One gun store owner in Beverly Hills is experiencing a boom in business as the city's affluent population flocks to his store during Los Angeles County's crime surge.
Beverly Hills Guns opened its doors in July 2020 and has since sold firearms to wealthy individuals from Santa Monica and Hollywood Hills, according to a report.
However, given the rise of home invasions and smash-and-grab robberies across the county and heightened fears of crime, real estate moguls, actors, and film executives are all walking into the store to buy their first gun, according to store owner Russell Stuart.
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"This morning, I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, 'I want a home defense shotgun,'" Stuart said. "Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad. We're used to this being like Mayberry."
New gun owners are encouraged to learn the laws and practice firing at shooting ranges, he said.
"We're going to have a lot of guns out there in a lot of untrained people's hands," Stuart said.
Several residents who visit the store had previously been anti-gun, but the rise in crime changed their minds, the report noted.
Debbie Mizrahie said she's "always been anti-gun" but started the process "of getting myself shooting lessons because I now understand that there may be a need for me to know how to defend myself and my family. We're living in fear."
"Beverly Hills is definitely a target," said David Perez, security expert and former Marine.
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"We're telling clients, 'Hey, don't go out with flashy jewelry. Try to keep a lower profile. Instead of driving the Bentley, maybe just take the SUV," he said.