Hart Bros. to stop selling firearmsPublished 10:42am Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Gunshop likely to surrender license
Hart Bros. Weaponry in Albert Lea is not going out of business, but once it sells its supply of firearms, it won’t be selling them anymore.
That could take 18 to 24 months, said owners Milan and Elaine Hart, but they still hope to sell ammunition, gun parts, supplies, accessories and archery goods. The gun shop, south of Albert Lea at 18322 Highway 69, is one of the closest to Austin.
“This isn’t the way it was supposed to go,” Milan said.
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms audit started in 2011. Last summer Milan and Elaine entered a revocation hearing, and the judgment went against them. They plan to surrender their federal firearms license, the Harts said, on March 9. If they don’t surrender it, the ATF will revoke the license anyway.
Elaine opted against describing the case details but said no serious errors, such as missing inventory, took place. She said the case was based on paperwork mistakes.
Milan and Elaine could appeal in U.S. District Court. Elaine said they decided against that because they are tired of the legal system and have spent too much on lawyers already.
Milan said the situation is troublesome as he is 59 and hadn’t planned on retiring from selling guns until 70. He said the ATF has taken a firmer view on paperwork over the last 10 years, and that has affected many small gun shops. His statement matches what many bloggers have noted. He said their company even had one audit that took four years.
The company currently receives wholesale firearms and sells them at retail, but after March 9 it can only sell what’s in stock and can’t receive firearms as a company.
Hart Bros. Weaponry is the highest volume independent dealer in Minnesota, a fact Milan Hart said the ATF told him. Hart Bros. sells 5,000 to 7,000 guns a year and has been in business since 1977. The Harts’ son now operates a Hart Bros. Weaponry firearms store in Mason City, but it is a separate company and will continue selling guns as usual.
Milan is considering whether to offer classes and arrange hunting trips. He plans to continue his Rare Eagle Coin Co., and he plans to charge for gun appraisals.