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David Pidgeon: all fired up

"We didn't need a license until 1968, the year of the King and Kennedy murders," said Pidgeon, "and there was no background check until that time. If I knew the customer there was no problem-no forms, no federal paperwork to fill out."

Ah, the good old days. Since 1968, lawmakers and special interest groups have tried to chip away at the U.S. Second Amendment with mixed results. In some respects, as Pidgeon sees it, gun control efforts have ended up with more citizens armed.

"I never got into the assault weapons end of it," Pidgeon said, "I'm not happy with the importation of these weapons; it has done nothing for the American worker."

Perhaps Pidgeon's luckiest business break came in the 1970s when he linked up with Montana wheat farmer, turned gun dealer, Joe DeSaye of J&G Sales fame.

Finding a loophole in Smith & Wesson's now defunct regional gun distribution plan, Pidgeon would buy S&W firearms for DeSaye to help build up what has since gone on to become the 500-pound gorilla of Internet gun dealers, J&G Sales.com. For a 15-year period, Pidgeon raked in $250,000 in annual sales with DeSaye "partnership" until S&W changed its ways during the mid 1980s.

Pidgeon's business has always focused on the hunter and gun hobbyist. But occasionally, he has benefited from pop cultural eruptions such as Hollywood movie fads. Starting in 1971, Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" film series spurred a new generation to firearms-big caliber handguns. The fictional Dirty Harry .357 S&W Magnum became the thing to pack. But an increase in violent crime in the 1970s was also spurring customers to take action regarding their own defense-just as America's ubiquitous liberal judges, who seemed to relish making laws from the bench, appeared to be siding with criminals and not the victims.

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