The Gun Parlor (TGP) is an independent firearm store in Worcester, MA with an interesting backstory considering they had to fight government to get started.
Their inception was a bureaucratic endeavor having to deal with the Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals. Inclusive of the usual resistance to anything firearm-related in the Commonwealth was the additional personal opposition of several bureaucrats, and the administration at Worcester Polytechnical Institute due to the close proximity of their campus at Gateway Park. TGP’s new location was zoned as a manufacturing area which necessitated a zoning change to make it for business. Normally, zoning changes are a fairly common and mostly require application and justification.
Over what would seem to be the objection of the Worcester City Council, several bureaucrats, and WPI, it was approved, though due to the scrutiny that a business can undergo due to bureaucratic opposition on a personal level, they decided to limit their gun range to members-only.
Don’t hold that against the business considering such a roster should not exist. California, Maryland, and Massachusetts are the only three states that have such a thing. I have been against the AWR since I first learned about it, but it wasn’t until last month that I finally reached out to petition to have it repealed.
I will admit that I was originally skeptical to do business with them because of the design of their website. A website is the first thing that may customers see when Google you. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from doing business, but it makes me leery.
You can see the building from I-290 going westbound as you’re passing the entrance to I-190 just after entering Worcester. It’s likely the only firearms business whose presence is prominent to the public eye from a public roadway in the Commonwealth. It’s in a great spot: Exit the freeway, right on Prescott Street, and keep going until you see their sign.
My initial impression as my dad and I first entered was that it was clean, organized, and staffed by two knowledgeable salesmen. After greeting us, one of the guys offered to help us, and I mentioned I was looking for the S&W Shield in 9mm (the Shield). He asked me if I wanted to see it again before I bought it, to which I nodded. I’m certain my dad has seen the firearm before, but having worked in a gun store previously, etiquette states that you show the customer gun to verify certainty – after all, firearms are one item non-returnable once transferred to you.
After I confirmed wanting to buy it, he said he needed to finish up another sale first. The salesman took a few minutes to show me the accessories for the Shield, including a holster by 508Holsters, a local business out of Worcester. The background was what I call a ‘constitution print,’ with the words ‘We, The People’ across both sides. I was intrigued by it, which prompted the guy to give me an ad for the business. For a short time, I was enamored by it, but I also know that I will be carrying concealed 70-80% of the time. I tried it on to get the feel for an IWB with a dummy Shield; it’s an odd feeling if you’ve never had a thick, plastic device, sitting between your hip and your jeans, but given that I wear a toolbelt for eight hours with my current job, I could get used to it. On the flip side, many gun owners have expressed that if you carry daily, and you have to a period of time without, you feel half-naked without it.
He proceeded to hand me a Form 4473 to fill out while I waited for the first guy’s checks to finish. Filling out your information and answering the questions takes all of a few minutes. After I handed him back the form, he took a copy of my carry permit and driver’s license, and we made banter about the ridiculousness of the AWR and how the regulations strangle them for commerce. Next to us, getting his background check done for a Sig was a Navy Veteran; my dad and he shared old war stories. I find some fascination in watching my share his generational stories with someone nearly half his age considering the generation gap in experiences.
After the veteran’s check was finished, the salesman proceeded to do mine. The entire process took a grand total of fifteen minutes whereby I was approved. Returning to the discussion of the AWR, I mentioned that I had recently written to Rep. DeCoste about abolishing the AWR.
At the time of this visit, they were offering a free magazine with the firearm purchase, giving me total of (3) 8-round magazines. I added some snap caps to the order and cashed out. I was going to try out some holsters, but knowing that holsters are an item that you take up considerable time trying them on and walking around the store, I wanted to be respectful of my dad’s time. The whole process was smooth, and it was a professional and friendly transaction.
Since my dad had expressed interest in shooting, he took a brochure that explained the membership pricing.
Based on the experience, I would give them future business. Since I was in for a specific firearm, I didn’t look at their entire lineup to see how the prices compared with other stores, but I also know that their prices are going to be slightly less than corporate retail. Reality is that until the regulations in Massachusetts loosen up, prices are going to continue to be what they are, and their competition will be limited.