"I'm one of Britain's last gunmakers, my trade has been villainised and banks lump me with strip clubs"

507 次觀看・1 年前
The company now make bespoke guns for all purposes but say most orders are from people who enjoy shooting as a sport. One of the most famous orders they produced was a set of 20-gauge guns given to the late Queen Mother on her 21st birthday, which remain at Sandringham today. Despite the long history of his family-run trade, Steve says people fail to see guns as anything more than a weapon used by the criminal underworld. Steve, from Rednal, Birmingham, added: “There are many people who do not understand shooting as a sport. “Back in the day before gun licensing came into effect, it was like the Wild West. “We are talking a few centuries back, but everyone would walk round and carry guns and pistols for protection. “A gunmaker back then was like any other profession and was looked at the same way as someone being a butcher or a tradesman. “Now it is very different. “It does depend on who you speak to as people in the industry understand that a gun is not a weapon and used for sport and shooting. “But if someone asks about my job in a pub, most don’t understand. “I get asked all the time if what I do is legal and of course it is. "When there's been a shooting in the city, people somehow think I'm linked to it. I even had a camera crew outside my shop one time. "But I can assure you we are well-to-do businessmen. "The trade has got so many negative connotations around it today which didn't exist back years ago." Hortons and Sons make around two bespoke guns a month selling anywhere in the region of £23,000 to £98,000. Over the last decade, Steve has created firearms for clients across the globe including Scotland, America, South Africa and Australia. An order can take between nine to 18 months to complete, and each gun is engraved by hand with the company’s name on it. Before creating the one of a kind guns, Steve carries out thorough consultations with his clients, advising them on the wood, engraving style and finishes. They are are then made in the shop by two gunsmiths and one engraver. Steve is confident the business can carry on for centuries to come despite the once- thriving trade declining He added: “We make all the guns in-house with the help from a local engineering firm. “The only thing we buy in is the barrel tubes as the machinery to make these in the shop is so expensive. “My father worked for me for a short time, but he is now fully retired so at the moment, it is just me carrying on the family name. “I’ve got five boys though so hopefully one of them will carry on the profession. “People don’t realise that what we do is a craft. “The people that work for me and make the guns, most of them have never fired a gun in their life and never want to. “They enjoy the trade and see it as an art and no two guns we make are the same. “What we do is completely different to those making military weapons. “Everything is bespoke, and has to be perfect down to the finest details. “Shooting as a sport is never going to disappear and I hope this business is successful for generations to come.” * Birmingham's Gun Quarter was for 250 years the centre of the world's gun-manufacturing industry. Situated slightly north of the city centre, the area specialised in the production of sporting guns and military firearms. The first recorded gun maker in Birmingham was in 1630, and locally made muskets were used in the English Civil War. Weapons were later made for armies on both sides of the American Civil War and for British forces in both world wars.