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Bang for buck

BY Brian Powers - bpowers@chronicle-tribune.com

GAS CITY — Under Miles Leffler, the In-Laws & Outlaws Gun Shop & Range has spent the last six years establishing itself as a local, community-based business.

As a machinist that has worked with medical imaging equipment and even with Crane Naval Base in the southern part of the state, Leffler decided he had had enough with a lack of gun shops in the area and decided to do something about it. Thus, In-Laws & Outlaws was born.

“I love local,” Leffler said. “I’d rather drive 20 miles out of my way to shop locally than to go across the street to a chain store.”

Leffler, 44, was born in Gas City and grew up on the Leffler Dairy Farm and was taught the importance of taking care of one’s own community. Despite the enormous success of his gun shop – even adding a second location in Marco Island, Florida – Leffler is a believer in small-town business practices.

“I want people to know that, unlike a lot of other places, not all sales are final here,” he said. “I’m always focused on what we can do from a customer service standpoint. If you have a problem with your purchase, I will either fix or replace it, no questions asked.”

Leffler is also quite aware of the stigmas associated with the ways in which firearms are procured, especially in relation to the online aspect of his business. He affirmed that every single purchase is accompanied by a background check that takes about ten minutes. He also reiterated that there are absolutely no exceptions to the rule.

Online and mail order customers are required by law to submit to background checks as well as submitting fingerprints before they are able to purchase from Leffler, as well as being required to have their weapon purchase shipped to a licensed gun shop closest to the customer. Again, Leffler reiterated that there are no exceptions.

“If I sell you a weapon and you come back 30 minutes later to buy another one, I am going to run another background check on you,” he said.

The shop owner also discussed a shift in trends in his business throughout the last year since a presidential cabinet change occurred. He noted that, while sales are essentially on the same frequency, they are of a different focus.

“Before, people were buying what they thought could be taken away, but now people are really buying what they want,” said Leffler. “I have also been doing a lot of accessorizing of weapons.”

Leffler noted that his shop sells approximately 2,500 to 3,000 firearms a month, with most being AR-15 rifles and personal defense handguns. These handguns are smaller, more compact and easier to carry.

He is also highly involved in the community, offering shooting and safety instruction by National Rifle Association certified trainers in his indoor range, as well as sponsoring two local competitive shooting superstars in Zoey and Mackenzie Bragg. His shop is also in talks with area schools in attempts to sponsor clay shooting teams.

While there are many things Leffler could tell opponents of personal firearms, he had one thing to say:

“Without the Second Amendment, there would be no other amendments because we couldn’t defend them.”

Leffler has taken a small-business mindset to a largely divided topic and made it more accessible to the area, even working with local police and sheriff’s departments. One thing he will always talk about, however, is safety and the misconceptions.

“I don’t sell anything more dangerous than what you drove here in,” Leffler said. “It’s just a matter of learning how to use them properly.”