By Robert Herrington
“We have your back, who has your soul?”
That question is painted on the back wall of BareArms Firearms & Accessories, something one might not expect to see at a specialty store. But Don Perkins II is not your typical firearms store owner. An educated, former corporate executive, Perkins is an extremely religious man who turned his passion of firearms into Noblesville’s newest business.
“Surprisingly, I haven’t hunted since I was 18 years old,” he said.
Perkins was reared in the country in northern Indiana and was an outdoor enthusiast with his parents and brother. In his earliest memories, Perkins recalls carrying his BB gun while hunting with his father.
“I remember cleaning and shooting guns ever since I was old enough to walk,” he said. “I got away from it a little bit as I moved around.”
Perkins got back into his passion of firearms with the help of his son, Don Perkins III, who was a police Explorer in high school before attending and graduating from the Indiana State Police Academy.
“When he went to the academy it got me really interested with firearms and relearning firearms,” he said.
Before taking a “giant leap of faith” and opening his own business, Perkins was an executive of several trucking companies.
“It was an extremely difficult decision because I had all the security of different corporations. It was very hard to jump off the end of the pier not knowing if I could swim or not, and that’s where my faith took place,” he explained. “My faith played a tremendous part during this. I took this to the Lord – can we do it and scripturally do it? There is nothing in the scripture that says we can’t.”
Prior to the store opening on Nov. 12, Perkins had his pastor come in and dedicate the business to his Lord and savior. With his family and friends standing in a circle in the middle of the store holding hands, Perkins’ pastor prayed, “Whatever we sell would not be used in a negative manner.”
“We don’t want any of these things used in a negative manner,” Perkins said about his one of his biggest fears in running a firearms store.
For those worried about public safety with a gun store now open in the community, Perkins brought in law enforcement and security personal to address security issues to make the store as safe as possible. In addition to having a state-of-the-art security system installed and police patrolling the store several times at night, the store is the former location of Community Bank, 2370 Conner St., next to Noblesville Honda.
“It’s as safe as a tank,” said Perkins. “There’s nothing to steal. All firearms are stored in the bank vault every night.”
Starting a firearms store is different than opening other businesses. Perkins said it takes a minimum of three months just for certification. He said BareArms is certified by the Noblesville Police Dept., Hamilton County Sheriff’s Dept., Indiana State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives and is regulated by the ATF. Before a firearm is purchased, Perkins must comply with the regulations of every agency and must call the ATF for approval before completing a transaction.
“The ATF is very, very strict on who can get a firearm,” he explained.
“I’m a gun enthusiast. I’m exploring being a part of this facet. I’ve seen many gun stores come and go in the state. I have observed Don Perkins’ work – his attention to safety, detail and responsibility – and in my opinion it’s second to none,” added Tony Craig, a part-time worker at BareArms and a local law enforcement officer.
“Firearms are a wonderful tool for sporting and target practice, but when firearms are in the wrong hands bad things happen. What’s important to remember is what an individual chooses to do with a firearm they purchase, they must be held accountable.”
Since Perkins also is certified, he has the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason, which he has done already since the store opened. Perkins said he didn’t like the conversation someone was having while he was on the phone with the ATF. While the customer was approved, Perkins refused to sell him the firearm.
“I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I’m a son and I live in this community. I want people in this community safe. I want them educated,” he said. “Gun ownership is about being responsible, just as if you’re driving a car.”
BareArms is the second firearms store in Hamilton County – the other is in Sheridan, His & Her’s Terget Sports. Perkins is unsure but was told the last gun store in Noblesville was located on South Ninth Street more than 20 years ago.
“The focus in starting this store was to be a local, faith-based organization focused on a local customer base. We built a store with a comfortable and safe environment,” he said. “We want people to use our resources (both firearms and Christian bookshelves are available) and to hold Bible studies here. There is no bad question about a firearm.”
Perkins said the store’s inventory includes 50 handguns, 40 long guns, three different lines of holsters, and varying kinds of shooting, targeting, cleaning and support supplies. Firearms are new and used and Perkins said purchases can be made outright or with a trade. BareArms is open 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Tuesday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information call 770-6626 or visit www.barearmsllc.net.