While Dick’s Sporting Goods and Superstore Company Fred Meyer will either stop selling guns and ammunition or only sell to those over the age of 21, one Pennsylvania gun-maker’s vision is to see every American own an AR-15.
However, this gun-maker is not your ordinary 2nd Amendment supporter. His name is Justin Moon, 47, a South Korean by birth and a son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was the founder of the controversial Unification Church in South Korea.
Justin Moon lives in Pennsylvania and makes his living as a firearms manufacturer, Kahr Arms, which he founded in 1995, makes tens of thousands of pistols and rifles each year from facilities in Minnesota and Massachusetts, including a semiautomatic version of the Thompson submachine gun, the “Tommy Gun” that mowed down Chicago gangsters in the 1920s.
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An AR-15 semiautomatic rifle sits perched on a rack, higher than all the other things that decorate Justin Moon’s office in the Poconos.
He built the rifle himself, and it rests above his diplomas from Harvard and the University of Miami and shelves jammed with thick economics textbooks and business guides. Last week he sat at a desk beneath it, discussing a dead-serious plan to make that black gun even more ubiquitous in America.
“I mean, every American should really have an AR,” Moon said. “It’s America’s rifle.”
Moon canceled plans to build a plant in New York State, where his headquarters were located, after more restrictive gun-control measures were passed there in 2013 that expanded bans on military-style weapons and limited magazine sizes. He looked to Pennsylvania, which he described as “very gun-friendly.” In 2015, local and state elected officials helped him cut the ribbon on his new headquarters and retail store in a 620-acre industrial park he purchased off a winding road in Pike County.
“I think I share the values of many Pennsylvanians,” Moon said. “I fish, hunt, camp, you name it. Pennsylvania has a strong rural population with strong values. They love America. They love freedom.”
Last month, Moon’s brother, Pastor Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, brought worldwide attention to rural Pennsylvania when he encouraged couples to bring their AR-15s to a marriage blessing at his World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland, about 20 miles from Kahr Arms. The Bible references Christ ruling with a “rod of iron,” and Sean Moon believes that rod is the AR-15, which is not made from iron.
“His reading of [the Book of] Revelation and the rod of iron makes sense to me,” said Justin Moon, a church member.
Next to his office is the Tommy Gun Warehouse, his retail store, where many of his brother’s followers came shopping before the marriage blessing. Moon stood in front of a wall of AR-15s, only a few of which bore the “Greeley” stamp. But soon, when the adjoining manufacturing plant is fully fired up, Moon said, he’ll roll out a “Thompson AR-15,” priced just under $700, in larger numbers. He currently employs 25 people in the office, store, and web shop.
“I’m going to make a standard AR-15 with my brand on it,” he said. “The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. It’s the most common rifle in America.”
The NRA estimates that eight million Americans own an AR-15.
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