The riots and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (reported by Misguidedchildren) are well known. One business owner stood his ground, exercised his constitutional 2nd Amendment rights, and protected his shop.
The details are still a bit sketchy. But following the police shooting of Ferguson, MO resident Mike Brown, citizens took to the streets in protest. Riots ensued with several businesses looted and vandalized. After being looted, a ‘QuickTrip’ convenience store was torched and burned to the ground.
St. Louis Ink Tattoo Studio
St. Louis Ink Tattoo located on Florissant Ave in Florissant, MO, which bills itself as ‘The best damn tattoo shop in the STL’ is owned by Mike Gutierrez. They share a storefront with County Guns, owned by Adam Weinstein, in a street side open air strip center. County Guns is a small firearms manufacturer and retailer.
Their businesses are located a short ten minute drive from the heart of Sunday night’s riots. What began as a peaceful demonstration against the Ferguson Police shooting of Mike Brown, quickly escalated out of control. Businesses were looted. Some businesses were torched. Mike Gutierrez knew he had to protect his shop. He contacted Weinstein who shared similar concerns. Weinstein was worried his merchandise may fall into the hands of criminals.
A private security force
Gutierrez and Weinstein organized their own security force. They arrived about 12:30 am. Gutierrez had a rifle, Weinstein carried an assault style rifle, pistol and tactical vest. Weinstein said,
“We didn’t want them coming in here and then running around with a bunch of free guns.”
Looters and thieves were already in a Dollar General store located a few doors away in the same strip center as their store. According to Weinstein, when the looters set their sights on their store, the guns scared them away. The police arrived a short time later, checked out the situation then left for another crisis elsewhere.
Missouri is what many would call ‘gun friendly.’ Under Missouri law there is no permit required to purchase rifles or shotguns. No ownership license is required for rifles or shotguns. No license is required to carry a rifle or shotgun. No permit or license is required to purchase a handgun, nor to own a handgun. A license is required to carry a handgun, concealed or open. Even with what some would call ‘lax gun laws’, that ‘leniency’ is not reflected in the states violent crime statistics. This may be attributable to the state’s prideful history and culture towards the right to carry guns.
Armed Citizens Made the Difference
St Louis Ink and County Guns successfully protected their businesses. It is clear their efforts made the difference between opening the doors for business as usual Monday morning, or cleaning up and suffering financial loss.
Silas Chung owns women’s clothing store, Up N Up Fashion, located in the same strip center as St. Louis Ink. When Chung arrived he found windows smashed, and a dress mannequin lying in the parking lot. Inside, his store had been ransacked with rack after rack of newly stocked clothing gone. Up N Up Fashion had been robbed a couple of times over the 9 years Chung has owned the store. Chung said,
“They never break in like this before, so big like this.”
Chung’s store was not protected by armed security.
The Framers were brilliant men who had just fought a war of independence from a tyrannical and oppressive government. Recognizing this, the framers included,
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Framers recognized the right of the people to arm themselves, to protect themselves from an oppressive government and from others wishing to do harm.
The Framers did NOT intend for this citizen right to exist at the whim of an agenda driven legislature such as exists in Maryland. Yesterday, a federal judge upheld Maryland’s ban on 45 so called ‘assault weapons’ as listed in the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 which went into effect last October.
Signed into law by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D), it is considered one of the nation’s most restrictive gun control statutes. The statute was proposed following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
If the rioting and looting had been in protest of Baltimore police actions, instead of Ferguson police, store owners like Gutierrez and Weinstein would be either cleaning up their store or posting bond to get out of jail. Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 would have made their actions illegal. Not only are their AR-15 style weapons illegal in Maryland, they would be arrested for openly displaying/carrying their weapons.
National Rifle Association
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said it best,
“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
The American constitutional right to own firearms for personal protection is unique across the globe. Most states, allow some form of concealed and/or open carry. In gun friendly Missouri, business owners and entrepreneurs Gutierrez and Weinstein prove ‘Good guys with guns, win again.’
A true ‘Win-Win-Win’ for all, without even firing a shot.
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