Gun Shop

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Old West Gun Room

April 2003

Re: Getting rid of guns I inherited

When I cleaned out my father's hall closet after he went into assisted living, I found, to my shock, two old guns. I took them to a gun shop in El Cerrito, just a few buildings below San Pablo opposite the El Cerrito Plaza. I don't remember the name, but it's hard to miss; the building is made out of stone and is very idiosyncratic. Of all the misery associated with dealing with my father's illness and passing, and of trying to sort through his stuff, I have to say, much to my surprise, that dealing with the guns was actually--surprisingly enough-- pleasant. Hard to believe. The shop owner was courteous and warm, and gave me a fair price. I recommend the store. Brian

If I ever had to do anything with guns (can't imagine what), I would go to the Old West Gun Room on Carlson just off San Pablo in El Cerrito. The reason is that a good number of years ago there was a crazy guy who shot up a restaurant near the university. It turned out that he had bought his gun at The Old West, but that the owner had made every legal effort he could to not sell a gun to this guy because he had a bad feeling about him. Because of the weak gun control laws, he finally had no recourse. That sounds like a responsible person to me.
I'm a prop person for a theater and occasionally need to provide guns for our actors to use onstage. In general, I'm not a big fan of gun use and abuse, but , as it's part of my job, I'm required to do business with gun shops. Pretty much the only place I'll go to these days is the Old West Gun Shop in El Cerrito, right across Carlson from Payless Shoes on San Pablo. Also next to Tulip Floors. Anyway, the 2 guys that usually work there are very nice, respectful of my little theatrical needs, [even happily donating thousands of empty shotgun shells to me for one recent show] and quite interested in ''antique'' guns, or ones that are totally just in the shop for historical purposes. Jean
First of all, you do not have to register guns in CA so do not worry about that. You have to have a background check when you buy one but you do not have to register them. But regardless, I agree that you should get them out of your house for a lot of reasons, mainly that they make you uncomfortable. Most police departments have discontinued their buy back programs b/c federal funds have been cut off for this. I wouldn't go that route anyway b/c some antique guns are illegal under local ordinances and you do not want the headache in case one of your guns is banned. Besides, your guns may be worth money! I would go to the Old West Gun Room in El Cerrito, across from the El Cerrito Plaza. The owner is a Berkeley native and a totally honest person, which is not universal in the gun business. He will give you a fair price for your guns and tell you what to do with anything he won't buy. He is, however, about the go on vacation for a few weeks. In the mean time, put them away where children or robbers can't find them. Elizabeth
Since a number of people wrote back to recommend the gun shop near the El Cerrito Plaza for disposing of your guns, I felt I should let you know about a recent incident involving that shop. While I don't doubt what the recommenders said about the reliability, responsiveness, responsibility, etc. of the people at this particular gun shop, a terrible accident occurred a couple of weeks ago in this very place. A couple of young men came in to steal some weapons, and the two people working in the store fired on them in self-defense. A stray shot hit and wounded a sixteen- year-old boy who was walking on San Pablo by the PayLess Shoe Store. This incident was written up in the weekly local paper The Journal, should you want to consult that article. I am writing this because I am the poster who originally recommended that you have the pistols destroyed, and I believe very strongly that guns, even in the hands of responsible citizens, are the source of uncontrollable pain and mayhem. I believe that this story proves my point, and I would like to see that gun shop, no matter how responsibly run, out of our neighborhood.
yours in peace
[Editor] Excerpt from a July 5, 2003 article in the Contra Costa Times (

A teenager shot while passing by an El Cerrito gun shop during a robbery has sued the store owner he says put him in the hospital. The 15-year-old Richmond resident was walking home from school along Carlson Boulevard on March 26 when he was shot in the arm. ... Police say that the incident began about 3 p.m., when a man rang the Old West Gun Room's bell and was buzzed into the shop. After a few minutes of small talk, Weaver became uneasy and asked the man to leave, according to police. The suspect opened the door, but instead of leaving, let in two other men, one of whom had a shotgun. Police say Weaver and the customer both drew handguns and fired. Reynolds, who was walking outside, was hit. He stumbled into a nearby shoe store before collapsing.