Beverly Hills residents flocking to buy guns for self-defense as violent crime soars in L.A.
By Cassie B. // Jan 12, 2022

Los Angeles’ increasingly liberal policies have led to rises in crime, driving many residents to take safety into their own hands and arm themselves.


Robberies, car thefts and home invasions are just a few of the problems residents are increasingly contending with. Russell Stuart, the owner of Beverly Hills Guns, said that sales have been booming as the city notes a 25 percent rise in violent crime.

He said: “Firearms and public safety is not a rich issue. We’ve seen an uptick in watch robberies, car thefts, follow-home invasions because of the climate of crime in Beverly Hills and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. People have been driven more to focus on their own personal safety.”

Many of his customers are liberal Hollywood elite types who once claimed to be opposed to guns. Stuart has been encouraging customers to go to shooting ranges so they can gain a better understanding of safely operating firearms and has proposed establishing a shooting range in Beverly Hills.

Stuart’s store is the only gun shop in Beverly Hills. It is located in an office building with no sign on its doors and runs by appointment only, offering a “concierge service” to affluent clientele. He reports seeing increasing numbers of panicked residents coming in after a series of high-profile smash-and-grab robberies and violent home invasion robberies. He has seen anxious actors, film execs, real estate moguls and business owners coming in, many of whom are buying a firearm for the first time.

He told L.A. Mag: “This morning I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, ‘I want a home defense shotgun.' Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad. We’re used to this being like Mayberry.”

The store is part of a larger security company he owns, the Force Protective Agency, which he says has been getting inquiries about even more elaborate security measures, such as safe rooms, bulletproof glass in homes, and armored luxury cars. One client reportedly asked about having “Tony Stark-level” security with half a dozen drones hovering over his home.

Crime has been rising since Black Lives Matter protests

He traces the rise in demand for security to the Black Lives Matter protests in May 2020, which saw looting on Rodeo Drive that left boutique storefront windows shattered at luxury stores like Chanel, Gucci and Dior.

In one of the more recent high-profile events, a $500,000 Richard Mille watch was stolen from a diner at gunpoint at the Il Pastaio restaurant. In another, armed robbers crashed a Pacific Palisades holiday party to take people’s jewelry. Another incident that has residents on edge was a December home invasion robbery that left 81-year-old philanthropist Jacqueline Avant dead.

Security experts have been encouraging those in the area to avoid going out with flashy jewelry and pricey vehicles and to try to keep a lower profile.

In December, the Los Angeles Police Department said that violent crimes such as robbery, aggravated assault and homicide had risen 6.2 percent so far for the year, while homicide had risen 13 percent since the previous year and 52.2 percent compared to 2019. Total violent crimes in Beverly Hills, meanwhile, climbed 25 percent in the previous 12 months.

The problem is being fueled by the fact that many suspects have been going free after meeting no-bail policies recently put in place for certain crimes with the aim of reducing jail populations during the pandemic. Not surprisingly, some of those concerned about crime in the city have identified Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s progressive policies when it comes to prosecution and sentencing as being a big part of the problem.

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