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Antonio Ramirez, assistant professor of history and political at Elgin Community College in Illinois, shares his outrage at a gun dealer in his neighborhood who appears to be profiting from the COVID-19 crisis.
As I walked through my neighborhood last night, there was an eerie silence. Homes were quiet. Bars and restaurants were closed.
But one business was booming: the local gun store.
The gun dealer’s parking lot was overflowing. Men were rushing in and out of the store, which looked full to capacity.
Recently, to help halt the spread of coronavirus, the White House instructed Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Apparently, my local gun store’s employees didn’t watch the news. Or they did and decided that selling guns was more important than promoting public health.
The store’s Facebook page boasted that its team put in “crazy hours” this week. “Great to see so many new faces at our Range today,” it said. “Stop on by tomorrow, we still have ammo in stock and lots of guns still on sale.” It also mentioned that because of high demand, the store was instituting a 300-round daily ammunition limit per customer.
The fact that the United States has too many guns, and too much killing, is inescapable. Milwaukee, where I grew up, just lived through a tragic mass shooting at the Molson Coors Brewery. And last year, near my new home in northern Illinois, a man killed five people just blocks from my wife’s workplace.
Today, dealers like my neighborhood gun store are selling lots of guns as worry about the global pandemic grows. FBI checks of potential gun owners have risen to the highest levels in years.
Gun dealers are reaping profits from the coronavirus.
This situation is doubly dangerous. More guns on the streets, especially during anxious times, is a bad idea. And each person that goes out in public to buy a gun or visitsshooting range can potentially spread the illness.
Most of us understand “social distancing” and are staying home. Mothers and fathers are trying to work from home while quarantined with children; the elderly are trying to stay healthy in a scary and isolated new world. Public schools across the nation are closed. Kids are missing out on learning to keep others healthy.
We are all making sacrifices. Gun owners should, too.
Call me a radical, but I believe a child’s right to public education is more important than an adult’s right to buy a gun.
Local and state authorities should shut down gun dealers like they have done schools, restaurants and bars.
Everyone is worried about coronavirus. I get it. But gun dealers are thumbing their noses at social distancing, and our collective health, just to earn a dollar.
We can disagree about the right to bear arms. But no one has the right to profit from a crisis.