For 10 years, Doug and Kristin daSilva have operated Red Rock Firearms in Enid on the premise of promoting the sport of shooting, gun safety and a strong belief in the second amendment.
Doug says the nation's forefathers put in the right to bear arms right behind the freedom of speech and religion.
"Without that, you can't guarantee anything else,'' he said. "It is literally a production of our liberties.''
daSilva is leery of gun control laws. He said no one wants to put firearms in the hands of a criminal but feels universal background checks have created an industry trying to get rid of the target sales of firearms guaranteed by the 1986 Firearms Protection Act.
"If you sit down and read what's in those bills, it's very counter to the second amendment,'' he said.
daSilva points out "the percent of people who actually commit crimes with firearms is so small that if you compare it to traffic accidents and DUIs, I imagine the DUIs is five times the number of people if you look at the total number of drivers compared to the DUIs on the road. That's why I hate someone who does something negative with a firearm because it gets so much publicity. You never hear anything positive about the firearms.''
daSilva attributes the rise in gun sales "is the social environment that we're in now.''
The shooting range sponsors the national anthem on KOFM Radio and daSilva speaks with pride of his son Austin, who is stationed with the U.S. Marines in Norfolk, Va.
"We're very patriotic,'' daSilva said.
Warren Wilson, a long-time law enforcement officer, oversees the education classes.
They include beginner classes to intro to handguns Level 1 ($35) and Level 2 ($35), conceal carry/open course, basic handgun practical skills ($35), handgun clinic ($35), concealed carry concepts ($100 plus $20 range fee), defensive handgun ($120) and handgun instructor development ($240).
Both Doug and Kristin grew up around firearms. Both of their families sold guns and Doug was active in shooting competitions.daSilva said safety was drilled in both him and Kristin growing up around firearms.
"Safety is a big part of firearms ownership,'' daSilva said. "There's a market of people who don't feel comfortable about carrying a weapon for self defense. Warren has been into firearms pretty much his whole life.''
Both beginner classes last three hours, Wilson estimates those classes are from 75 to 80 percent women.
Wilson said the beginning classes are "just the basic stuff, hammering on safety. Our community motto is service comes only second to safety. We make sure that everybody is safe and bad things don't happen. A lot of our first time shooters aren't kids anymore. The brain doesn't work like it used to. I do a lot of work with phobic students, who have to overcome their fear of guns.''
Level 3 is more work on advance stuff, including working with the holster.
The SDA course an eight-hour course conducted by the daSilvas either on a Saturday or Sunday. Oklahoma has a reciprocal agreement with 38 other states on handgun permits. It allows the carrier to carry his or her gun out of state. An abbreviated class costs $35.
The defensive handgun tries to teach how a criminal thinks and operates, Wilson said, and how to recognize problems down the road "so you won't get in trouble.''
"I teach my students to try to avoid trouble so they can have happy, healthy lives,'' he said. "If you can't avoid the situation, we make sure that you can use those skills effectively and not add to the problem.''
Wilson said the education of the firearms owner should be a continuing affair.
"I have had about 800 hours of specific training, but I still to go to class every time to learn something new,'' he said. "You have to embrace being a student of firearms. You can't know it all.''
Wilson emphasizing just trying to hide a firearm from children isn't enough in the home anymore.
"Kids have an amazing ability to outsmart parents,'' Wilson said. "Don't underestimate their ability to get into stuff. It's incredible. The level I, II and III classes are geared toward something that might go wrong. I know training works. Just from the self defense courses implemented in the mid-1990s, you can see firearm accidents have gone down because of education training.''
daSilva said instructors like Wilson are the reason it's been successful.
"The nice thing about the firearms community is most people who own firearms want to give people a positive experience with firearms,'' he said. "You don't see too many bad instructors out there.''
daSilva said he and Kristin still secure their guns from the children living at home even though they have been trained.
"Kids don't make the most mature decisions,'' he said. "That doesn't mean you need to keep the kids away from guns. They are more than welcome to come here and shoot. I'm a firm believer that gets rid of the curiosity they may have of guns and they won't explore it on their own.''
The daSilvas put their main store, located about three miles off Carrier Road (6226 E. Lake Hellums Road) in 2015 and added an indoor firing range in 2018. It is the only indoor firing range within 80 miles of Enid.
"It's still growing,'' Doug said. "The big thing is getting the word out.''
daSilva still prefers to shoot at the store's outdoor firing range, but said with winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, it's nice to have the option to go indoors.
DaSilva estimates 30 to 40 percent use the indoor range.
Costs for the outdoor facility is $10 for the lane rental and $3 per person up to four. There is no time limit. The range is open 10 a.m. to 30 minutes before sundown and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Costs for the indoor range is $10 per hour for the first person on the range and $8 for others.
Memberships are $150 for individuals and $200 for families. Another $50 is added for the indoor range. That comes with unlimited time on the firing range. daSilva said that makes it "a lot more economical.''
"We get all kinds,'' daSilva said. "We get a lot of medical professionals, lawyers all the way down to blue collar. Firearms ownership builds bridges through a lot of societal norms I guess. This gives a man an outlet to shoot at at a reasonable price and not out on some farmers property and shooting and breaking the law. We have customers who have deer leases in Cleo Springs that still come out here and shoot because they don't want to drive all the way to Cleo Springs. It's the convenience.''
Success on the range is much like other sports and activities, daSilva. The more practice, the better you get.
The recreational shooting has been effected by the increase cost of ammunition, DaSilva said.
"People like to keep a comfortable supply and they don't like to use it up,'' he said.
From March to September last year, DaSilva said 16 million background checks. Figure two boxes of ammo for each gun and that's 32 million boxes. He said manufactures have been unable to keep up with the supply.
"Our costs have gone up because of demand,'' he said. "We have to start raising prices. We can get you the ammo, it just depends how much you want to pay for it.''
DaSilva said the customer base has remained solid, some from word of mouth.
"We get a lot of word of mouth, that's one of the nice things about being in a small community,'' he said. "At the same time, if something goes wrong, word of mouth can hurt you.''
The DaSilvas typical customer has "changed a lot'' over the last year, Doug said. Forty to 50 percent of the customers are first-time firearms operators. That's one reason for the emphasis on safety classes.
"It's not like it's portrayed in the media where everybody that is a gun owner is reckless,'' DaSilva said. "We're not. People want to be responsible firearms operators. We want them to be educated and them to know their rights. The educated person is less likely to break the law if they know the law. We want responsible firearms operators. That's been real evident with all of the new gun owners and the uptake we see in education classes.''
The first-time buyer, daSilva says needs to research what type of weapon they need to buy. That's one reason the store offers rentals. He recommends customers try the gun before the purchase
"We have 30 or some handguns out there,'' he said. "We actually get a lot of people to take the classes, rent the guns for the class to get safety training and then purchase the firearm they want,'' he said. "You like to know something before you spend $300 to $400. They can try it on before the buy it per say.''
The experienced shooter often would want to try a different gun after having a weapon for 10 years or so, daSilva said.
Compacted concealed pistols designed for self defense is the most popular item along with sporting rifles. The rifle is versatile and has an adjustable stock that can fit both a youth or an adult. The recoil is not high. Any size person can shoot it, daSilva said.
Kristin's presence has attracted a number of female customers.
"Female customers like to come into a gun store and talk with a lady to get her point of view,'' Doug said.
"A lot more women have been buying guns,'' Kristin said. "It makes a difference for them to talk with me. I grew up around guns. My dad had a store.''
For information,contact Doug at 580-231-9835 or Kristin at 580-747-6287 or e-mail email@example.com.