One stop on my training tour each year is Tucson, Ariz., and as at every venue, I try to visit as many gun shops as possible. There's an intriguing case of a gun store with a 56-year history that has blossomed under its new ownership--despite the fact it endured a decade of futility prior to being purchased and is now part of a small chain. This is the story of Second Amendment Sports, and in particular, its Tucson shop.
Matt Janes opened the first Second Amendment Sports store on Mohawk Street in Bakersfield, Calif. In the "About Us" section of the company's website (www.2ndamendmentsports.com), it says: "Matt Janes and his wife, Dana, started Second Amendment Sports in 1993 with six cases of ammunition, and things just took off from there."
Matt and his wife added a shooting range to the Bakersfield location in 1999. In 2006, they acquired the Tucson shop. The couple opened a third Second Amendment Sports location in 2013 in Palm Desert, Calif., and a year later acquired another store in Bakersfield. Why two locations in the same city where he had started? Matt explains to us, "Another fellow built a range here in 2013 and couldn't make a go of it--so we took it over. Now it's running fine."
Looking at the four Second Amendment Sports facilities, we can see the Tucson location does not fit the paradigm of its three sister stores. Matt Janes built two of the California facilities, while the one he acquired in Bakersfield was virtually brand-new--and all with very modern "layouts."
The Tucson shop is different in many respects. It's the oldest of the company's physical plants, and has the most "traditional layout." It's also the only one that was once a long-established, successful firearms emporium before Janes acquired it.
The shop was founded in 1960 by patriarch Bob Jensen, originally as Jensen's Custom Ammunition. Bob Jensen was (and, in retirement, still is!) an iconic figure among Arizona shooters, a successful rifle competitor and leading advocate for gun owners' rights. Jensen and his family grew the shop bit by bit, from its original 1,000 square feet to the more than 13,000 square feet it spans now.
Bob Jensen made his shop not just a success, but also a regular stopping place for shooters from a broad region. When it came time to retire in 1996, the family leased the shop to another party. A decade later, however, it was struggling under the new management--which is when Matt Janes came in. "We closed...