It’s tough to rob a gun store during broad daylight.
It’s even more difficult to do it wielding nothing but pepper spray, a construction uniform, and a mid-to-low IQ.
But that’s exactly what one would-be robber attempted last week in Brooklyn, and he quickly discovered that, even in New York, gun store owners won’t hesitate to return force with force.
A man dressed as a construction worker entered DF Brother’s Sportscenter in Brooklyn, New York, around 10:55 a.m. last Wednesday and asked to “see the guns,” according to New York Daily News.
When the owner of the store, 60-year-old Frank Taormina, asked to see the man’s gun license, the suspect drew a can of pepper spray, sprayed Taormina in the face, and smashed the gun case with a sledgehammer.
He was about to leave with two handguns when Taormina, fighting the effects of the pepper spray, fired two rounds in the man’s direction, hitting him at least once. The would-be robber dropped the guns and fled, and police are still searching for the suspect.
Police told the Daily News that they found a blood trail that they believe was left by the suspect. They’re canvassing local hospitals for anyone who has checked in with gunshot wounds.
No charges are expected to be filed against Taormina, as he was defending himself and his pistol permit is in order, police said.
New York state law also allows store owners to have a firearm on their premises and use it to defend their business as long as the weapon is legally purchased, never removed from the shop and the store owner has the appropriate city licenses, officials said.
New York State – and New York City in particular – is well known for its restrictive gun laws. DF Brother’s Sportscenter is one of the last remaining firearms dealers in the city, according to the Daily News.
Many gun shops saw a dramatic drop in sales after the passage of New York’s infamous SAFE Act, according to a 2015 report from the Democrat and Chronicle.
Some owners decided to move their businesses out of state, while others had to close up shop entirely.
“The SAFE Act killed us in terms of business,” Kordell Jackson, owner of Jackson Guns and Ammo Shop, told the Chronicle. “It was very difficult with sales and regulations with transferring and obtaining firearms, so I decided to close up.”
“The SAFE Act was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Ryan Farnung Handgun Manager for Beikirch Ammunition. “Sales dropped off almost entirely in 2013, and 2014 wasn’t a great year either.”
The suspect in last week’s incident was described as white or Hispanic and was last seen wearing a black cap, black T-shirt, khaki pants and sunglasses.