My adventure started in the northeast and I’ve been working my way south. During my travels, I crossed the Belleplain Supply Gun Center, which sits alongside the 605 in an area surrounded by farms, fields and forest. Even under a blanket of snow, you realize why it’s called the Garden State. The shop is hard to miss for many who live in and out of state, as it sits along one of two roads that leads to the New Jersey seashore. So you can say the staff has their thumb on the pulse of the state’s gun-economics, making it the perfect stop for a roaming journalist exploring the topic.
As far as sales are concerned, Belleplain Supply has seen a spike in sales for just about everything, which has become commonplace for gun stores all over the country.
“We supply hunters that travel all over the world, so we do a lot of sporting arms, handguns have been very brisk in the past 14, 15 months,” explained store owner Nick Germanio.
Also, similar to the rest of the country, the store has seen more and more new gun buyers thanks to President Obama’s gun control agenda.
“I would say if we had 100 new customers come through the door, 75 have never owned a firearm in their life in the past year,” Germanio said.
“We see a lot new shooters, a lot of women — a lot of women now — buying guns. Particularly, from what I see, a lot of young women are purchasing handguns now,” added Brian Camp, a salesman at the store.
While gun sales are typically a result of potential federal laws, New Jersey is known for its draconian gun control laws. The sorest of stories involve a gun owner traveling with a firearm getting pulled over, arrested for possessing a gun without a state firearm license and then face a stiff prison sentence. Scenarios like that made headlines a handful of times last year.
Needless to say, many gun rights advocates are critical of New Jersey lawmakers. It’s consistently ranked one of the strictest states when it comes to gun laws. In 2013, state lawmakers introduced and voted on more gun laws (the state senate passed eight in May, some of which were later vetoed), so it was interesting to listen to Geranio’s perspective on the matter.
While he was critical of the New Jersey lawmakers who pushed new gun laws, saying they “really don’t know the difference between what’s on the books and what’s not on the books. And they keep making a law for another law for another law and it’s actually the same rule,” Germanio showed some love for Gov. Chris Christie, who has a lukewarm rating by the National Rifle Association.
“Gov. Christie is a good governor. He’s done a pretty good job of supporting us. We’ve had some laws come down the road a year ago and he vetoed most of them and said they weren’t common sense laws.”