RIGBY - For most companies, success is defined by their bottom lines. The more sales they generate, the more successful they are. But for Quality Arms, a high-end firearms manufacturer in Rigby, it's the sales they are turning down that are making national headlines.
The company's website warns prospective buyers that Quality Arms will not sell firearms or provide service for firearms to any state, county or municipal government that infringes on its citizens' Second Amendment right to bear arms.
"We didn't want the statement to be 'in your face,' but we wanted to make sure we made our point," says Jim Barron, who with partner Jeremy Beasley has owned Quality Arms for more than three years. "We didn't want to be an accessory to what is going on."
Barron worked for the British Ministry of Defense before coming to the United States. He began crafting his handmade firearms almost by accident.
"A neighbor who was a police officer invited me to go shooting with her," he says. "After shooting a few rounds, I thought, 'I could do much better than this.' "
They began by improving existing AR-15 rifle platforms and went on to create their own designs. Today Quality Arms makes more than 10 models based on the AR-15 as well as classic reproductions and original concepts featuring state-of-the-art technology.
"We designed an ambidextrous rifle, one that is unique to the industry," Barron says. "We had a prototype in three weeks and were in production in a couple of months."
The company is also working on a shotgun attachment to its AR-15 platform that will allow police officers more flexibility when facing life-threatening situations.
But for Barron and Beasley, the reception their firearms are receiving nationwide is being tempered by new laws that have been passed or are being considered in the wake of recent shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. The very essence of the Second Amendment, they believe, is under attack.
"Both of us abhor the recent shootings around the country," Beasley says. "But politicians seem to have their own agenda and are willing to look for other ways to abolish the Second Amendment."
Barron says, "That's when we decided we wouldn't supply state, county or municipal governments if they try to enforce illegal gun laws."
Both men believe that existing laws at the federal and state level are more than sufficient to protect Americans - if properly enforced.
"People think you can just buy a gun on the Internet," says Barron. "You can't. The weapon has to be transferred to a licensed dealer of the buyer's choice, and then the buyer must complete Form 4473 and pass the required background check before taking possession."
Beasley says, "After the buyer completes the form and the dealer calls in the background check, it is usually instantly approved. But should there be a delay under the current Brady Law, the government has three working days to approve or deny the application."
Problems arise when those laws are not followed, they say. If the seller does not hear back from the government within the three days, the dealer is free to deliver the firearm to the purchaser. "It's perfectly legal for us to sell the gun. In one case it's been almost two months, and we're still waiting for an answer."
But Quality Arms will not sell a firearm without approval, Barron says.
"Our policy is to not deliver a firearm until the government says we can," he says. "We're for these background checks. We live in the community, and they help keep us safe."