Midlanders with an itch for silencers and automatic weapons — and who need help acquiring them — can now get them at the recently opened S&K Arms store.
Located across from Grub Burger off Midland Drive, S&K Arms has been open since Christmas Eve, but finally had its grand opening on Feb. 23 after store officials got tired of people telling them that they didn’t know the new gun store was there.
“Grub Burger is probably responsible for 90 percent of our business, and, until this event, we hadn’t done any advertising, and we still had a ton of business,” said assistant manager Danny Anderson.
Customers milled about as Anderson explained how S&K offers high-end guns, suppressors, machine guns and general advice. Walls made out of wood paneling are racked with 30-odd guns of varying types.
“When we first opened we wanted this to be like a sushi place like, ‘Hey! We’re glad you’re here,’” Anderson said of S&K’s philosophy. “We wanted not only to cater to the high-end person who wants unique boutique stuff, but also the person who’s never bought a gun before. We don’t want them to feel intimidated. We just really wanted to give people the level of customer service that they expect when they walk into any other place; why should you put up with less than helpful employees?”
Founder Kane Kolisek started the company a few years ago in Crane, selling suppressors out of the back of his parent’s home health store. The new store features not only silencers, but also automatic weapons, with a .50-caliber machine gun in the center of the store and a well-kept World War I-vintage machine gun on a coffee table.
Anderson also explained that S&K offers help acquiring suppressors and automatic weapons, including how to negotiate the seemingly daunting National Firearms Act (NFA) that is the framework of regulations used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). He said that the staff helps clients with their paperwork, and that, while the wait time might be long (the NFA applications take the ATF four and six months to process), the duration is much shorter than the year it took the ATF to process the paperwork in early 2014.
An NFA application can be filled out by an individual, but Anderson said each person would have to provide their fingerprints, a passport photo, and a signature from a chief law enforcement officer such as Sheriff Gary Painter or Midland Police Chief Price Robinson.
Anderson suggests that if someone wants to buy a suppressor or automatic weapon that they set up a trust with a lawyer, which means that they would not have to provide the previously mentioned information. It also means that when the holder of NFA items passes away, the handover process involves less hassle.
“Every time it (the NFA item) gets transferred, you have to pay a $200 tax, which is why the trust is better because, let’s say you pass your suppressors down to your kids, they don’t get transferred to the kids, they stay in the trust and you can do whatever you want with them,” Anderson explained.
If a trust is not set up by a an owner of NFA items, things for their family can go south fast.
“When you die, you have a safe full of suppressors, and as soon as you die, those things get transferred and everybody’s committing felonies all of a sudden,” Anderson explained of what can happen to NFA items not in a trust. “On top of that, to be legal, your estate has to handle all the paperwork all over again, and a $200 tax on each individual item all over again. So it can get expensive and you can end up surrendering a lot of stuff to the federal government.”
Anderson attributed a growth in demand for suppressors to the falling wait time, which he believed meant that the ATF is getting better at processing the applications. But if you want to buy a gun, ogle some nice ones or just talk shop, S&K officials believe they have created a store for you.