Tonight I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachael Wohletz of Gunsmithing Only. I was interviewing her for info on a CCW story I’m writing, but she had so many interesting things to say that I wanted to share!
A: So how did you end up in this industry?
R: I was raised around guns. My dad had a federal firearms license and taught me to shoot when I was young. Later, after I was married and had a child I moved back near my parents. One of my dad’s friends had a gun shop so I started working for him. It started out as a fun way to get out of the house but I really got into it! I loved it.
He decided to get out of the business and I knew that I could run a gun shop on my own so in 2010 I bought it. The process of getting my license from the ATF was really frustrating. There was a lot of doubt because I was a woman. It took me 9 months to get my license where it typically takes 60 days. Even the female agents were skeptical. I really had to go above and beyond to prove myself as a female gun shop owner.
A: What are some common misconceptions and stereotypes that you run into a woman in the gun industry?
R: Almost on a daily basis I have someone call and when I answer the phone they’ll say, “I need to talk with someone who knows something about guns.” When people see my name as the owner of the store, it’s met with shock and surprise a lot of times. I deal with constant misconceptions, even from other women. I think it’s hard for men to deal with the fact that women are creeping in on their territory!
A: What would you say to women who are hesitant about owning or shooting guns?
R: I would tell them, “you have no idea how much you’ll love it until you pull the trigger.” The majority of women really love shooting once they try it. It’s really empowering and it gives a sense of safety and security.
There is so many options for women gun owners today. I have a customized AR-15 that I’ve accessorized. You can find a whole market that targets-pardon the pun- women. I would recommend a book by Lindsay McCrum called “Chicks with Guns“.
A: Has your business increased, decreased or stayed the same in the last few years?
R: There’s been a major increase in gun sales! In 2008 I think it was because of the comments Obama made about gun control and his history in office- he had always approved any gun measure that came across his desk. Soon after he was elected there was a spike in ammunition prices, increased gun sales and a lot of scarcity of both guns and ammo. In fact, I have a sign on the front door with Obama’s face that says “Firearm Salesman of the Year”. It’s truer today than it was in 2008.
During the 2012 debates, Obama said he’d support the reinstitution of the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons Ban. Gun sales went up again. When the Newtown tragedy occurred, the increase was 3-4 times what it was in 2008. I had never seen it like that before, ever.
A: Do you have any concerns with the latest changes in Missouri CCW law?
R: The biggest concern I have with the CCW changes is the amount of insurance that is required for concealed carry instructors to have a public ranges like Parma Woods or other places owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The man I took my CCW class with used to teach at Parma and now he can’t afford to, he uses a small private range. It really makes it unaffordable for small CCW instructors.
A: There are a lot of gun control proposals that have been tossed around. What do you think about the idea of universal background checks?
R: They may sound good on paper but in reality that would create a database of every gun owner. It really sets the stage for easy gun confiscation. The founding fathers’ intention was never to make citizens beg the government to use our 2nd amendment rights.
A: What about clip restrictions?
R: It doesn’t matter how many bullets a clip holds to a person who is going to commit an atrocity. The guy in Newtown was unhindered. He could’ve had a single shot muzzle loader and still killed a lot of people because there was no one there to stop him. You can have one round or 30 and it can be just as devastating if you have a psychotic person determined to kill.
None of those proposals are going to be effective because none of those things would’ve prevented any of the shooting tragedies. There is always going to be someone who breaks the law. It’s those of us who are following the law that will pay the price of all the regulations.
A: What do you think about places that prohibit weapons?
R: I don’t like giving business to companies who prohibit me from protecting myself. Nebraska Furniture Mart just changed their policy, they really did a 180. I think it’s important to let companies know that if you don’t allow people to exercise their 2nd amendment right, they won’t get your business.
A: Have you ever had issues with companies who don’t want to do business with gun related companies?
R: Wells Fargo was the underwriting bank for our credit card processing. One day they informed the company we use that they were dropping coverage for all businesses who deal with guns. They refused to put it in writing, but when I called they told me that they’re righting their moral compass and that I’m a facilitator of violence. Now I take my business elsewhere. We’ve gotten used to being snubbed, which is interesting, because no one snubs you for using any of your other constitutional rights.
A huge thanks to Rachael for taking the time to talk with me about what she does! If you’re in the KC area, be sure to check out her store Gunsmithing Only!