Is South LA arms merchant an asset to the community?
A recent court decision highlights the pros and cons of Botach Tactical in Leimert Park
Gregg Reese | 4/21/2016, midnight
The family’s penchant for controversy exists on the local, national, and global level.
Enjoying a lucrative existence, Botach has purchased additional properties in the neighborhood to augment its firearms trade, including the site of the old “Total Experience” night club, to house the overflow from its inventory. Other real estate holdings exclude the sale of guns, and Botach serves as landlord to other, miscellaneous business including Eso Won Books.
The existence of this type of business has, in turn, whetted the appetite of the more nefarious elements in the community as well, accordingly to gang intervention specialists.
Local gang-bangers have long daydreamed about breaking into Botach to steal its contents (and utilize them for future criminal undertakings). Some enterprising ne’er-do-wells went to the point of obtaining the building assessors parcel number, and went to downtown’s Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to secure blueprints featuring the structure’s layout. These immoral fantasies never reached fruition, however, as the reality of fearsome fortifications like roof top vibration sensors, high definition security cameras and the like have stifled these disreputable urges.
Aside from misgivings among the business community in which it is located, Botach has earned animosity from its client base; despite devoting its patronage to law enforcement individuals (no walk in traffic is involved). A cursory glance at customer feedback on the Internet reveals scores of client complaints, showcasing a dismal record of customer service going back years. In addition to these chronic episodes of dissatisfaction, the firm has raised the ire of bureaucratic concerns, such as the Better Business Bureau and the California Attorney General’s Office.
The majority of the Leimert Park citizenry is, of course, law abiding and anxious to maintain a semblance of respectability in their neighborhood. Initially developed by Walter Leimert who gave the community his name, Japanese, then African Americans integrated it through the 1950s, evolving into an eclectic enclave championed by devotees as a center of art and culture.
Since Botach’s establishment in the community, rumors and innuendo about this potentially incendiary business have reached the ears of the political representatives of the area, compelling them to act. Early in January of 2005, a contingent of concerned citizens led by Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), assembled in front of the unmarked façade and demanded entry inside. One of those accompanying her, Dr. Sandra Moore is a long-term activist in the greater Los Angeles area. She recalls the shop’s proprietor reluctantly allowing Waters inside, where she found a cache of C-4 plastic explosives, dynamite, hand grenades and other explosive paraphernalia.
Other politicians who have questioned the appropriateness of an arms dealer in the neighborhood have included former Rep. Diane Watson. However, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have stated in investigations that everything on the premise and the company in general were in order, meaning that they had no good reason to deny Botach its license.
Others with businesses in the area take exception to Ryan’s upbeat opinion of B.K. Botach.
One in particular voiced reservations about gun dealer’s presence in the area.