By Heather Meade
January 28, 2014
GREENVILLE - Two young Greenville High School (GHS) graduates have endeavored to support their community’s second amendment rights by promoting education and products related to gun safety and ownership through their business, American Armory, LLC.
John Wilking moved to Greenville when he was 10 years old, graduated from GHS and went on to attend some college, though he did not obtain a degree, he said. He worked as a distributor of aftermarket auto products, and then an opportunity arose to begin a new business, he said.
“I had an opportunity to open a gun shop, and Greenville being home, I wanted to do that here and give something back to the community,” Wilking commented. “When we started, we wanted to make sure that any American was able to afford a gun…Hopefully our business takes off and we’ll be able to offer some job opportunities to a couple of folks from the community, too.”
Wilking said that American Armory works with their customers, to be sure that everyone is able to affordably protect themselves and utilize their second amendment right to bear arms. They do this through offering a layaway plan, he said. They don’t just want to arm people, though - they want to educate them, Wilking said.
American Armory offers Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) classes through an NRA-certified instructor, with class-time at their location, 6716 U.S. Route 36, just three miles outside of Greenville, and shooting at another location. Both Wilking and his business partner, Daniel Singer, feel that CCW classes, regardless of whether students intend to actually carry a firearm, are a useful tool for every one to learn more about their second amendment rights, basic pistol use and safety, and how to be more aware of one’s surroundings.
“From a professional standpoint; I agree everyone should have a CCW – it’s for protection. It’s a basic course to teach safety and the responsibilities of owning a gun. Protection is the main thing; even Greenville isn’t as safe as it used to be,” said Singer, who grew up in Greenville. “I’d want a criminal to think twice about who has a gun – that will, in its own right, make someone think twice and there might be less crime. Places well-known to have open carry or conceal carry, their crime rates tend to be a little lower. It’s been proven that it makes you feel safer and more secure when you choose to carry a gun – you feel more in control, it boosts your confidence.”
Singer is a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq as a field communications operator before returning home and graduating from Edison’s police academy. Rather than becoming a police officer, however, Singer chose to pursue partnership in American Armory, LLC when the opportunity presented itself.
“I’ve been kind of a gun nut since I was younger,” Singer elaborated. He took some gunsmithing classes before the business opportunity arose, he said, but he didn’t feel there was much of a market in this area; American Armory, LLC gives him a chance to use the skills he’s learned, while also allowing him to give back to his community, he said.
Wilking and his former partner opened American Armory in March of 2013, with less than $6,00o in inventory, and in less than a year, they have increased their inventory by nearly 400 percent, he reported.
“The last year has been pretty crazy,” Wilking noted. When he’s not busy at the gun shop, he said he enjoys being outdoors, hunting, and enjoying time with his significant other.
Singer, when he’s not working, enjoys time with his wife, 2-year-old step son, and is looking forward to the birth of another child soon.
They both agreed that their main focus, and the reason they chose Darke County for their location, is to give back to the community where they grew up, and help people in whatever ways they can. Last year, American Armory supported an event at a local church, as well as sponsoring some area car shows, providing trophies and door prizes, Wilking said.
For more information on CCW classes, guns and ammo, gun accessories, gunsmithing and what American Armory, LLC may be offering in the near future, find and ‘Like’ them on Facebook or call 937-548-GUNS (4867).