KODIAK — For someone who grew up in Berkley, Calif., Rachid Arnick loves to shoot.
More than that, Arnick loves to help other people shoot.
Last month, Arnick became Kodiak’s first Class III weapons dealer, allowing him to sell silencers, fully automatic weapons and short-barreled firearms. His new business, Arnick Firearms, aims to connect Kodiakans with hard-to-find weapons they’ve dreamed about but couldn’t find.
“If you can find an opening or something somebody wants, try for it,” he said.
Arnick is a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, and he said his goal isn’t to compete with stores like Cy’s Sporting Goods and Mack’s Sport Shop, each of which sell firearms. Instead, he wants to be a service Kodiakans can use if those stores don’t have what they’re looking for.
Arnick said his path to the Class III license was a gradual one. “It progressed from the enjoyment of helping people with their guns . to wonder wow, maybe I should try to get a federal firearms license,” he said.
Once he had the license, friends on the Coast Guard base asked him about AR-15s (the civilian version of the M-16) and parts for that weapon. “Then it kind of progressed,” he said. “People were asking me about Class III stuff. . I looked into it and found if I did it, I’d be the only dealer on Kodiak, which kind of surprised me.”
While the Class III license allows Arnick to buy and sell fully automatic weapons, he said that wasn’t his goal. “My wife and I figured we don’t need to deal with that,” he said. “Really, full automatic weapons are extremely expensive . if somebody can afford that, they can afford the air flight to Anchorage to go to a dealer there.”
Instead, Arnick’s goal is to deal silencers and noise suppressors, which he pitches as a boon to hunters and people who don’t like to deal with excessive hearing protection. “It’s not like the movies where you hear a little ‘pew pew,’ but it’s amazingly quiet,” he said. “(With a silencer,) you can shoot your deer, skin out your deer and not worry about the bear sneaking up on you. This way it also muffles the dinner bell a little bit.”
Silencers can cost between $200 and $2,000, he explained, depending on the caliber, manufacturer and the material the silencer is made from.
Beyond the cost and a $200 federal tax, there is an extensive certification process to buy one. That process involves two sets of fingerprints, passport photos and an extensive background check that takes up to six months.
“There’s probably only so many people in town that are only going to buy,” he said, “but I’ve noticed it’s like tattoos for some people; once they get one, they keep going.”
In addition to the weapons and tools available under his Class III license, Arnick also offers his buying ability under the standard federal firearms license. That license allows a gun buyer to have a firearm shipped through the mail to Kodiak.
Arnick, who is forward-deployed to Barrow this month, first arrived in Kodiak in 1997. After being stationed in Oregon, he returned to Kodiak and hopes to remain. “I remember when I got here in ‘97, people would say you either love it or you hate it. I love it; I’ll be another one of those coasties who retires here,” he said.
Arnick said his ultimate goals for his business are humble. “At the moment, I don’t see myself making a huge storefront; I just see selling guns to people who enjoy guns. That’s really what I like doing.”