Just as toilet paper and hand sanitizer are flying off the shelves of America’s grocery stores, guns and ammunition are flying off the shelves of America’s gun stores.
As local governments begin telling residents to remain at home, and states, alongside the federal government, explore options for implementing widespread lockdowns, fears of natural disaster-style looting and crime sprees have escalated.
Americans’ demands for guns and ammunition have picked the shelves of many gun stores clean, with some state and local governments responding by ordering the stores to close and even banning the sale of firearms, and the issuing of carry permits.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat, signed a March 11th emergency declaration giving herself the power to ban not just the sale, but the transportation of firearms. Five days later, she amended the declaration to include the sale of alcohol.
Mayor Cantrell is “empowered, if necessary, to suspend or limit the sale of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles,” the declaration reads.
Even those with already existing carry permits would be forbidden from carrying their firearm in the city and could face criminal charges if they are to do so.
Cantrell’s order harkens back to some of the darkest days in New Orleans’ history when, in 2005, then-Mayor Ray Nagin issued a similar order, leading to the confiscation of legally owned firearms from American citizens.
“No one will be allowed to be armed,” former Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III said at the time. “Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.”
Compass meant what he said, and on September 7th, 2005, now-infamous video footage was recorded of officers slamming a 67-year-old woman named Patricia Konie to the ground – in her own home – breaking her shoulder, for the crime of legally owning a firearm in New Orleans.
Similar to the New Orleans declaration, the Democrat Mayor of Champaign, Illinois, Deborah Frank Feinen, has empowered herself to not only ban the sale of firearms and ammunition but to seize private property from city residents.
In Pennsylvania, gun sales have so skyrocketed that the state’s background check system – operated by the State Police – crashed.
That was before Democrat Governor Tom Wolf ordered all “non-essential” businesses – including gun stores – to close, prompting a lawsuit from the Firearms Policy Coalition.
“Weapons and ammunition retailers are one of the most essential business types in the United States,” Brandon Combs, the FPC’s President told the Washington Free Beacon.
“There is no ‘except in emergencies’ clause in the Constitution and the federal government cannot shut down the people’s right to keep and bear arms.”
Additionally, the City of Philadelphia, as well as at least seven Pennsylvania counties, have suspended the issuing of carry permits, leaving as many as 1,900 permit applicants in Philadephia alone, high and dry in a time of widespread panic.
While those already licensed to carry a firearm are permitted to continue doing so, those whose applications were not yet approved when the permit divisions were shut down may be charged with a 3rd-degree felony if caught carrying.
While the Philadelphia PD is delaying arrests on narcotics offenses, prostitution, and burglary due to the pandemic, Inspector Sekou Kinebrew, a department spokesman, says that officers will continue to arrest anyone caught carrying a firearm without a permit.
At least one gun store in California, where Americans have gotten a sneak peek of what may be to come, has been closed by police so far.
After a long line formed at the Bullseye Bishop gun shop in San Jose, police arrived on the scene to shut it down. “We went out there and closed it,” said Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “A lot of this stuff is going to happen.”