Give someone power if you want to see their character. Unfortunately, the usual characters have revealed themselves during the Wuhan virus epidemic. Government officials asked citizens to limit their contact with others in order to slow the spread of the virus. Some government officials went well beyond that. They closed roads, released jail inmates, refused to arrest or prosecute suspects, closed gun stores, and refused to process firearms applications. It is precisely during such an emergency that we need government officials to stay within their authority.. and not one inch beyond.
Stay at home orders- New York Times
Lots of us wanted a firearm after we saw criminals released from jail and law enforcement refuse to respond to calls. We increased the rate of firearms sales up to four fold, and up to eight fold for sales of ammunition. The instant background check system run by the FBI was overwhelmed. State agencies added weeks of delays to complete a firearms transfer..if the state bothered to process the applications at all.
The sheriff of Los Angeles County, CA told stores to close. The mayor of LA said they would shut off water and power to stores that stayed open. The county council, the lawyer who advises LA county officials, told the sheriff not to close gun stores or he would face lawsuits. The sheriff rescinded and then reinstated his order to close stores. As predicted, he was sued by four human rights organizations within hours. Sheriffs in Pennsylvania and New York said they would not process concealed carry firearm applications. Officials in New Jersey and Illinois simply stopped processing the permits required to purchase a firearm.. and they were sued.
gun stores ordered to close- TheTrace.org
The order to close gun shops and the refusal to process state required firearms paperwork is a significant confession on the part of these law enforcement officials. They are saying that they are more important than you are, that they should have guns and you shouldn’t. Many of these government officials were quickly sued for violation of civil rights under color of law. Government officials don’t have the power to suspend the constitution and violate civil rights. They exceeded their authority.
Some government officials were more reasonable. A city in Texas told firearms stores to close, but then the Texas Attorney General said that local officials did not have that authority. To their credit, some governors stood up and said civil rights have to be respected, particularly during a time of crisis. Perhaps these governors remembered what happened in Los Angeles when police refused to respond to violence and civilians were left on their own to defend themselves from violent rioters. The Feds said that firearms manufacturers, distributors and sellers were essential.
armed korean shopkeepers during Los Angeles riots
Idaho took the Wuhan crisis to heart and expanded the segment of people who have a right to carry concealed without a permit. Called “permitless carry”, that right only applied to state residents. Soon in Idaho, permitless carry applies to all legal US residents who may legally possess a firearm. Sensible government officials also extended the expiration dates for concealed carry permits just as they had for existing drivers licenses that could not be renewed during the quarantine. If only all government officials were that smart.
The lesson is clear. If it is too dangerous for a government official too to sit at their desk and process paperwork, then it is a state of emergency. The state has admitted that it can not fulfill its obligations to honest citizens. Under those emergency conditions, permits should not be required for citizens with a clean criminal record to own, transfer, or carry a firearm. We’ve used that same relief valve during hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes when civil government ceases to exist. Your rights and your safety take precedence over the convenience of a bureaucrat.
That lesson sounds obvious, but some politicians are blinded by their bigotry against honest citizens protecting themselves. Now we know the officials who don’t trust us, and in whom we should not place our trust. We gave them power, and they revealed the shortcomings in their character.