by Garrett Heaney and Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER—If you are wondering where to get an AK-47 assault rifle or a Glock handgun and all the ammo you would ever need, just head on over to Gallison Hill Road. You can get a used .40-caliber Glock handgun with night sights for $399.99 and a 100-round ammo magazine for $399.99. And, as proprietor Robert Hausman points out, in Vermont you don’t need a license to carry.
You can’t miss the shop, out front on both sides of Gallison Hill Road are business signs that read “Guns and Ammo” and “Guns Guns Guns.” Hausman moved in in mid-October and specializes in discount ammunition. He also sells some guns and other weaponry.
When you walk inside, it looks part gun shop, part warehouse, and part museum. Assault rifles and antique rifles hang on racks on the walls. Handguns and antiques are in a glass case. But don’t get too close or an alarm will beep.
He has a rifle dating back to 1845, a cane gun (yes, like from a James Bond movie — a formal-looking dress cane that doubles as a gun), and several other varieties of antique guns and knives. He also carries interesting posters, signs, badges, hats and other items related to guns. Hausman generally carries a snub nose .38-caliber handgun. “I’ve never shot anyone (but) I’ve displayed a gun,” he said.
Hausman advertises with a sign by the side of the road that his products are cheaper than what you can buy at Walmart. He told The Bridge this is because he buys by the pallet. “We primarily sell ammunition — firearms are secondary. I buy products in large quantities and pass the savings onto customers,” Hausman said.
Part of Hausman’s business model includes buying outside of the United States. “I carry a lot of product from eastern Europe and other parts of the world that is comparable to that produced in America but without all the added costs of labor unions, minimum wages, excessive taxation, and product liability insurance inherent in American-produced goods. Bottom line — consumers pay less by buying goods produced outside America.”
When asked how he got into the business, Hausman told us it was through a separate but connected career in gun journalism. Twenty-five years ago, Hausman began writing for a number of popular gun magazines. It was through this career that he began to establish a network of important people in the gun business.
“I worked for all the popular titles such as Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times plus trade journals such as SHOT Business and Shotgun News. I was also a newspaper reporter and photographer for so-called “mainstream” publications and did ghostwriting for book publishers and wrote speeches for advertising and PR firms.”
While his career in gun journalism certainly gave him an insider’s perspective of the industry, Hausman attributes the demise of print publications and the rise of digital media as a main catalyst for his move into retail.
“As the digital age caused the demise of print publications, my journalism markets dried up. Selling merchandise became a better option than writing.”
He points out that he didn’t entirely abandon his writing gig and still publishes a trade journal for the industry called The New Firearms Business.
Hausman’s business is called Wholesale Sports Northeast, and Ammo Warehouse is a part of it. But that is separate from the retail shop and has a different customer base. One side of the store has a retail shop while the other is a warehouse for selling online. The website does sell guns, ammunition, and equipment, but only wholesale and only to dealers. A disclaimer on the site reads, “Wholesale Sports Northeast, LLC sells only to federally licensed firearms dealers. You must be a registered user to order from this website.”
When asked how he felt about gun control legislation, Hausman said “Every year the Democrats in the Burlington area propose the same old restrictions on firearms civil rights. These proposals impact the law-abiding so they will not be effective. Criminals do not obey laws, that’s why they are called criminals. Thus far they have been unsuccessful.”
If you don’t remember there being any gun shops in Montpelier in recent years, it’s because there haven’t been for quite some time. I asked long-time resident, Chief Anthony Facos of the Montpelier Police Department, if he knew of any guns and ammunition businesses historically in town, and he said there used to be a couple right on Main Street. There was a large store called Western Auto on Main Street that sold guns and ammo, and something called The Country Store across from the Fire Department.
So, if you want to go somewhere that is part gun shop, part hat store and part museum and that is chock full of ammunition, you will find it at the bottom of Gallison Hill.