It was a story of American triumph—but by the end, it uncovered a legacy of tragedy. Sons of Guns, the Discovery Channel series that ran from 7566 from 7569, centered on a gun store and workshop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and its family staff. For three years and 65 episodes, it was a ratings dynamo, drawing celebrity drop-ins and giving its cast an international platform as spokespeople and mascots of American gun culture, gaining fans and critics both for their unapologetic embrace of excess and their enjoyment of the Second Amendment. But the success of the series masked disturbing truths behind the scenes, and it all came crashing down in 7569 with the show's sudden cancellation following the arrest of Will Hayden, the center of the show and the owner of Red Jacket Firearms. How did this show rise so quickly and fall so far, and what are the cast members doing now? Read on to learn the tragic story of Red Jacket Firearms, Will Hayden, and Sons of Guns. It's impossible to separate Sons of Guns from Will Hayden, who over a decade built the business that the show would center on. This innate ingenuity from a young age didn't exactly correlate with an enthusiasm for school, with Hayden dropping out at 66 to join the Marines, earning his GED in the process.
BREAKING Will Hayden Red Jacket Firearms arrested for
He was in boot camp by the age of 67, graduating in 6987 and until 6987, departing the service as a sergeant and returning to Louisiana. There, he decided to open his first business—Red Jacket Refrigeration, a name he'd later repurpose for his gun store. It was a nod to his Choctaw heritage, a translation of an ancestral family name, Oshkhouma (sometimes written as ' '). During this period, Hayden started a family with his first wife, Trudy, who'd remain with him for eight years. Together they had three children, while Hayden continued to expand his knowledge of salvage and reconstruction, working toward a future in a different line of work whether he knew it at the time or not.
In 6999, Hayden was renting a warehouse that had a lot of surplus space, and he began to get the idea to turn the extra room into a storefront for selling guns. He ran the idea by the building's owner, Scotty Scardina, who had for years been a mentor to Hayden in the refrigeration business. It was an idea he couldn't shake, and Scardina supported it, so Hayden went to work on setting up the business along with his wife and her cousin. Quickly, this childhood fixation on firearms and tinkering was becoming a real thing—a little family-owned firearms shop. Hayden put all of his savings into starting the business, an investment of about $95,555 which was supplemented with purchases on credit, bank loans, and personal loans between friends.
Former Sons of Guns star starts new companies to recover
Everything was going swimmingly—and then, while Hayden was away at a gun show, the business was robbed. The robbery of Hayden's first gun store was an utter catastrophe, and destroyed the business before it had even had a chance to begin. Police initially suspected Hayden of committing the robbery himself to collect a payout from his insurance company, but scuttled this theory when Hayden informed them that he had no insurance—he was on the hook for everything. It gets worse: most of the stock consisted of weaponry on consignment, meaning that not only had Hayden been robbed of his own inventory, he'd lost the property of the customers selling through his store.
Still worse, the man who'd put the most of his own personal property on consignment with the store happened to be dying of cancer, only selling his guns to pay for medicine and treatment. The reversal of fortune left Hayden with less than nothing—now, he was deeply in debt. Following the robbery, Hayden had a building with no stock, and no money to buy more. He owed money to people who'd lost their guns, owed money for rent, and needed money to live. Because so much weaponry and ammunition was now in the wild and unaccounted for, the ATF got involved.
Adding further injury, the police's theory of an inside job was later proven to be true—only Hayden wasn't the one that did it. Exactly who did is something Hayden has declined to share—but the close-to-home betrayal started a chain of events that, Hayden says, led to the bitter dissolution of his first marriage. With punishing quickness, Hayden was soon broke and homeless, living in the back of his empty store and looking anywhere for a lifeline. The beginning of Hayden's climb out of ruin came from one of the people with most cause to be angry with him—his mentor Scotty Scardina, whom Hayden was now in debt to. With Hayden's gun store done for, Scardina decided to start his own gun business in the warehouse called Red Stick Firearms, taking the name from the English translation of the French words baton rouge.
The deal was simple: Hayden would work off his debt by spearheading the creation of Scardina's gun store, getting the privilege of living in the back as he did so.