I’m bringing Gun Shop Gary back for this one folks. Reviving a dead meme because it shows a happier time… a simpler time… where you could get what you wanted from the gun store and a “Gary” would try and sell you random knickknacks of questionable quality.
Now, NICS has been down, many gun stores are closed or on reduced or by-appointment operations and the free exercise of the 2nd Amendment for one of its core purposes (self protection) has been denied to those who weren’t prepared before the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place orders hit in full. In short because of all the “reasonable restrictions” that are in place to prevent ‘bad’ people from getting a gun.. you probably can’t either now. Because that system is broken and overwhelmed.
We are still on the uphill side of this event and already tempers are flaring and nerves are fraying. Those friction points have the potential to create life threateningly violent conditions as someone panics or blows their cool under the increased pressure of the quarantine.
Many recognized this and flocked to gun stores… and many were denied. They cannot purchase a gun, get a CCW license, or utilize any of the “proper and reasonable” channels to lawfully secure their families. Not because of their backgrounds, not because of a lack of ability or character, but because those channels are broken and overwhelmed.
All of the above is prior to mentioning that, due to federal regulations on how firearms retailers operate, they can’t just close. They have to be there to take deliveries and log serialized inventory. They have to be able to receive and complete transfers, those shipments that are not a part of their inventory and aren’t their property but are delivered through their store.
Quick related note: I know there’s a roving group of busy bodies calling the cops about gun stores staying open in my area, taking up an officer’s time from responding to far more urgent calls while they operate under their own COVID-19 restrictions.
To those folks, from the bottom of my heart. Go fuck yourselves.
There are things a Federal Firearm Licensee must get done. I have a drive and file drawer full of them. So even removing the Human Rights and Constitutional arguments that people have a right to provide for their defense (because, ya know.. how important are those really?), a FFL can’t just stop and their requirements and obligations. They must work with FBI NICS and the ATF, both who are under the strain of this just as much as anyone else. That only makes it more difficult.
Opening to limited hours, limited capacity, or by appointment is socially responsible. Protecting themselves and their staff by washing surfaces, hands, and distancing is too. But these stores cannot stop being available any more than your grocer or pharmacy.
I was glad to see DHS and the administration finally release federal language to that effect and, hopefully, put an end to the ignorant nonsense that people don’t need to protect themselves during a crisis. A crisis where police response is reduced and social tensions are higher, the very type of situation where predatory behavior and risk taking have the opportunity to increase.
Gun Stores are essential.