Loomis gun shop owner sets sights on education

By: Lien Hoang Loomis News Correspondent
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Business was slow for their landscape company, so Becky Gilbert asked her husband, Ed, what he’d choose if he could do anything he wanted. The result was EWG Guns Inc., a shop that opened on Horseshoe Bar Road in August. The business has new, used and collectable guns, plus has a wall of fame honoring military veterans. Ed Gilbert has a lifelong passion for guns. He and his wife are fond of saying he no longer works because he’s doing what he loves. “It’s wonderful because it gives him an opportunity to use his knowledge and he’s looking at all these things and researching more about guns,” said Becky Gilbert, who can handle a firearm, but said isn't her passion. She is a nurse, but also helps her husband run the store. EWG Guns carries a mix of hardware for self-defense, as well as for hunting, in styles from black plastic to wood and steel. Most days, Ed Gilbert is just happy to talk shop with visitors. He’s said he’s keen to make sure people are educated about what they’re buying. “I don’t want someone going home with something they’re unsafe with,” he said. In addition to match-making between buyer and product, Ed Gilbert collaborates with an independent firearms instructor. He said he refers customers to Ron Etchells, who is certified by the National Rifle Association and the state of California. Etchells works with several local gun stores and often brings his students into EWG as part of their orientation. “They’re a lot more professional than other gun shops,” Etchells said of the Gilberts’ shop. “Ed and Becky are honest people, which is hard to find in business nowadays.” Ed said his shop has been well-received by the community because many locals agree about the importance of the Second Amendment and the need to protect their families. He said he meets a lot of first-time gun buyers who are frightened by the crime rate and what they see on the news. But EWG isn’t all guns. The store windows bear a montage of the American flag, a bald eagle, and the words “Let Freedom Reign.” Inside is a wall of honor dedicated to servicemen and women. The Gilberts, who have lived in Newcastle for a decade, come from military stock and have two sons in the Air Force - Keith Benedict, 23, and Ryan Benedict, 12, both Del Oro High School graduates. The wall boasts photos of veterans who allow their photo to be displayed, including Fuzzy Jarnagin, the local American Legion post commander. “I think it’s a great idea, it’s huge to find a younger crowd so patriotic,” said Fuzzy, who is in his 70s and a regular at the store. The Gilberts are looking to expand the business. They are licensed to sell to law enforcement, not just civilians, and have a manufacturer’s license they hope to put into use as business grows. They also want to expand their reach into the community. EWG is joining the Chamber of Commerce and has contributed to a Lion’s Club fundraiser. It’s part of Ed Gilbert’s vision for the sort of place he wants to call home. Ed Gilbert said he enjoys being part of a small town community. He said he moved the family from Roseville to the country so they’d have more space to run, ride their quads, and raise goats and chickens. “It totally takes a village to raise a child, and we live and work in a great village,” he said. EGW Guns Inc. What: New and used gun sales Owner: Edward W. Gilbert Locations: 5913 Horseshoe Bar Rd. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday Information: 652-4867,