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Shop Owners Give Trump a Gun

Thursday, January 07, 2016
Claremont — Gifts come in many shapes and sizes, and calibers in the case of a gift the team at Black Op Arms gave to Donald Trump before the real estate billionaire presidential candidate took the stage Tuesday night at Stevens High School.

Before the event, Trump and the Claremont-based gun shop’s managers were led into a private room. It was there that owners Mark Limoges and Greg Belisle and operations manger John Stone presented Trump with a custom built AR-15 rifle, complete with a symbolic serial number and an American flag.

“We have supported Mr. Trump since the beginning of his campaign and we wanted to do something to commemorate him coming to Claremont,” Limoges said, noting the city doesn’t get much traffic from high-profile “celebrities” or presidential candidates. “It’s something to remember Claremont by.”

When the trio learned a few weeks ago that Trump would make a campaign stop in Claremont, they started crafting the rifle. They assembled it at the manufacturing shop right in the city, and branded it with serial No. 145.

The three believe Trump is the No. “1” candidate for the Oval Office, and should become the “45th” president, Limoges said.

The long, black rifle — a military-style weapon that has been a focus of concern by gun control advocates — also came inscribed with the Black Op Arms logo and the Granite State’s Live Free or Die motto.

The AR-15 is the shop’s signature gun, Limoges said.

Giving a firearm to a presidential candidate on the campaign trail comes with its safety concerns. And the U.S. Secret Service was well aware of that.

Secret Service officials picked the rifle up at the gun shop on Summer Street prior to the event and watched an employee remove a bolt that renders the weapon inoperable, Limoges said. The rifle was then loaded into a case and taken to the venue by officials.

There, the Black Op Arms team met with Trump himself.

“That was cool,” Limoges said. “He is a pretty personable guy.”

A message left for Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks wasn’t returned.

Though Limoges said AR-15s are commonly used for shooting varmints or stationary targets, it’s unclear what Trump plans to do with his gift.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at or 603-727-3248.

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