The coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers to embrace drive-up and take-out service. Now, gun stores will be able to offer their own version of curbside service.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives made it safer for Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights during the COVID-19 outbreak, and at the same time are allowing gun retailers to keep their doors open during the current health crisis.
The ATF announced on Friday that federally licensed firearm dealers could stay open during the coronavirus pandemic by selling their wares through drive-up windows or temporary booths in their parking lots or on their property. That includes verifying the customer’s identity, completing paperwork, taking payment, and delivering firearms and ammunition.
“An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick and mortar structure at the address listed on the license,” the new guidelines read.
“An FFL may also carry out the requested activities from a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot or other exterior location on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, but any such activities must occur in a location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes,” the ruling added.
The new measures allow customers and gun store employees to adhere to social distancing directions.
This comes at a time when Americans are setting records for firearm background checks because of coronavirus fears. The FBI fulfilled 3.7 million background checks for March, the largest monthly number it has ever seen. The previous record was 3.3 million in Dec. 2015.
On March 28, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced that “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” are “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” The list of essential workers is not a national mandate, but rather an advisory for local governments can utilize to “protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security” during the COVID-19 pandemic.