids, like, what am I supposed to do in that situation? Am I supposed to get a stick? Yeah. And so more of those things start to happen. You get a lot more nontraditional people becoming more pro gun than you would expect. Are you guys seeing more? And by nontraditional, I mean by people, maybe people that you wouldn’t normally expect to buy a gun like a more liberal person or a more or more more women.
Dan: Well, well, exactly. The biggest sign was Covid. Covid changed everything. But let me tell you why. I think the firearm industry is going to be saved. And the reason why it is, is because of women. You take back women in the 70s a woman did not walk into a gun shop. Rarely it was just a non-issue. If we figured out why they didn’t and fix that back then. We wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in right now. The women are changing the industry. The women are going to make it where we can have firearms because they’re good at what they do. They’re good at marketing, they’re good at socializing with other people. And if you look back last 15, 20 years, women are changing it. Go to the shot show. Now, it’s not just girls in bathing suits trying to sell you a gun. It is women that are emotionally just love guns. So that is going to save us.
Charyl: And so that’s that kind of nontraditional piece that you were talking about is that more women than ever are coming into this space and realizing that the sign behind me says, I am my own first responder. I don’t know if you can see it, but the teal sign there for it’s a women for Gun Rights. I’m the Arizona State director for that organization. So women are more and more realizing I mean, think of how many single moms are out there. And when you talked about you’ve got some mad Men running through your neighborhood, somebody that used a firearm incorrectly to obtain somebody else’s property. Well, you don’t know what this person might be capable of, and you don’t want to bring a stick to a gunfight.
Dan: No, you want to bring a Tripod and a rifle.
Charyl: people of color, are coming to the world of firearms and training, and not only for the reasons of self-defense, but because it is such a fun sport and such a fun pastime that we are just seeing people flocking. And right at this moment, while we’re sitting in our studios, we have just had this horrible terrorist attack, this these horrible series of events going on in Israel. Now some people say, oh, well, that’s way over in Israel. Well, it’s not way over in Israel, because here in the United States, we’re having huge protests and so forth of a group of people that the chance that I’m hearing them say is, if you’re a Jewish person, you better be afraid of us. That’s what I’m hearing them say. And so if you’re part of that Jewish community, many people who are of the Jewish faith are right now seeking training and how to figure out this world of firearms in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time. For some reason, that particular community has not really been. They do tend to skew a little bit more left, a little bit more liberal. And now that something like this has happened, one of our very good friends, his name is Yehuda Riemer. He goes by the pew Jew and I follow his postings on social media, and we chat on the phone and stuff, and he says he he’s a trainer, he writes books, he does a bunch of great stuff, but he is seeing clients that he can hardly keep up with it.
Charyl: And it’s because of this incident that happened. And as Danny started with during Covid, there’s lockdowns. Then it was followed by riots, then there were shortages in grocery stores and people just started realizing life isn’t same old right now. Life is feeling very precarious. And and there was that whole defund the police thing. So more and more people were realizing and we served. And it was such an honor for us at our gun shop, we served people who were having a deer in headlights almost out of body experience because they’re like, I have voted against guns over and over again, and now I’m standing in your store. I realize the things that I voted for are now harming my ability to own something that I realize is going to stand between myself and a bad guy, harming me or my family. And it was great for us to be able to serve them and connect them with their Second Amendment rights or constitution that maybe for the first time in their life, they didn’t even realize the connection and training. And we had a great group of trainers that we were passing people along to, and it was a great time in the middle of a horrible time.
Wade: One of the reasons why I think everything is going to be okay, it’s going to get bumpy. But is that firearms training and firearms? It has almost nothing to do with the guns themselves, but it has to do with the basic human desire to protect your family and yourself. And so you can connect with I don’t care what country you’re from, I don’t care your nationality. I don’t care what your religion is, that if you go to someone and you try to connect with them on that, it’s like you deserved to be protected. You deserve to protect. You have a right to be able to do that for yourself. If you can get people to just to go to that level, you avoid all these other, like you said, the political football that we’ve allowed it to become. And and I think it’s so exciting to hear you tell that anecdotal story about the people who are having this revelation of, oh, it’s a revelation moment for them to be like, okay, like, yes, this is actually not the horrible thing that I thought that it was it all. Rats run back to the relationship idea, and then we can all form a relationship based on that idea. Well, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you guys today. I’d love to have you on the show again. If listeners, if they want to reach out to you or stay up to date with what firearms are doing, how can they find you? What is the best way for them? I know you said your email. Go ahead and give us the email again. Give us the website again and talk a little bit more about the normal auction times. I think you said every Tuesday on the upcoming auction.
Charyl: And thank you again so much for having us on. This has been a blast. So we AZFirearmsauctions.com. You can reach us at auctions@AZfirearms.com or auctions@POGauctions.com, the POGauctions.com, and then our phone number always have to go back and look it up because I never call myself. But it’s 623935 hang on let me look for it. (623) 935-9907. We consider it an honor to serve you in whatever ways we can, so do not hesitate to reach out. There’s no such thing as a dumb question. We know that this is a very particular industry and it’s ever changing. So if you have questions or concerns, please reach out. We’d love to answer questions.
Wade: Well again, thank you so much, Cheryl, and thank you so much. Dan. Really enjoyed talking to you guys and can’t wait to have you guys on the show again. Have a great rest of your week.
Dan: Thank you Wade.
Wade: You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business Show by TacticalPay.com. Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.