We were at a local gun shop, waiting for a wide lane when a woman slipped between crowd, extended her card and then walked away. The card said, Bubba’s Gun Shop. She didn’t look like a Bubba.
I sat down with the person behind BGS a few months ago.
This is Bubba. Her real name is Fran. She is a retiree from Oakland California who was raised in that unsteady space between the Black Panthers and the Black church. Now, she is one of few Black gun dealers in Georgia, and possibly the Black only woman.
We met again at an independent coffee shop in East Atlanta. She’s tall, and carries herself like a younger Toni Morrison. An unlikely alter ego for a place named “Bubba’s”.
BGS was inspired by a trip to a gun show with her husband. He is ex military, and an avid hunter. This was his comfort zone. But as they navigated the booths there were very few Black faces, either shopping or behind the tables. And there were no Black vendors.
In a way, it was her husband’s idea. After that trip to the show, he got her the paperwork and suggested she go into business to fill that void. The process included the FFL application Form 7 , fingerprint cards, photos, a zoning compliance letter and fee to ATF. They also conducted a full background check.
Next an investigator came by for an in- person interview and training session where the investigator covered federal and state laws.
Fran runs Buds quietly out of her house. She runs the store out of her house, fielding calls from perspective gun owners and filling their needs Although she is looking for a brick and mortar store, right now the process suits one aspect of her market nicely.
“People are surprised that I am allowed to operate from my home,” said Fran. “However…I am in compliance with all zoning laws for an unincorporated area of the county. Out of respect for my neighbors, I do not post any business signs etc. My business is very low-key and is mostly conducted by phone and most of my customers live in other states.”
Many of those who have called her are women who are new to shooting. She admits that the process can be a bit intimidating, which is why she asks questions and gets the feel for what her customers need.
“Some women are just afraid of guns,” she said. “Maybe we’ve seen something, or maybe we’ve been hurt by a gun on the premises, but not all of us have grown up around guns in a positive way.”
“I like to ask questions,” she continued. “We talk. I get to know their experience level, and find out if this is for sport or for protection. Is this for you or your wife? Are their kids in the house? And then I ask if you’ve gone to the range. You know, what’s your experience level and your budget.”
Fran grew up in Oakland. Her family had a very strong foundation in the military. Her father, grandfather and uncles all served their country. although her own exposure to firearms came relatively early, it wasn’t always positive.
Her advice to new shooters is simple. “I tell people to go to the range and rent something. Get your hands on a few different guns so that you have an idea of what you want.”
For more information you can call Fran at 888-202-2396 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.