New gun store opens in town
South Lake Tahoe has a federally licensed firearm dealer for the first time in more than a decade.
South Tahoe Firearms opened Wednesday after receiving its first shipment of handguns: a Ruger .38 Special, a Springfield XD-40 and a Beretta PX-4 Storm.
The last such retailer, Monte Reece Guns, closed its doors sometime in 2001, according to city spokeswoman Nancy Kerry.
Motivated in part by the lack of firearm dealers in South Lake Tahoe, owner Donovan Calderon decided last spring to open his own shop.
“I’ve been a gun enthusiast for about 20 years,” Calderon said. “I was looking around town for something that just wasn’t there.”
Before opening, he had to complete requisite state and federal licensing procedures, a process he began in May.
“It took about six months to get the Federal Firearms License,” Calderon said. “Then there were some state hoops to jump through.”
Calderon also recently completed Handgun Safety Instructor Training in Placerville, Calif. This course qualifies him to issue Handgun Safety Tests and Certifications, required for handgun ownership in California.
Prospective handgun owners must pass a written Handgun Safety Test, available for a fee of $25.
“One you pass that, then we can start the process of purchasing the firearm,” Calderon said.
Once the product arrives at the store, the buyer must fulfill the mandatory 10-day waiting period before taking possession.
South Tahoe Firearms works with three wholesale distributors and can order any firearm, ammunition or accessory permitted under California law.
Currently located in The Sportsman at the corner of Lake Tahoe and Sierra boulevards, Calderon has one potential investor lined up and hopes to move to a bigger location before long.
He is also considering partnering with a certified safety instructor in Placerville to offer occasional safety classes in South Lake Tahoe.
Asked about public reaction to the new business, Calderon said “It’s all been great, it’s been really positive.”
South Tahoe Firearms, located at 2556 Lake Tahoe Blvd., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.