When a gun dealer refuses service to someone who passed a government background check, isn’t he supposed to be fined?
The reaction that happens when a gun dealer refuses service to a member of the public is extraordinary. It is almost as if people believe that retailers have a right and even a responsibility to use personal judgment and choose, in each individual case, whether to serve a customer.
According to Fox 2 News,
James Howard passed a background check when attempting to buy a long gun last Monday, but sounded as if he might be planning to hurt himself or others, John Downs, owner of Downs Bait and Guns, told local TV station WSYX.
“I just said, you know what, bud, I have a really bad feeling about this. I just can’t sell you the gun,” Downs said.
The former Ohio University student and hockey player left the store angry, and later returned, according to Downs.
The store owner then turned off the shop’s “open” sign, told his customers to hide, loaded three guns, and called 911, he said.
The police apprehended Howard at a WalMart shopping for survival gear. He possessed a great deal of ammunition and was attempting to purchase more.
Sheriff Lanny North of Hocking County credited Downs with preventing a mass shooting at Ohio University.
Notice that Downs makes a living selling weapons, among other items. As a merchant he has to keep customers happy. Yet he didn’t sell a firearm to Howard. Gun control fanatics (like President Obama) constantly talk as if gun sellers only care about increasing gun sales. But that is obviously false. No one wants more gun crime. Downs’ interest in selling a rifle was balanced by his awareness and his interest in not arming a criminal at any price.
(An implication of this is that, if guns are prohibited, the black market for guns may provide less protection to society. Then, the kind of people who sell guns will be less concerned about what their customers want to do with the firearms they buy.)
Notice also that the government security system once again did nothing to protect the American public. Perhaps the background check will someday prevent a person intent on crime from getting a gun, but it often seems like nothing more than security theater.
Finally, notice that society is better off leaving merchants free to sell or not sell rather than punishing them for “discrimination.” People in business already have plenty of incentive to please customers as much as they can. They should have the same right to refuse a customer that the customer has to take his business elsewhere.
A free society is a safer society.