The gun hysteria seems to have ebbed

*Feature Photo: Kevin Hermann is the manager at Riverton's Rocky Mountain Sporting Goods and everything else store on North Federal. Here he stands in front of a portion of the store's firearms wall. (Pitchengine Communities) * (Riverton, Wyo.) - At Rocky Mountain Sports in Riverton, manager Kevin Hermann said he's seen it all in his 24 years at the store. From a "hard-core hunting and fishing store" to today's business, which is an outdoors kind of super-store, with archery, camping, clothing, gold panning, a home kitchen and housewares section to a Hallmark Card store and more plus the original hunting and fishing emphasis. "It's been quite a ride, quite an education and we're really planning for what should be a very fun 25th anniversary next year," Hermann said Monday. "We had a great 20th-anniversary celebration and this one will be better." As Hermann tells it, he came with the building. He worked at the former Bi-Rite Drug and Sporting Goods store when it was sold by John Prideaux in January of 1993 and the new owner "threw me the keys and said you're the manager." That was Jim McCarter of Cody. Now Jim's son Brandon owns the business. [image: Inline image 1] "It's been quiet around here since the oil and gas folks left town," Hermann said. "Nothing like the hysteria around the presidential election gun scares that started with the Brady Bill passage in 1996," he said. The "hysteria" reached a peak with President Obama. "It was a national hysteria over potential changes in gun laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident. Nothing ever came from it, but the whole psyche of gun sales changed, it was quite the phenomenon." Hermann said background checks nationally in 2010 totalled about 685,000. In 2013, to give you a level of the national hysteria, the total was 14.8 million. "People really went crazy. As you know, per capita, Wyoming residents have the most firearms of any people in the nation. The average a couple years ago was seven guns per household. It's more than that now, much more, but not as much as some Interset sites would leave you to believe." Just as the oil and gas field business goes up and down, so does the firearms sales business, he said. "We're in a lull now, but we're seeing several new demographics emerge. Women between 38 and 52 have become first-time gun buyers in recent years, and so have professional businessmen 28 to 38 who are bicycle enthusiasts and rock climbers. And they research what they want very thoroughly and probably know more about a firearm than a clerk would. They come in very well prepared." Hermann said he's been happy to oversee the evolution of the store. "We didn't even sell t-shirts back then, and now the clothing section is quite large here. We just evolved into what our customers wanted. The growth has been immense." He noted that the store has a significant archery section, metal detectors are now sold, gold panning equipment is available, plus a wide range of camping tents and gear. What makes Kevin the happiest? "It's when one of our customers, some of whom are now third generation, come in with friends or family from out-of-state just to show them the store. That's the best." Hermann said the Fremont County community has been "fabulous" to the store. I've got the best job in town, I love the job and it's been a neat ride." #County10 #news