Imagine a retail business in which one key measure of sales growth was up 42.2 percent last year, with similar growth this year. You’d be on Easy Street, right? Except this same business is plagued by a perennial problem: Customers can buy plenty of the product, but it’s difficult to get enough of the one thing that makes the product work. Plus, there are few easily accessible places to use it safely.
On top of that, while your customers love your product, there are plenty of people who hate you and would like nothing better than to see your business six feet under. No, I’m not talking about cigarettes, I’m talking about the retail firearms business in Hawaii – a classic love ‘em or hate ‘em industry that tends to ride a roller coaster of sales largely determined by changing public attitudes and laws.
There are probably more privately owned firearms than residents in Hawaii, and the number of firearms is steadily increasing, according to Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics at the state Department of the Attorney General. Why the increase?
A permit is required to buy any gun in Hawaii and, during 2012, a record-breaking 21,864 personal firearm permit applications were processed throughout the state, according to the Department of the Attorney General. This rise marked a 42.2 percent increase from the previous record high of 15,375 permit applications processed in 2011.