A Moncton area survivalist store and gun shop that gained notoriety following the RCMP shootings in the southeastern New Brunswick city in June has closed its doors after only 10 months.
But the owner of Worlds End Warehouse, Dave Ford, insists the publicity was actually good for business and he will continue to operate online.
The closure of the storefront on Trites Road in Moncton's Riverview suburb over the weekend had nothing to do with any blowback related to its tenuous connection to admitted murderer, Justin Bourque, Ford told CBC News on Tuesday.
Although Worlds End did employ one of Bourque's friends, with whom Bourque spent increasing amounts of time at a shooting range, the store had issued a statement on June 5 distancing itself from Bourque.
"The Worlds End Warehouse is a fully authorized [and] licensed firearms dealer, with a spotless record, and we promote firearms for recreational hunting, target shooting and law enforcement/security," the statement said.
"However, to prevent pointless media speculation we can confirm that the suspect in this case whilst known personally by employees of our store, was never a customer and never purchased firearms or ammunition from us."
Ford says the attention his store got after the shootings and after Bourque's Armageddon-type Facebook rantings went viral "helped business."
'There's no such thing as bad publicity.' - Dave Ford, owner of Worlds End Warehouse
"There's no such thing as bad publicity," he said.
The decision to close the Worlds End storefront was related the pending opening of two big box stores that will offer much of the same inventory, said Ford.
Cabela Incorporated, an American hunting, fishing and outdoor equipment retail giant, will open its first Atlantic Canadian store off Mapleton Road next year in a 50,000-square-foot building.
Bass Pro Shops will also be offering 110,000-square feet of fishing, camping, hunting and other outdoor products next year at the now defunct Crystal Palace Amusement Park location in Dieppe in 2015.
Moncton's Canadian Tire also sells firearms.
'We love guns'
Worlds End Warehouse's mission is to "make disaster preparedness fun," according to its website and Facebook profile.
It carries non-perishable food, water filtration equipment and outdoor supplies.
It is also "the first preparedness store in Canada to also stock guns — we love guns :-)," the websites state.
Some area residents CBC News spoke to on Tuesday, like Clary Carrier, believe the issue of gun control needs to be reopened in light of the Moncton shootings.
"You know, do we need psychological testing before we allow people to have guns and stuff? What needs to happen to stop shootings like this? It definitely has to stop," he said.
Stephanie Lute agrees.
"I think a lot of people have withdrawn to understand that the issue is bigger than the first paragraph that we might have to say about gun control. I think it runs deeper, and I think we realize this now," she said.
Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the Moncton Mountie shootings.
A sentencing hearing will be held on Oct. 27.
Bourque, who could be facing consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years, remains in custody.
He was arrested just after midnight on June 6, following a two-day manhunt that involved hundreds of police officers from across the country and caused a lockdown of much of the city of Moncton.
Up until 2011, the longest sentence for murder was life imprisonment, but with a chance of parole after 25 years, regardless of the number of victims.
Convicted multiple murderers served their life sentences concurrently, meaning they were subject to only one parole ineligibility period.
But under the federal Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act, passed on Dec. 2, 2011, judges may now impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods for those convicted of more than one first-degree or second-degree murder.
The RCMP officers who were killed on June 4 were:
- Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John.
- Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que.
- Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, originally from Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
The RCMP officers who were wounded on June 4 were:
- Const. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois.
- Const. Marie Darlene Goguen.
An earlier version of this story named a Worlds End Warehouse employee as a "friend" of Justin Bourque, based on what the store's owner told CBC. The man has subsequently denied he was a friend of Bourque's. This story has been updated to reflect that.Sep 04, 2014 2:34 PM AT