A rush on gun stores across the country to purchase firearms and ammunition shows that during a period of national panic, Americans fall back on the Second Amendment for reassurance, say some in the gun rights community, but in two American cities, officials are saying gun shops are non-essential businesses.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo actually declared gun stores to be “non-essential.”
According to Philadelphia magazine, it’s the same story in Philadelphia, which is nicknamed “The City of Brotherly Love.”
“So where exactly do Philadelphia gun shops fit in? Well, if you ask the city…the answer you will get is that Philadelphia gun shops are most definitely not essential amid the coronavirus. According to the city, gun stores must close,” the publication said Wednesday.
Dan Mitchell, one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Washington State’s gun control Initiative 1639 and the proprietor at Sporting Systems in Vancouver, reported earlier in the week that he’s sold hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition in recent days, even while limiting traffic in his shop.
Down in Las Vegas, where casinos have closed, the Las Vegas Review Journal quoted Mark Hames, a partner at the 2nd Amendment Gun Shop, who observed somewhat tongue-in-cheek, “People are going to protect their house; now they want to protect their toilet paper.”
Hames said people bought out his entire shotgun inventory and then transitioned to purchasing 9mm pistols.
Many people are buying guns for the first time in their lives, and in the process they are discovering all the red tape required by gun control laws they may have earlier supported. All of this has contributed to an overload of the National Instant Check System (NICS), operated by the FBI.
Ammoland News is reporting the NICS system is experiencing an “unprecedented volume increase” in the number of background checks being conducted. The result has been a slowdown in the ability of the FBI to complete all of the checks. The story, by editor Duncan Johnson, said the NICS staff experienced a 300 percent increase in requested checks “compared to this same time period in 2019.”
In San Jose, anti-gun Mayor Liccardo told the Mercury News earlier this week, “We are having panic buying right now for food. The one thing we cannot have is panic buying of guns.”
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said gun stores had been closed. The degree of panic was underscored by a local painting contractor identified as Joshua Wolfe, who told the newspaper the public is panicking “because people don’t know the truth of this whole situation. If they’re short on supplies, they’ll come after people who are prepared.”
Fox News reported on the prepper movement, which is not so alarmed. Preppers have been prepared for such an emergency for a long time, and now that it has arrived, they aren’t panicking.
Gun ranges are also shutting down temporarily in some areas. That includes the popular Snoqualmie Valley Rifle Club in rural King County, Washington. The SVRC emailed a memo to members this week explaining, “Due to Proclamation 20-13 by the Office of the Governor, SVRC is closed until 3/31/2020. This situation has been changing day by day. Expect to see an update on our website or our Facebook page.”
Also in Washington, a number of law enforcement agencies have suspended fingerprinting to complete concealed pistol license applications, and many people are complaining. More than 650,000 citizens have active CPLs already and the number has steadily gone up over the past few years.
The gun-and-ammunition buying frenzy does not surprise veteran gun rights activists. Many people who previously didn’t want a gun now want one badly. Contrary to what many gun prohibitionists have been arguing, the right to keep and bear arms is evidently not outmoded. It has just taken a crisis to underscore the fact.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is an award-winning career journalist with an expertise in firearms and the outdoors. He is the author of several books dealing with firearms politics. He has a degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington and is a lifelong Washington resident.
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