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First Black-owned gun shop to open in Indy

A 39-year-old Indianapolis native will become the first-ever African American owner of a gun store in the state.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been eight years in the making for Ryan Vaden and his dream come true.

The 39-year-old Indianapolis native will become the first-ever African American owner of a gun store in the state.

For the past 30 days, he has been working with contractors to outfit the interior of the building and preparing for the serious grand opening.

Prior to opening, he decided to follow the advice from IMPD not to publicize the location until he was ready to do business. 

Vaden wants to hold a huge grand opening to safely welcome the public. 

Opening during the pandemic comes with an entire set of safety challenges. Vaden has a cleaning schedule and will mandate that every weapon is cleaned after being touched by a customer or employee. 

Owner Vaden will be hands-on, making sure customers are happy with purchases and service. He has a huge social media presence with lots of people showing support.

Credit: Ryan Vaden
First Black gun store owner in Indiana, Ryan Vaden.

Last week, crews installed security and safety measures like the storefront window tint. The alarm system has already been installed too.

Vaden told 13News he's been working on this dream for at least the past eight years. 

The 39-year-old grew up as a big fan of the late Don Davis from Don's Guns. He made mention to Don on several occasions that one day he too wanted to sell guns. 

"Don sold me my first gun when I was about 21," Vaden said. "I would always ask him a lot of questions. When I told him about my dream, he would just say, 'you don't want to get into this business.'"

But Vaden kept pursuing his dream. He saved every dollar he could afford in a span of those eight years. Vaden would use his time at the library with his son to read up on the Second Amendment and gun shop ownership. 

Even when applying for a business license with the state, the representative automatically assumed Vaden would be one of the employees and not the owner.  

"It was really hard for me," Vaden said. "I didn't have any type of resources I could reach out to like other gun store owners either because one, they laughed at me or they kind of looked at me like, you got to be crazy."

Vaden's Firearms will not only offer weapons and ammunition, but Vaden plans to hold gun safety and education classes for the entire family. 

That will include teaching people about their Second Amendment rights when it comes to gun ownership. 

For safety reasons, Vaden plans to disclose the location after his security measures are all in place. But Ryan already has a following so he started providing information for people and vendors at info-support@vadensfirearms.com.