NEWS: WA State Gun Laws Push Military Surplus Store Owner to Leave

With more than 20 gun-related bills in Olympia, WA this session, Second Amendment advocates say they’re starting to feel cornered. These gun laws are set to restrict who, what and where gun-owners can carry.

Two-time combat veteran Steve Krause says he doesn’t think lawmakers respect, or even understand why people like him are upset.

“Laws like this are dividing the country,” he said. “A lot of the people who voted for these gun laws don’t even own guns, they don’t care, it doesn’t affect them.”

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Krause owns The Bunker in Richland, WA a military surplus store where a sign says customers feel like family. “I get people who come in here and to show [their] kids ribbons and old pictures from when they were in the military,” he explained.

But for Krause and his customers, that’s all about to change. He’s selling the store and moving his young family to Arizona, somewhere he says they take the Second-Amendment seriously.

“I have a choice to either stay here and abide by the law, or move somewhere that better suits what I feel is right,” he said. “The deciding factor truly was the law (Washington initiative 1639) passing.

However, Krause said he isn’t leaving disgusted; if anything, he’s sad. “They start talking about magazine limits and more gun restrictions,” he lamented. “I don’t think it’s going to turn out the way they think it’s going to turn out.”

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Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) is sponsoring SB5062, a measure limiting high-capacity magazines. It’s one of many bills making the rounds this session, aiming to reduce mass-shootings. “I think we need to have a reasonable balance between the right to own a gun, and the right to live without fear of being mowed down in our society,” she said. “We’ve tried it the NRA’s way for a very long time and we haven’t seen a reduction in gun violence.”

Right now Washington State doesn’t have magazine capacity limits; Sen. Kuderer told Action News her bill is a step in the right direction.

But for Krause and many like him, it’s not about how many bullets his gun holds: it’s about restricting the way he’s able to legally protect his family. “Our forefathers had just got done fighting off a tyrannical government,” he said. “So when you start removing gun rights people get worried. Washington state is going down a road that will stop me from having every advantage that a criminal would have.”

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