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A Gun Store’s “Right” to Refuse to Sell to a Suspected Terrorist

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    A Gun Store’s “Right” to Refuse to Sell to a Suspected Terrorist

    The below article appeared on the US News & World Report website on June 17th.

    The article oversimplifies things, and quotes someone from the ATF in support of the proposition that, “As private business owners, [Federal Firearms License holders] can and do use discretion in determining to whom they will or will not provide service”.

    It is true that a store owner can refuse to sell to a person on the basis of arbitrary things such as your zodiac sign, the type of car you drive, the type of music you like to listen to, etc.

    However, gun stores can still be sued if it is suspected that they refused to sell to a person on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, age, and sexual orientation.

    Unfortunately, it is easier for a gun store owner to put aside his/her gut instinct, rather than run the risk of being sued for religious/ethnic discrimination.

    Perhaps the federal government should start selling firearms so that no one is discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, age, and sexual orientation.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/...yone-they-want

    “Dealer’s Choice: Gun Owners Can Deny Anyone They Want”

    By Steven Nelson
    June 17, 2016


    Congressional Democrats appear as unlikely as ever to pass new gun control legislation after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, but gun store owners say there’s one effective and easy-to-hone tool that could stop future attacks: their gut.

    Gun dealers tell U.S. News they can and do refuse to sell to people they have a bad feeling about and say that fellow gun store owners could help prevent lunatics and religious fanatics from acquiring the tools needed for mass murder.

    Florida Gun Supply owner Andy Hallinan has been blunt about his claimed discretion. He has a sign on the door of his central Florida shop that says “Muslim Free Zone” and last year defeated a lawsuit that claimed illegal discrimination, with a federal judge finding opponents lacked standing.

    Hallinan says he has not knowingly refused a sale to a Muslim – his aim is to discourage all Muslim shoppers, he says, so he won’t have to decide if they are jihadis – but he says that he has refused sales to white men who passed background checks.

    He says two men with sagging pants wanted to buy inexpensive weapons at a gun show, but he overheard them talking about “all sorts of drama going down at their houses” and told them he would not sell to them.

    “I said, ‘I’m sorry guys, I will not sell a firearm to you [because] I don’t believe a firearm should be permitted in your lifestyle,'” he says. “They got all bent out of shape and swore they would file lawsuits, but at the end of the day the ATF gives me the discretion to deny guns to whomever I please depending on whatever I feel is necessary.”

    Hallinan says he’s willing to refuse sales to anyone who appears nervous or gives a poor indication of why they want the gun.

    Ginger Colbrun, public affairs chief for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says licensed gun dealers have broad discretion to deny sales, such as in instances where a buyer appears to exhibit erratic behavior.

    “As private business owners, [Federal Firearms License holders] can and do use discretion in determining to whom they will or will not provide service,” Colbrun says.

    Suspected straw purchases – in which one person illegally buys a gun for another person – are the most common reason a gun store owner would refuse a sale and alert authorities. But the reason can also be used as an excuse.

    “I can refuse a gun sale for any reason whatsoever, I don’t even have to like the color shoes you have on and I can refuse a gun sale at that point, and I don’t have to disclose the reason,” says Tim Wolverton, owner of Downrange Sporting Goods in Jackson, Mississippi.

    If a gun store owner wanted to discriminate against a customer named Muhammad, Wolverton says, they could simply say, “at that point I believe it’s a ‘straw purchase,’” though even that explanation is not required.

    Sometimes, gun store owners save lives by acting on a hunch.

    John Downs, the owner of Downs Bait & Guns in Logan, Ohio, was celebrated in March when he refused to sell a gun to a man who passed a required background check, citing a bad feeling. He called 911 when the man returned, and police said Downs likely prevented a mass shooting.

    Downs says the government should more closely vet people who have mental disorders or potential jihadi leanings, but that “common sense” can be a substitute in the meantime.

    “I hate to say I’m racist, but when you have somebody of that descent and being a Muslim and stuff, what do they want that gun for? What are they doing?” he says.

    In Florida, Lotus Gunworks co-owner Robert Abell said this week his store refused to sell body armor and ammunition to gunman Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people Sunday at a nightclub, after his questions and demeanor raised red flags.

    Abell said the store informed the FBI, but did not take down Mateen’s name.
    Wolverton, who once jestfully banned sales to Democrats, says that’s one thing store owners can do better.

    “I did let a few get out of here when I was new at it without taking their information,” Wolverton says about past suspicious customers. “At this point, I let them fill out the whole sheet and get their driver’s license and that’s the point at which I don’t make the sale.”

    At some stores, however, there are few denials of people, but for the odd straw purchase suspect.

    Christopher Cole, manager of Lou’s Firearms in New Jersey, says in six years he's only had to turn away a couple people suspected of buying guns for others. He says a large law enforcement clientele may serve as a deterrent.

    Of course, no amount of gun control – legislative or discretionary – can prevent all gun homicides.

    Hallinan says if gun stores somehow were able to block all sales to would-be killers, weapons still can be purchased illegally, though most street items are cheap handguns rather than more expensive semiautomatic weapons like the Sig Sauer MCX used by Mateen.

    Mateen bought the guns he used in the massacre at the St. Lucie Shooting Center after passing a background check. At a press conference, store owner Ed Henson said, "If he hadn't purchased them from us, I'm sure he would have gotten them from another local gun store in the area.”

    Hallinan strongly disagrees, saying that at his store he recently stalled a purchase of two AR-15 parts to a “little old lady” who said she was buying them for her son, which would be legal as a gift but not if he gave her money to buy them.

    He says the household was cleared by authorities before he made the sale and that he’s considering setting up an association to train gun sellers to spot potential troublemakers, who despite concern about radical Muslims are often mentally ill people.

    Downs, the Ohio dealer, and other store owners say sale of an AR-15-type weapon would not earn much profit and that it’s not worth taking a risk and selling one to someone who may misuse it.

    “Is $80 worth someone’s life or several people’s lives? I don’t think so,” he says.



    #2
    I'm sure Obummer will have the AG prosecuting gun shops who refuse middle eastern looking people faster than you can say Alli Akbar
    Hunter, NRA Life Member, NYS Deplorable

    🚄TrumpTrain2016🇺🇸.🇺🇸.🇺🇸

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    Comment


      #3
      Turning someone away at the counter isn't that uncommon. There are several reasons one would refuse to sell. But it has nothing to do with race or religion.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by SlowTime View Post
        Turning someone away at the counter isn't that uncommon. There are several reasons one would refuse to sell. But it has nothing to do with race or religion.
        Yes, but if you are a small business, and can't afford to defend a frivolous lawsuit, you may be inclined to put aside your gut instinct, rather than run the risk of being sued for religious/ethnic discrimination.

        Comment


          #5
          liammo should comment on the FFL guidelines here.
          NRA LIFE | SAF | GOA | UTAH / NH / FL / PA / NY CCW | APPLESEED RIFLEMAN | RSO | FREEPORT R&R | NSCA | NYSRPA

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by SteveT View Post
            liammo should comment on the FFL guidelines here.
            I agree. Please tell us about how you discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and religion .

            Comment


              #7
              ..... full-78440-116444-image_1.png
              Originally posted by Mad Russian;n47464
              BUAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!
              The AR.....wins...????
              Oh God!
              I can't believe I said that!!!
              I'm gonna puke!!!
              BUAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

              Comment


                #8
                What if the gun store was a bakery that refused to sell a cake for religious reasons?

                Comment


                • NYDeer
                  NYDeer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bingo! We all saw how that worked out for that same sex wedding cake..

                #9
                The ATF doesn't heavily regulate cake manufacturing and distribution, the FBI doesn't have a say in who can buy cakes.
                NRA LIFE | SAF | GOA | UTAH / NH / FL / PA / NY CCW | APPLESEED RIFLEMAN | RSO | FREEPORT R&R | NSCA | NYSRPA

                Comment


                • LazyLab
                  LazyLab commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Really? The WH and DOJ sure does.

                • SteveT
                  SteveT commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That maybe true LazyLab, but I was referring to the FBI and the ATF in relation to cakes.

                  I suspect the general public, especially in the given climate, would think "kindly" of a FFL who - by their own judgement - refused to sell a firearm to someone because they suspected was "up to no good", regardless of the purchasers birth right. That wouldn't stop a lawsuit, but I never suggested it would. I think public opinion would weight heavily in favor of a concerned FFL who's putting the safety of every community first.

                #10
                Originally posted by SimpleMan View Post
                ...

                Perhaps the federal government should start selling firearms so that no one is discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, age, and sexual orientation.

                ...
                They should provide them to all citizens, free of charge. With an annual allotment of ammo.

                It's a right. Condoms and birth control pills are not.
                Give a man fire, and he stays warm for one night. Set a man on fire, and he stays warm for the rest of his life.

                Comment


                  #11
                  We have refused people before. We felt it was a straw purchase.

                  It was a bit messy because we don't inventory firearms, but we still did it.
                  High quality building supplies since 1948! Friendly FFL transfers of long guns, receivers, and ammunition. Feel free to call us at 516 741 4466

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Originally posted by SteveT View Post
                    liammo should comment on the FFL guidelines here.
                    The FFL guidlines are very straightforward. It's all on the 4473 that you fill out before every sale. According to the ATF "Best Practices" guide, for example, a dealer may not transfer a firearm to any person that answers yes, or we know should have answered yes to the questions on the 4473 form that are numbered "11a-llL". Those are the questions that ask if you are a fugitive or a felon, and stuff like that. The ATF guide expands upon the straw purchase rules and immigration documentation rules. The ATF also makes clear that state laws can prevent or control the sale if the state law is more strict than the Federal Law.

                    The ATF also places the responsibility on the dealer to be confident that the dealer knows the identity of the person that he is dealing at the sales counter. Proper and verifiable I.D. is very important to the whole process.

                    I've worked in my store for 25-plus years and we haven't had a problem with who we decide to refuse service to. We've fired many customers in the hardware store over the years that were mean and miserable people that had no respect for my excellent employees. If you are mean or feel superior to my employees, you will likely be thrown out. The recent addition of guns and ammo to our store hasn't changed that too much.

                    We now have an extra level of scrutiny, but it's not that dramatic, it's just common sense. If you come in drunk, for example, you can still buy a bag of grass seed from the front of the store, but you can bet that your NICS check will be delayed, we WILL have trouble connecting to the FBI. . If you come in mumbling that you're going to "kill that bitch", you can bet you're NICS check will be delayed. If the three of you go in the other room to discuss which one of you might be able to pass a NICS and you pool your money so you can buy a pistol grip shotgun if one of you is lucky enough to pass the NICS, you can bet we're going to toss you out. (actual event)

                    I'm not worried about discrimination lawsuits because we don't believe in discrimination. Except for discrimination against mean and terrible people and druggies that shoplift and steal. So far, even New York Commie-Democrats have not been able to make 'assholes' a protected class. The overwhelming majority of customers that we have fired and banished have been white 30-something crack heads or older white men (and women) with a mean streak a mile wide. So we would not have any trouble if one of the people we refuse service to was not a white man from the suburbs. We would not be refusing to sell based on any criteria other than the person's purchase would be a dangerous or illegal act, or we just were too offended by the person's rude and evil personality.

                    Sorry if this is too long-winded, but it is the answer to the question.
                    LI Ammo, 2 Larkfield Rd. East Northport,

                    Comment


                    • SteveT
                      SteveT commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Not too long winded at all, thank you for taking the time to comment. Great answer.

                    #13
                    Originally posted by LazyLab View Post
                    What if the gun store was a bakery that refused to sell a cake for religious reasons?
                    Pursuant to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, stores and other places of public accommodation, cannot “discriminate" on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin (New York State has a similar law). This takes precedence over “gut instinct”.

                    Comment

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