By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4) – Perhaps no store encapsulates life in the west more thoroughly than JAX Outdoor, an Northern Colorado staple selling everything from camping gear to hiking boots, outdoor décor, knit hats and firearms.

assault rifle sales 10vo transfer frame 91 Colorados JAX Outdoor Looks Back On Decision To Stop Selling AR 15s

(credit: CBS)

“We’re all about getting people outside, from kids to adults,” said Jim Quinlan, JAX Outdoor’s founder. “We want to appeal to the lifestyle outdoors. The Colorado lifestyle.”

But in 2012, Quinlan made a decision that was controversial inside his business and to hardcore supporters of the Second Amendment by ending the sale of the best-selling AR-15 and other high capacity, detachable military-style weapons.

assault rifle sales 10vo transfer frame 871 Colorados JAX Outdoor Looks Back On Decision To Stop Selling AR 15s

CBS4’s Stan Bush interviews Jim Quinlan. (credit: CBS)

“I just can’t feel good and sleep well at night selling these firearms. I don’t want our company doing this,” Quinlan said. “I want to feel good about everything we sell.”

He says the company considered ending assault rifle sales after the Aurora Theater Shooting, but backed off. The final straw for Quinlan was the next mass shooting just a few months later at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sandy Hook School

Police stand guard at the entrance to the Sandy Hook School on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. (credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

“I had kids of my own in elementary school, and that just tore me up. I empathized so much for those parents,” he said.

What followed was a torrent of extremes from customers. Some vowed to never shop with JAX again, while others, according to Quinlan, promised to shop even more.

JAX did not say they researched how the decision effected business, but it did not sink the company. Since banning the AR-15, JAX has added new locations and expanded existing stores.

assault rifle sales 10vo transfer frame 121 Colorados JAX Outdoor Looks Back On Decision To Stop Selling AR 15s

(credit: CBS)

“I’m not trying to make a political statement as a company. It’s about our values as a company and I think people can appreciate that,” he said.

Quinlan says he applauds Dick’s Sporting Goods for their decision to end sales of high capacity firearms. He says he supports gun rights, but does not believe those weapons have a place in society.

“Those are projectiles designed to kill humans. That’s not the business we want to be in,” said Quinlan. “There is a big difference in firearms today than there was in the 1700s.”

RELATED: Walmart Raises Age To Buy Firearms, Ammunition To 21

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.


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