Monday, April 13, 2020

USA Today: Feds Allow Drive-Up Gun Sales to Ease Dealers', Buyers' Coronavirus Worries

Over the weekend, USA Today reported that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), in new guidance to federally licensed firearm retailers, said Friday that dealers can provide drive-up or walk-up service to reduce health risks posed by the coronavirus.
Licensees "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 ATF said in a Friday bulletin.

Transactions may not be carried from "a nearby space" that is not part of the dealers' property unless they are participating in qualified gun shows.

Larry Keane, general counsel for the firearms industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation, said Friday that the organization raised the issue with the ATF more than two weeks ago as dealers sought to navigate various government orders limiting business activity.
The new guidance comes as gun sales continue to spike due to the Wuhan Coronavirus. While indoor ranges are closed in many states (including Virginia) guns stores remain open in states with the exception of Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York and Washington. The new ATF guidance in no way alters the requirements for background checks.

USA Today went on to suggest that the new guidance may help the sales surge to go higher:
The new guidance could only further fan the surge in gun sales that has shadowed the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the FBI reported 3.7 million background checks, the most in a single month since the launch of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in 1998. The March numbers surpassed the previous single-month high of 3.3 million checks in December 2015.
Firearm retails have provided anecdotal evidence that many of those sales are to first time gun owners.  NSSF last week announced a list of resources for first time gun buyers and NRA announced that they have some distance learning alternative firearms training to fill the gap left from indoor ranges being closed in may places.  The NRA courses are live video conferencing and are basic safety courses that are easily delivered in a distance learning environment.  Video conferencing offers a way to interact with students.

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