By Curt Blakeney
Gun control is one of the most hotly debated topics in America.
With a rise in senseless mass shootings that has gun control advocates in an uproar and gun supporters fiercely clinging to their Second Amendment rights, this debate seemingly has no end in sight. But no matter what side of the fence you’re on when it comes to gun control, no one will argue against better education: Americans becoming more knowledgeable and cognizant of changing gun laws and learning ways to safely and legally handle guns. A Scottsdale businessman, Alan Korwin, is at the forefront of gun education as book author and publisher.
Korwin, a staunch advocate of gun ownership and Washington politicians keeping their noses out of state’s affairs, recently released the 26th edition of his bestselling book, “The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide.”
“It doesn’t make sense to own a gun and not know the rules,” Korwin says.
Korwin’s path to publishing gun-law books was paved soon after he moved to Scottsdale in 1984. A New York City native, Korwin worked as a consultant for ITT, American Express and other high-tech firms when he arrived in the Valley. Incidentally, he wrote the original business plan that raised $5 million in venture capital and launched the legendary in-flight catalog SkyMall.
Surprised to see handguns and ammo being sold at a local supermarket (Smitty’s), he was quickly indoctrinated into Arizona’s controversial gun laws. He became fascinated with gun laws, which became the inspiration and mission for his first book. “The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide” took more than one year to write. During his arduous trek for the truth, Korwin contacted 20 different federal and state agencies and visited countless law libraries. The book eventually was released in 1989 and sold so well that a second release was issued less than a year later.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to be the first book in the country to gather and describe a state’s gun laws,” Korwin says. “No one else had ever published anything like that before. People simply owned guns. That was in 1989. Guns were so taken for granted in America back then it simply wasn’t needed, no one had ever thought to do such a thing.
“What did strike me at the time, when I had finished, was that I had become the only person in the state who actually knew what all the gun laws were,” he continues. “No one had spent the full year I just had finding them all, figuring them out, and describing them all in plain English. Of all the so-called experts I had met, some knew a bit of the picture, many had a completely wrong idea, but no one actually knew the whole thing until that point in time.”
To coincide with the release of his first book, Korwin also founded Bloomfield Press, his venture into book publishing. By 1992, Korwin’s book was earning more than his consulting work, prompting his wife and business partner, Cheryl, to make a pivotal observation. “Our money is in the books,” she quipped.
Korwin also realized it was easier to add books to the company’s lineup than to write them, so he expanded his roster by publishing works from other authors.
Bloomfield Press has since become the No. 1 publisher of gun-law books in the United States. The product line now exceeds 300 books and DVDs, along with buttons, stickers, package deals and speaking engagements.
“There was this pent-up desire in gun owners to know what the laws are,” Korwin says. “They understood that there were risks in gun ownership, legal land mines, but they had no idea what they were or how to find them. ‘The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide’ solved that problem and became popular. That’s why I believe the concept ought to be rolled out nationally.”
Korwin eventually went on to write or co-write gun-law guides for five states, and unabridged guides to federal gun law and Supreme Court gun jurisprudence, both of which broke new ground because nothing like that had ever been attempted. The sheer size of America’s gun laws had never been tallied, which these books accomplished.
“The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide” has sold more than 250,000 copies and counting. So what’s next for Korwin, the author of six books and co-author of eight others?
“Next is the expansion of the company to do what we’ve done locally on an industrial strength scale nationally,” Korwin says enthusiastically. “Mine is basically a cottage business…I’m a writer, working with my wife. What America needs is a full-blown national entity making the complicated gun laws easy to digest, on multiple electronic and paper platforms, from school-based education curricula to constitutional carry basics for the public. Every state should have a clear gun-owner’s guide, and best practices should circulate fluidly and seamlessly. I think of it as the national rollout of GunLaws.com. That’s what’s next.”
For more information about Korwin and his gun-law books, visit www.gunlaws.com.