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Bellevue dealer won't sell long guns to those under 21

caption: A photo posted on the Facebook page  of Bellevue's Low Price Guns store.
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A photo posted on the Facebook page of Bellevue's Low Price Guns store.
Facebook Photo/Low Price Guns

Kim Malcolm talks with Jason Cazes, owner of Low Price Guns in Bellevue, about why he's decided to not sell long guns, which include military-style assault weapons, to people under the age of 21.

Interview Highlights

Why have you decided not to sell military-style assault weapons to people under the age of 21?

It is the right thing to do. Period. It's what my heart tells me to do and I don't care if I lose my business over it, my livelihood. It's the right thing to do. And it's combined with the fact that I want to keep my Second Amendment rights to be able to own an AR 15 in any way with a high cap mag – high capacity magazines. That’s very important to me too. The two things are equally important to me. My Second Amendment is the most important thing to me. To be able to protect myself as I see fit. Nobody else telling me how.

Is there something particular about the age group, 18 to 21, that you have a problem with?

They’re not mature enough to handle it yet. Obviously, based on what we're seeing. So I think it will cut out some of this and especially if you're doing state checks. And it's going to only cut out the immature people, it's going to cut out the crazies that aren't getting state checks that are older. To get a handgun, you go through a two-part background check. You have a FBI background check, and then you have a state background check. The state background checks looks for domestic violence and mental illness. Now, if that's not being done for younger people that are getting long guns, such as ARs, that's a problem. That’s what I’m proposing here: taking the long gun rules which are at this point 18 and up ­– just a FBI check is done – and moving it to handguns, which is you've got to be 21 and up. And you have two checks that are done. So it's not just the young people here that I'm saying 18, 19, and 20 year olds –it's everybody above that also that gets a state check.

If you were to stick with this decision, you would be among just a handful of gun businesses that operate this way. Only Hawaii and Illinois have laws that set age for owning a long gun at the age of 21. In most states, including Washington, they they've set the age at 18. So why stick your neck out for this?

Because it matters. And it's not about money. It's about principle and what I feel is right. And it's about wanting to protect my Second Amendment rights to own an AR and high cap mags. It's both things.

What has the reaction been from your customers?

Initially, I didn't explain that I'm trying to save the Second Amendment part and the AR part. And so it was a knee jerk reaction of, "You're just trying to make more laws." My side [pro gun] says "no more laws, period. I don't care if it even makes sense. No. More. Laws." And then the other side is like, "Well, you need to ban ARs and high cap mags." That’s always the answer. It’s an emotional, immature teenage reaction from both sides. We need to be adults and have a discussion here.

You've made this decision for yourself and for your business not to sell these types of weapons to people under the age of 21. As the owner of a gun store, are there other steps that you're thinking of that you might consider taking to prevent gun deaths?

This is it. This is the commonsense thing that's been missing. I'm just putting it out there. There’s nothing else to confuse anything with. It’s simple.

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