Hi, I’m Sherrie McKnight, co-founder of Big Daddy Guns. I want to thank the council for letting me speak. There has been a lot said about Big Daddy Guns, and as soon as I heard about it from Nick, I knew that we had to come here and share who we really are and meet you all in person.
I want to thank everyone who came out to this meeting today. This is what the First Amendment is about! All of us have shown that we can use public discourse to take a stand for what we believe in. I am aware of and have read your concerns about our store being built in Morgantown, and I came here to give you some perspective.
In 2013, when Tony and I started Big Daddy Guns in Gainesville, FL, we didn’t know too much about the gun industry. As new, Concealed Carry Permit holders, we were looking for our first gun. We went into many gun stores and if you didn’t know the right lingo, nobody paid attention to you. We also noticed that the stores we went into were dark, dirty, musty, and dusty with Zero customer service. As time went on, we realized that something needed to be done to revolutionize the gun industry, to make it more relatable, friendlier, and more about the lifestyle we were experiencing so we opened Big Daddy Guns!
Every member of the Big Daddy organization is instilled with three values: “teamwork makes the dream work”, “members first or customers first,” depending on where you work in the organization, and most importantly, the “Spirit of Excellence”. We bring those core values with us to every community we become a part of. My passion is to educate, motivate, and activate people about our Freedom and our right to protect and defend ourselves. I believe that being helpless or defenseless at the hands of an attacker is a choice and one that a woman, especially a mother, does NOT have to make.
Pertaining to your concern about us being an “assault weapons dealer” a fact to note is the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that over three and a half times as many people were stabbed to death in 2020 than were killed with RIFLES of ALL KINDS combined. The report also shows that 454 people were shot and killed with rifles in 2020 while 1,732 were stabbed with “knives or cutting instruments.”
That same report ALSO showed that in 2020, 657 people were killed with “personal weapons,” which are defined as “hands, fists, feet, etc. That’s 203 more people than were killed with RIFLES of ALL KINDS. Now, even one life lost is too many in an unjustified circumstance. If your perceived threat from Big Daddy Guns is “assault rifles” we should at least be clear on the facts and understand the root causes of violent crime.
An interesting statistic that you may not know, is that women account for OVER 40% of the first-time gun buyers in 2020. That’s INCREDIBLE!!! It means that more women like myself are realizing that guns are the great equalizer and they can be used to help protect us and our families….maybe even our community in its time of need. What’s great about Big Daddy Guns is that we have light and bright stores with engaging teams that make sure all of our guests feel welcome when they enter our doors! Our staff is also very knowledgeable and can help first-time buyers navigate the buying process or help gun enthusiasts get their next guns, gear, and ammo for their collection.
I want to close by reading something I found on your city website: The City of Morgantown welcomes all people regardless of race, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, ancestry, age, abilities, blindness, economic, family or veteran status, or life situation. We strive to be an inclusive community for our residents and visitors. We ask everyone to act with a helpful intent, to respond to each other with civility, and to treat our environment with respect.
Nick and I came here all the way from Gainesville, FL in hopes that you would also welcome us into your community to help the citizens of Morgantown exercise their Second Amendment rights at prices they can live with. We look forward to creating a welcoming environment in our stores focused on customers first, placing an emphasis on gun safety, promoting firearm ownership for personal protection, and fostering local relationships. Thank you very much!