Despite backlash, Bellevue gun shop owner decides not to sell long guns to most people under 21

BELLEVUE, Wash. --  Big sales and President's Day go hand in hand but at in Bellevue, persuasion is more important than profits.

“If there is a 5 percent chance it will prevent (a killing), it's worth it to me,” gun shop owner Jason Cazes said Monday.

After last week's Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Cazes sat down with Q13 News and suggested the idea to ban sales of long guns to anyone under 21 unless they have been trained in the military.

It’s the first time he has felt this way and he calls it a commonsense solution.

Under state law, you have to be 21 to own a handgun but only 18 to own a long gun like an AR-15.

“They are not emotionally mature enough to handle it; they have to be 21 to get an AR-15, I am sorry,” Cazes said.

Since making that comment last week, he's been getting a firestorm of angry phone calls and comments.

“I’ve been called a sellout, a traitor and every name in the book, really,” Cazes said.

Most of the backlash is happening on social media. The store's Facebook page is getting thousands of comments -- one of Cazes’ recent posts even reaching more than 23,000 people.

“If you looked at my reviews, they were all 5 stars; it's now all 1 star,” Cazes said.

But Cazes isn't backing off. Instead, he's doubling down.

He’s no longer waiting for the state laws to change. He is changing his store policy and refusing to sell long guns to anyone under 21.

He will make exceptions for the military and in some cases if a parent buys and takes responsibility for a long gun purchase for their children.

He’s fielding harsh words from angry people who disagree with what he is doing. Both from the left and right.

He says many on the left are asking why guns like AR-15s exist in the first place.

“Both sides don’t want to budge any, that's the issue we are dealing with,” Cazes said.

Cazes added that he understands why many gunowners feel threatened by his move.

“The gun side is saying no more laws, I don’t trust you, you are trying to take them all,” Cazes said.

But he has a bigger picture in mind.

His main motive is to protect AR-15s and high-capacity magazines from being banned all together.

“This is what I want to defend myself, it's a defensive rifle,” Cazes said.

Cazes wants to make a deal with the left -- promise to not ban and he won’t sell long guns to anyone under 21.

“Let’s make a trade, let’s make a bill into law. Who is going to have the guts to put this together? Is it going to be on the left or the right? We will see,” Cazes said.

Until then he's willing to take the heat.

“I am putting my business and my livelihood (on the line) for it,” Cazes said.

There are bills in Olympia similar to what Cazes is proposing. But insiders tell Q13 News that the bills don't have the support to pass this year.

But Cazes says if gun control advocates would be willing to budge and promise not to ban long guns, he believes the people on the right will also budge a little.