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One year after Trump inauguration, the President remains popular in southern West Virginia


The Register-Herald

Gary Houchins, left, Sam Morton, co-owner and Timothy Roger Toney, of Beckley.
(Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero)

BECKLEY, W.Va. — It was a big risk for Sam Morton to open a firearm and pawn shop on Main Street in Mount Hope, where the abandoned storefronts outnumber the businesses still in operation.

But he knew his days in the mining industry were numbered.

With a row of rifles behind him in his Fayette County store and a display case of handguns in front of him, Morton said, “I just figured I would get out before I had to. I figured if I waited until the industry was done, I’d be in competition with 15,000 to 20,000 people for the same jobs. I thought, if I start now, I’m ahead of the game.”

Morton, who will soon turn 42, had spent 12 years in the mining industry – first with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), then with Patriot Coal as a safety manager.

But in October 2014, he and his brother-in-law, Bryan Arthur, opened Bare Arms Gun and Pawn. Business got off to a slow start.

Email: [email protected]; follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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