Durham Capitulated…But Quietly

Last week I wrote that the City of Durham had received a demand from Grass Roots North Carolina and GOA to designate gun stores as essential or face legal action. Greensboro also got one of these letters and folded it quickly.

They did fold but did it very quietly. What the City of Durham did was release an amendment to their original order saying they were merely going to adopt the amended Stay at Home order issued by the county. This new City of Durham order didn’t go into details as to what was or wasn’t an essential business. Mayor Stephen Schewel signed the order on the afternoon of Friday, April 3rd and it went into effect at 5pm on Saturday, April 4th.

Durham County’s order didn’t mention gun dealers or ranges as essential businesses. They just said that any business that was on the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA list was essential. That list did include firearms related businesses. Perhaps it is ironic that the title of the county order was “Second Amendment to the Declaration of a State of Emergency in Durham County, NC to Coordinate Protective Actions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19.”

As I understand it, GRNC contacted Durham County and convinced them to them to comply. Somehow officials in Durham County convinced Mayor Schewel to comply but noted he refused to make any public statement about it.

IndyWeek is a free newspaper serving the Triangle. In NC-speak, the Triangle are the cities of Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and the smaller surrounding communities. IndyWeek is virulently anti-gun.

They have their panties in a wad that Durham folded to those “gun nuts” and their demands after Mayor Schewel said he wasn’t backing down. The article notes the original April 2nd deadline and the fact that GRNC and GOA didn’t sue.

In this case, April 2 came and went, and Schewel made no such statement, but the gun groups didn’t sue. So what happened? 

Very quietly, the city rolled over. 

IndyWeek then goes into the details of the Durham County and City of Durham orders which I posted above.

As to why Durham capitulated, IndyWeek has this response from Mayor Schewel.

“Our lawyers said we couldn’t win,” Schewel told the INDY on Tuesday. “And not only that they were gonna win, but that we were gonna have to pay their legal fees. And so that’s why we made the decision—which is, you know, awful. Gun stores are not essential. In fact, they are damaging. It’s terrible to be forced into this position.”

It is good to see the Constitution and some good legal advice trumped the anti-gun feelings of the good mayor. It should be no surprise that Schewel is a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors.

New Jersey Backs Down

News comes this afternoon that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) has backed down from his order that all gun stores are non-essential and must close. His order led to a lawsuit from the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition entitled Kashinsky v. Murphy.

SAF provides more info in this release:

The Second Amendment Foundation declare victory today when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy backed away from his earlier position on gun shop operations in the state during the current COVID-19 panic, and will now allow operations by appointment.

SAF sued Murphy and acting State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan in U.S. District Court last week, seeking a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. They were ultimately joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, Legacy Indoor Range and Armory LLC and the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Racing Rails LLC d/b/a Legend Firearms and several private citizens. Plaintiffs were represented by noted civil rights attorney David Jensen of New York and Adam Kraut of California.

“We’re delighted that Gov. Murphy has reversed course on this matter, even if it took a lawsuit to get him to do it,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Our lawsuit cut right to the heart of what the Second Amendment is all about, which is personal protection during emergency situations like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the nation.”

Murphy found himself in the uncomfortable, and untenable, position of having to defend his armed protection detail while having closed down Garden State gun shops, making it impossible for average citizens to by even ammunition, much less a firearm.

“While we pursue litigation elsewhere,” Gottlieb said, “we’re happy that the situation in New Jersey has changed. Regardless what some politicians might think, the Second Amendment is not subject to emergency orders, same as the First, Fourth, Fifth or other constitutional protections.

“This is one more example of SAF’s ongoing mission to win back firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time,” he concluded.

While I might have liked to say it was ScotShot’s guest editorial that convinced him to change his mind, I think it is more likely the combination of the lawsuit and President Trump declaring the firearms industry including gun stores as essential businesses.

They Wouldn’t Stand For That – So Why Should Gun Owners In SF

Imagine, if you will, a proposed ordinance from a San Francisco supervisor stating the proprietors of medical marijuana dispensaries must have a multi-zone video system in place and then forward the video along with records of every purchaser to the San Francisco Police Department. Mind you, even though marijuana for medical purposes can be prescribed under California law, it is still a Federal crime.

Being that it is San Francisco, let’s imagine another scenario. Say it was 1981 and the AIDS epidemic was starting. Public health officials knew it was hitting gay men disproportionately and suspected it was related to having multiple sexual partners. So as a public health measure, a San Francisco supervisor proposed that a video system be put in place at the city’s bath houses which were known meeting places for sex used by gay men. All the video along with a record of everyone who entered these bath houses was to be sent the SF Department of Public Health.

Can you imagine the outrage that either of these scenarios would cause? Any supervisor who even made such a proposal like either of these would be run out of town and encouraged to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge will he was at it.

SF Supervisor Mark Farrell has made such a proposal. However, it isn’t aimed at marijuana users or gay men but rather legal purchasers of arms and ammunition. A purchase which is not only made in full compliance with Federal and state law but is part of an enumerated right under the Constitution.

The first portion of Supervisor Farrell’s gun control package would simply require the videotaping of all gun and ammunition sales within San Francisco. The videotaping would also apply to other critical areas of the business premises, including, but not limited to, all places where firearms or ammunition are stored, handled, sold, transferred, or carried, including, but not limited to, all counters, safes, vaults, cabinets, cases, entryways, and parking lots.

The second portion of Supervisor Farrell’s gun control package would require any permittee who has the proper documentation to sell or transfer ammunition to keep records of their ammunition sales and transfer data for up to five-years, and electronically transmit the ammunition sales data at least weekly to the SFPD. The SFPD would develop the forms and information that would need to be regularly transmitted to the department, and at a minimum will include:
(1) The date of the transaction;
(2) The name, address and date of birth of the transferee;
(3) The number of the transferee’s current driver’s license or other government issued identification card containing a photograph of the transferee, and the name of the governmental authority that issued it;
(4) The brand, type, caliber or gauge, and amount of ammunition transferred;
(5) The transferee’s signature; and
(6) The name of the permittee’s agent or employee who processed the transaction.

Farrell, a lawyer and venture capitalist, represents some of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco. Places where guns are considered icky except when in the hands of private security guards. He first made the proposal in July and plans to introduce them when the Board of Supervisors comes back from recess this month.

The impact of Farrell’s ordinance would be to force High Bridge Arms, the only gun store in San Francisco, to close or move out of San Francisco. Owner Steve Alcairo said they have 17 surveillance cameras in the store and shares the video with police when requested by court orders. However, this ordinance goes much further and Alcairo said he’d probably close if it passes.

“What we don’t do is voluntarily give private information to the police department. Voluntarily, we just don’t do that. People are very private about their information,” Alcairo told KPIX 5.

He believes if the new law passes it will have a chilling effect on his business…

“The element we’re concerned with, they don’t shop here. They don’t,” Alcairo said. “I mean you’re going to get video surveillance of people who are coming in here legally buying stuff with their identification, criminals are not doing that.”

Mr. Alcairo is correct. Criminals in San Francisco don’t shop at High Bridge Arms. They get their guns from former Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and his tong friend Shrimp Boy among other illegal places.

This measure has nothing to do with crime, preventing criminals from getting guns, or public safety. It is a feel good measure by Supv. Farrell to look good among his constituents as they go home to their Victorian and Edwardian mansions in his Jordan Park-Laurel Heights neighborhood and shop in its high priced boutiques.