Monday, April 06, 2020

Controlavirus Theme Song For The Real Ones


forbes |  Gun sales have soared in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, with background checks by Americans attempting to purchase firearms jumping 41% to 3.7 million last month, according to recent FBI data. While Bass Pro is privately held and doesn’t disclose how much of its $8 billion in revenue is from firearm sales, its website lists 880 guns for sale, starting at $129.99 for a semi-automatic rifle.

Ultimately, it is up to states and cities whether gun stores can remain open. The federal government emphasized that its list is advisory in nature and is not intended to be a directive or standard that must be complied with. State and local governments have the freedom to “add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion,” according to the guidance.
After the updated federal guidance was issued, Massachusetts revised its list of essential businesses in lockstep to include firearm retailers. However, several hours later, the governor changed his mind and took them off the list once again, underscoring the fluidity of the situation. Bass Pro swiftly moved to close a store outside of Boston on Thursday, which had remained open in apparent defiance of the original ban. The company declined to comment on individual store closures.

In states like Missouri, Alabama and Florida, which resisted issuing statewide shelter-in-place orders until recent days, chaos has reigned for weeks as decisions remained in the hands of dozens of local government officials.
 
For instance, Bass Pro closed a store Gainesville, Florida last weekend after a shelter-in-place order from Alachua County excluded firearm retailers from a list of essential businesses. When Gov. Ron DeSantis finally stepped in with a statewide shelter-in-place order this week, he permitted gun stores to be open. For many counties, it marked a reversal in policy. Bass Pro’s store in Gainesville remained closed on Saturday, although it was legally permitted to reopen.

In some cases, Bass Pro has been classified as an essential business in one town but not another. Take the company’s home state of Missouri, where John Morris started out in 1972 by selling fish tackle from the back of his father’s liquor store. Bass Pro has been allowed to remain open in the St. Louis area but forced to curtail its operations elsewhere in the state. After residents in Kansas City and the college town of Columbia complained to local government officials that stores were open despite local shelter-in-place orders, the counties notified Bass Pro that it must close because it was considered a non-essential business, according to government spokespeople.

Bass Pro Shops appealed the decision and cited a state statute that prohibits the state, county or any municipality from restricting gun sales during an “emergency,” according to Kayla Parker, an official with the Jackson County Health Department. It received permission from both counties to continue selling firearms and ammunition, but was required to cease the sale of all other items. At its store in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, it was instructed to sell via appointment only, which must be at least 15 minutes apart.

It’s a different picture across state lines in Kansas City, Kansas, where its store remains open. The state issued guidelines last weekend that declare any companies that manufacture or sell firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition to be essential businesses because they protect a constitutional or legal right. “While I left these decisions to local health departments as long as possible, the reality is that the patchwork approach that has developed is inconsistent and is a recipe for chaos,” said Gov. Laura Kelly in a statement.