Reno company develops storage, shipping for weapons

Dunlap Gun Storage owner John Dunlap inspects an M1 carbine rifle with Senior Firearms Sales Associate & Curator Brandon Wenschlag.

Dunlap Gun Storage owner John Dunlap inspects an M1 carbine rifle with Senior Firearms Sales Associate & Curator Brandon Wenschlag.

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John Dunlap, founder of venture studio D4 Media, said the late February launch of Dunlap Gun Storage stemmed in large part from a plethora of inquiries from firearms owners for responsible storage of their guns.

D4 Media has been focused on the outdoors and shooting sports industries since its founding in 2005. In 2013, Dunlap worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to secure a federal firearms license to legally transact in the buying, selling and gunsmithing of firearms. That license allowed Dunlap to begin offering free firearm appraisals for people who wanted to sell inherited firearms or divest their unwanted guns.

A decade of experience in shipping and handling thousands of firearms from all parts of the country led to expertise in dealing with the major package shippers and ATF requirements for the shipping and return shipping of firearms, Dunlap said.

“We pioneered some unique methodology of working with UPS to ship firearms, and we have had a lot of success in purchasing firearms collections from people throughout the United States,” Dunlap told NNBW. “Dunlap Gun Storage was founded as an extension of that work.

“Our mission with this service is to provide an offsite storage option for people who want to continue owning a firearm but might have limitations on the space they have, or they don’t have a secure environment to store firearms,” he added. “Some people have extended time away from home, like a long vacation or business trip or military deployment overseas. These people often don’t have a secure place to secure their firearms while they are away – and most self-storage facilities do not allow customers to store firearms or ammunition in their units.”

Another branch of clientele comes from people with court-ordered limitations on their access to firearms, Dunlap said. Technically, those people can still own firearms, but they can’t have access to them, he noted.

Dunlap said the new business venture also provides unmatched excellence in the preservation aspect of firearms storage that stems from its years of dealing with high-end and historical firearms from the American Revolution, Civil War, Wild West era and World Wars I and II.

“That’s the inventory we buy and store, and we have become very knowledgeable in not only appraising and identifying these guns, but also in their preservation,” Dunlap said. “Just like high-end art, firearms are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. The storage environment is crucial to maintain and preserve their integrity.

“Dunlap Gun Storage is still in its infancy,” he added, “but we have been storing firearms collections and guns on consignment since 2013. We are in the tens of thousands in terms of firearms temporarily stored and developing these preservation methods.”

Dunlap Gun Storage has created two unique storage environments that are temperature- and humidity-controlled, and it also provides additional levels of security and preservation treatments to ensure that the antique woods and metals in historical firearms continues to be preserved free of rust and corrosion, he said.

Dunlap Gun Storage has two secure facilities: a 32,000-square-foot space in Michigan, and a 10,000-square-foot facility in Reno. Firearms are stored in vaults inside the facilities for a secondary layer of security, and additional security measures include video surveillance, motion detection, and a physical presence monitoring the facilities.

“We developed that infrastructure for ourselves as we procured firearms collections,” Dunlap said.

Years of navigating the unique shipping challenges has also helped Dunlap Gun Storage offer a seamless shipping experience for its customers, he said.

“We have a decade of development experience that has been tried and true as we worked with UPS and other package handlers and navigated the requirements for shipping firearms,” Dunlap said. “Most people don’t realize that firearms are just like any other product in that they get shipped all over the United States from distributors to local gun shops – licensee to licensee – and also to non-licensees, such as the general public.”

Dunlap Gun Storage provides customers with all the packaging necessary to ship firearms, including prepaid shipping labels, packaging instruction, and how-to videos. Under firearms shipping agreements with the major package handlers, special attention and consideration are provided to all firearms shipments, Dunlap said.

Dunlap Gun Storage also has an enterprise-level insurance policy that issues real-time insurance policies on all of its shipments.

“I consider it the best insurance you can get when it comes to problems with packages in transit,” Dunlap said. “So not only do we get special attention due to the commodity that we are shipping through special firearms shipping agreements, but we have an industry-leading insurance policy that comes with it as well.”

Dunlap Gun Storage’s fee schedule is a case-by-case basis depending on the type of gun or size of the firearms collection, with discounts for active military personnel, Dunlap said. There’s a cost for onboarding new customers, along with costs for shipping. Recurring storage fees average about $20 a month per item, Dunlap said. Dunlap Gun Storage also offers live showings if customers want to view their firearms.

Returning firearms to customers comes with a few extra layers of security, Dunlap noted, due to ATF regulations in sending firearms to individuals.

“We have to comply with federal regulations in regard to background checks and getting firearms back to people in a safe and secure way,” Dunlap said. “Depending on the level of service provided, the firearm can either go back to the person directly, or it has to be sent to a licensed federal firearms dealer who conducts a background check.

“We also have some technology to verify identities, an adult signature is required on all returned shipping, and there are other safeguards to ensure guns go back to their rightful owners.”


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