A St. Louis area gun shop refused a sale to an African-American woman because, according to the clerk, St. Louis police informed gun stores that Darren Wilson will not be charged. To be clear, this was not an instance of racism (not in the traditional sense, anyway) — the shop was just in the process of removing all guns and ammunition from the premises, allegedly on the order of police.
“Did you notice the tractor trailer back there to our loading dock?” the man asked the woman, who responded with an affirmative. “All the guns are already packed in, and we’re taking all the pawns out of here too, just to protect our customers’ merchandise.”
“They’ve been saying that they’re gonna target gun stores and pawn shops,” the clerk told the woman. “This came from law enforcement; it’s what they told us. They sent out memos and everything.”
“So because they’re releasing the verdict this weekend that he’s not guilty, I can’t get my gun,” the woman responded.
“Because they’re not gonna indict the officer, they found no wrongdoing by the officer, that he was justified in shooting, they know the riots are gonna break out bad,” the clerk explained, “That’s why — I mean, the grand jury already knew a long time ago…”
“What do I do about my — Like, do I get my money back?” the woman asked.
The clerk explained that he could refund her money, or she could wait until everything dies down. Then, he said, he would gladly give her the gun plus a ten percent discount off her next new or used firearm purchase. “It’s up to you,” he said. “I’m gonna do whatever you want me to do.”
When the woman asked how long the shop would wait before restocking the firearms, the clerk told her it “depends on how long it takes them to get the riot under control.”
The woman explained that the reason for her purchase was to protect herself if violence does, indeed, break out. She said she would be on 12-hour shifts during the time following the announcement of the verdict. After the woman explained that she needs her gun “for work,” the clerk went back to look for it.
While he was gone, the woman behind the camera covertly captured a sign that reads, “Per law enforcement, all firearms have been temporarily removed from the premises.”
Law enforcement was clear that schools would be notified in advance, which is reasonable. But are they really telling everyone the decision the mostly-white grand jury came to? Everyone, that is, except the community that is still reeling from the murder of an African-American teen — the community that has been demanding justice for more than 100 days?
The woman speculated that the goal of “warning” gun shops was to keep Ferguson residents from obtaining firearms.
Is she right?