Cope was kind and gave us a few minutes of his precious time. We talked about guns, gun control and the situation in WA state. You don't want to miss this interview! You can follow Cope Reynolds on Gab.com, @Desertscout1
Ligia @ Brubaker Arms : Hi Cope, thank you for accepting this interview with us. We’re always on the look for people with interesting stories and ideas worth sharing, and you definitely fit the bill.
Q1. Let’s talk a little bit about you. You become known after the Obama elections, when you posted a very interesting note in your firearm retail store and in the newspaper. Remind us and our readers about the details, please.
A: I own and operate Southwest Shooting Authority near Show Low, AZ. We used to have a thriving retail business as well as a pretty well-known training facility. We abandoned the retail part of the business in early 2015 because I had grown weary of being under the feds' thumb. Tired of living in fear that one of us might forget to cross a "t" or dot an "i" or inadvertently omit an entry on the Form 4473. We are now almost completely dedicated to defensive firearms training and survival and disaster preparedness classes.
A few years ago, I think it's safe to say that we probably had the most famous gun shop in America for a short period of time and here's why...
Like most true Americans, I was woefully disappointed in the election results of November 2012. When I went to work the next morning, I was still feeling kind of like someone had kicked me in my forked end. I walked into my shop feeling that the final blow, the coup de grace, had been delivered to America. As soon as I unlocked the door and walked in, I said out loud, "I don't want those people in here. I don't want them around my kids and I don't want their money." So I marched over to my computer and made a big, 11½"x17" sign that read, "If you voted for Obama, please turn around and leave! You have proven that you are not responsible enough to own a firearm!" Some of your readers may remember that. I went and taped it on the door and was feeling pretty good about it for about 2 minutes. I said again out loud, "This won't deliver the message that I want to get out there. None of my customers voted for that idiot anyway." I picked up the phone and called my newspaper guy and told him I wanted a ¼-page ad that said the same thing. I emailed it to gunwire.com, ammoland.com and a few others. In 36 hours, it was literally worldwide. We found stories about it from Kuwait, Spain, England, Canada and several others. NOW I have delivered my message!
Q2. Do you still stand behind your ad?
A: Do I still stand behind my ad? You damned right I do! More than ever! This was not an "ad", per se. It was not an advertising gimmick. It was a political statement and I meant every word of it. The business meant next to nothing to me compared to my disappointment in what was happening. My country was (and still is) falling down around my ears and I HAD to share my concern. The fact that it gave the business a substantial shot in the arm was purely an unintended consequence.
Q3. You are now no longer in retail, but are now a certified instructor. What caused this transition?
A: As I said before, I was sick and tired of the rules and regulations and penalties that are associated with having an FFL. As far as the firearms instruction goes, I became certified and started teaching professionally back in 1994 and opened the Cody School of Practical Shooting in Cody, WY. In 2005, I became an NRA Training Counselor which complimented the considerable amount of training that I had received from other sources. Putting all this together along with a series of other events led to the good fortune of being able to create Southwest Shooting Authority in Farmington, NM in 2003 and eventually came here to Show Low in late 2011. In addition to a fairly brisk retail operation, we became the only full-time training facility in the area and offered over 30 different firearms classes. We also travel quite a bit, taking training opportunities to other areas of the country that may not have access to a local facility.
Q4. Let’s talk about the big elephant in Washington State… In your opinion, how did we get from Obama to I-1639?
A: You didn't get FROM Obama to I-1639. You got to I-1639 BECAUSE of Obama, at least partially. A portion of the gun crowd became a little complacent during Obama's reign of terror. He didn't really make any bold attempt to further restrict our guns as most of us thought he would. In fact, except for that little import restriction that didn't have much effect on most of us, he really didn't do much but talk. Fact of the matter is, one of the few pieces of legislation that he signed concerning guns was actually quite beneficial to us and that was the one that ended a nearly 100 year old ban on firearms in Nat'l Parks and Nat'l Monuments. Pro-gun folks relaxed and the opposition went on the defensive. They got bolder and stronger and we lost ground. In some arenas, we have regained it but in others, like Washington, Oregon, California and others, we have been kicked to the curb.
Q5. How do we take the state back, Cope? Or is it too late?
A: Frankly? It’s too late to do it peacefully. We have reached the point of no return. Not just in WA but in NM and several other states. We're NOT going to fix this by voting, creating Facebook groups, holding rallies and signing petitions.
Actually, there is one thing and one thing only that could reverse illegal, unconstitutional laws like I-1639 practically overnight. If every gun owner in the Nation, or at least the majority of them, would march, armed, on every capitol building, city hall and courthouse in the country and DEMAND in no uncertain terms that these laws be immediately and irrevocably overturned and stricken from the law books, we could change all this in a day or so. But even then, those men and women would have to be willing to accept the potential consequences and be prepared to defend themselves against the tyrant. That's not going to happen so refer to the first part of my statement in reference to question #5.
Q6. What is your biggest concern regarding the future of WA state, regarding firearm regulations? A: The biggest concern that I have for the future of Washington state's gun laws is exactly the same as I have for every state. Complacency, apathy and ignorance on the part of the majority of gun owners. We should have stood fast in 1934. We should have done something 1968. We should have reacted strongly to Kent State, Ruby Ridge and Waco.
But it's easier and safer to just sit around and bitch on Facebook and blame everyone else. Like Gulliver, if we had removed those first ropes and stood up, we could have prevented all this. There's just too many ropes now and the Lilliputians are not going to give up their hold easily...