There is something distinctly, wonderfully American about the drive-thru window.
We were the first country to have a love affair with our cars. In the 1950s, the French were sweating their derrieres off fixing their Citroën 2CVs — a diminutive rattletrap that was easy to fix because it had an engine that was little changed from the first internal combustion motors from the 1800s. Meanwhile, we were at drive-ins across this fruited plain with our Chevrolet Bel-Airs and Ford Galaxie 500s, enjoying hamburgers from the comfort of our automobiles.
A little while later, we took it a step further: You didn’t have to get out of the car at all. You rev your Ford Mustang through the drive-thru at Burger King and, in a minute or two, you had a Whopper and fries. And the French were still repairing their 2CVs.
In the 21st century, the drive-thru has evolved. Not only did The Associated Press adopt the truncated “drive-thru” spelling as its official style a decade ago, but consumers can now get just about anything without getting out of their cars — a latte, Thai food, vegan ketogenic meals … even a gun.
Yes, a gun. Thanks to the novel coronavirus, you can now exercise your Second Amendment rights without getting out of your car.
Of course, you can also get a weapon at curbside, or even at a table outside the gun shop. In fact, one imagines that in the absence of widespread dedicated drive-thru windows for gun shops, those two options will be more common — at least for now. But the drive-thru gun window has an official federal stamp of approval.
And even though drive-thru and curbside gun service was necessitated by the coronavirus, I wholeheartedly approve. This is American ingenuity and our constitutional values taken to their logical apex.
Some media outlets didn’t agree with me. Take CNN (surprisingly enough). See if you can notice the subtle bias in the headline: “U.S. gun retailers can operate in their parking lots during pandemic, ATF says.”
This is accurate, although the anti-Trump network sounds a bit soured on the phenomenon. It was reacting to a Friday letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that allows drive-thru gun sales during the coronavirus outbreak.
The letter involved guidance from the ATF regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s classification of gun shops as essential businesses and whether Federal Firearms Licensees can operate through “(1) a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway on the FFL’s property; (2) a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot on the FFL’s property; and (3) a nearby space that is not located on the FFL’s property.”
So the answers: “yes” on one; “yes” on two; and “no” on three unless it’s at a gun show. (Remember those? Remember meeting en masse pretty much anywhere?)
“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 ATF stated in the letter.
“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.”
However, the FFL needed to obviously check whether a location was indeed its property and whether it could permit the entry of ATF agents onto it. Records still needed to be kept inside the store.
As for that nearby space, no can do. The guns still need to be sold at the address listed on the license.
While this probably wasn’t received with unalloyed joy among liberals, Second Amendment-loving Americans were pretty happy.
“We have been working closely with the ATF to gain clarity on this front for firearm retailers,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement Friday, according to Guns.com.
“Today we thank the ATF for issuing guidance for FFLs regarding sidewalk/curbside transactions.”
The group had previously asked the ATF for guidance on how gun retailers could operate given the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance also comes as lawsuits involving whether gun shops can legally be closed by state governments wind their way through the court systems. Given that many states that have closed nonessential businesses haven’t specifically mentioned gun shops, gun shops have been shuttered in a lot of places — which is problematic when you consider that gun sales are proceeding at a record (pun unintended) clip.
According to TheBlaze, the FBI conducted more background checks during the month of March than any month in its history. Second place was December of 2015, and it wasn’t particularly close. March 2020: 3.7 million checks. December 2015: 3.3 million.
In March of 2019, the FBI did 2.64 million background checks, according to TheBlaze. More than a million fewer than this year.
While some media complaints are going to be in sotto voce, the kind of tacit tsk-tsking in the CNN headline, left-wing gun control groups like the Brady Campaign are going to be more vocal.
Calling the new rules “unsafe and indulgent,” the Brady Campaign complained in a news release that the new rules upended “long-standing protocols.” (Because clearly the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t upended “long-standing protocols” or anything.)
“At a time when we need our federal government to put the interests and safety of its people first, the Trump Administration has once again put profits over people,” Brady President Kris Brown said in the release.
“The Administration has used broad interpretations of the federal Gun Control Act to suggest that FFLs conduct business at a drive-by or walk-up window, as if they were a McDonald’s, or at a temporary table or booth, as if they were a lemonade stand, removing the protective influence that responsible gun dealers can have on stopping the proliferation of crime guns and on educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them.”
First, they say getting guns at a drive-thru window “as if they were a McDonalds” as if it were a bad thing. As for “educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them,” there’s nothing to prevent gun dealers from doing so at drive-thrus or tables, which makes this objection silly and extraneous.
But that’s pretty much what a lot of the objections to this are. The right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, which makes states excluding them as essential businesses a purely bogus COVID gun grab. Now, that gun grab is turning into a nightmare for leftists.
Of course, it’s not going to be as easy as picking up a meal in a McDonald’s of Burger King drive-thru from coast to coast. Liberal lawmakers in liberal states are going to continue to do everything they can to limit the Second Amendment no matter what the ATF says. But the principle is at least established.
Have a problem with gun stores being conduits for infection? Fine. Liberals don’t have to worry about that now — and that just made them more angry.
At least we can socially distance from them.
After this is over, I propose we should still be able to buy guns from drive-thru windows. Now, granted, the majority of the service here will be curbside, at least for the moment, since there aren’t a lot of drive-up windows at gun shops.
Time marches on, however. We live in an era where even those recalcitrant French have scrapped their 2CVs and gotten real cars. We can order guns online, although we have to have them shipped to a licensed FFL dealer.
Speed up the process a bit and let us stay in our cars while we get them. I can think no more American product of the pandemic that ought to survive than this one.
Author: C. Douglas Golden
Source: Western Journal: COVID Gun Grab Turns into Nightmare for Leftists as Gun Stores Open Drive-Thru Windows