"Let's face it: The answer isn't impinging on the rights of law-abiding citizens, and the rank and file police officers know that," Siegler says.
Cobra Enterprises of Utah, a firearms manufacturer, sells handguns finished in traditional colors such as Chrome, Black Powder Coat and Satin Nickel, as well as in Ruby Red, Majestic Pink and Imperial Purple, to name a few. The company's president, Bill Gentry, who has 24 years of experience with firearms, believes that it shouldn't matter what the gun looks like, but rather, the answer is a color blind one, concerning practices in safety and storage. Gentry says that if guns look like toys, it's not a manufacturer's fault.
"When I was a young man and I would go and buy myself a cap gun, they were normally black or chrome: They looked like guns," Gentry says. "It's up to the parents to make sure that their guns are properly secured and aren't lying around looking like a toy. It doesn't have anything to do with what the gun looks like; if it's being taken care of properly, kids can't get to them."
Lauer's uncertain of where his custom weaponry business will be 30 years in the future; there are too many unknowns. But for this year, he plans to continue the remodel of his showroom in Chippewa Falls. A few of the new features in the revamped retail space will include diamond plate detailing, a fog machine and machine-gun fire, as well as a few surprises. Lauer says he also plans to hold his ground when it comes to Bloomberg's blacklisted colors, and states he will follow the law but doesn't plan to take any colors off his shelves. In fact, a recent news story on Bloomberg's campaign against brightly colored firearms has inspired a new color from its headline, "Color Mike Furious," which Lauer says will be a shade of flesh-toned red.
Business was growing before the Bloomberg exploit, but since then, Lauer says business has exploded, though didn't divulge numbers. When it comes to Bloomberg's interest in the modest Northern Wisconsin-based company, Lauer — and his bank account — are tickled pink to have caught the anti-gun mayor's eye. Companies across the nation should cross their fingers and hope for the Bloomberg treatment, because it looks like it's good for business when the mayor of New York City does know you from Adam, especially if you're Steve.
Editor's note: As of press time, Mayor Bloomberg had not responded to calls for comment.
Steve Lauer could barely keep up with the phone calls that morning. After Bloomberg picked out Lauer, among two other firearm finishing companies, in June 2006 for manufacturing and marketing candy-colored paints for guns, Lauer Custom Weaponry was the hot news story of the day, spurring interest from a variety of well-known New York-based news media, like The New York Times, who called him and asked for comment before Lauer had even heard about the press conference.
But Lauer says he's not the kind of guy to take a punch — such as Bloomberg's lashing comments and misleading assumptions about DuraCoat's purpose — lying down.
In February of this year, Lauer came out with a line of firearm finish colors which were named for each of New York City's five boroughs, where DuraCoat has been banned at the mayor's request. The new colors are accompanied by specially designed guns, patterned in brick and mortar with the NYC boroughs graffitied in their respective colors. Since the debut of the Bloomberg Collection, Lauer has fielded a whole new round of attention from the press.
But Lauer Custom Weaponry has yet to market the idea to the press, though lack of news releases and prominent display on the company's Web site hasn't kept the news media at bay. In a March 21 story, the New York Daily News stated Lauer was taunting the anti-gun mayor by naming the collection after him.