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Of Sporting Guns and Responsible Gun Control

By Pam Johnson

Published January 12. 2013 11:25AM   Updated January 14. 2013 10:38AM

A Branford meeting on Jan. 14 seeks to form a Community Coalition for Responsible Gun Control at a time when many in the community also want to learn more about an outdoors store opening soon on Main Street, which will include sporting guns among its inventory.

Details of the outcome of the Jan. 14 meeting, which will be held 7 p.m. at the Branford Community House, will be posted here. Board of Education (BOE) chairman Frank Carrano is organizing the coalition meeting, which is not an official BOE meeting and includes community leaders and others among its organizational group. The public is invited to attend.

In calling the meeting, Carrano said, “…we hope to develop goals and strategies that will successfully improve the sale and use of firearms as well as discuss other matters relating to public safety.”

As for the store, initially set to be called The Gun Stock and now to be named TGS Outdoors, co-owners Brian Owens and Mike Higgins say they are moving forward with plans, more than a year in the making, to open by late January or early February 2013. A complete interview with Owens and Higgins will appear in a late-January issue of The Sound. 

Owens managed the Shooting Sports section for 18 years at the now-closed North Cove Outfitters on Main Street in Old Saybrook. 

“If people have gone to North Cove Outfitters, that’s the same reality. We’re bringing a little piece of North Cove here,” Owens told The Sound.

Owens said he and Higgins met with Carrano at their new business site (in the former Arabella’s) two weeks ago. Among other items discussed, Owens noted for Carrano that no one under 18 will be allowed in TGS Outdoors unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. No guns will be displayed in store windows or be visible from outside the business.

Owens and Higgins said they understand the tenor of current state and national debates about guns, but, as Owens emphasized, “…this is a sportsman’s store,” selling, among its varied outdoor gear, the same types of sporting guns used for Olympic shooting and target shooting events.

The store will also carry everything from basic camping equipment to archery equipment to handmade custom outdoorsman knives, Leatherman multi-tools and high-end Grand Forest Axes, as well as optics including scopes and binoculars. Owens said he and Higgins determined there is a market for their business here due to the area’s number of sportsman’s clubs, target shooting venues and groups, and people with interests in hunting and fishing.