Slices of Life: Dave's Firearms is a place for camaraderie — and camouflage

May 15, 2014
Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette

Dave Costley tries to get Gus to quiet down at Dave's Guns in Mayview on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

By Gabrielle Irvin -- The sooty, unpolished wood floor in Dave's Firearms hasn't been refinished in years. Laid with random planks of different widths and lengths, it stretches across the small shop, supporting thinly stocked shelves that hold Hodgdon's Longshot Powder and Blackhawk! holsters. Safely guarded in a smudged glass case are Nighthawk Dominator and Falcon pistols. Along the shop's back wall lean Winchester and Benelli shotguns.

Although Dave's Firearms, in the country outskirts of east Urbana, remains stocked with shotguns, shooting targets and camouflage rifle slings, President Obama's recent gun control proposals have triggered a surge of firearms and ammunition sales, leaving Dave Costley's ammo shelves nearly bare because gun owners are buying ammunition in bulk, fearful of new weapon control laws.

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This story was written by a University of Illinois journalism student in Professor Walt Harrington’s Literary Feature Writing class taught in collaboration with The News-Gazette. Funding for the class, which was taught at the newspaper’s headquarters in downtown Champaign, came from the Marajen Stevick Foundation. The story was part of an occasional series titled “Slices of Life” that ran in the newspaper’s Sunday Living section. All the stories in the series are also collected in the book “Slices of Life.”