“I’ve had my eye on the nicely built 12-gauge over/under for some time, and when I spotted an ad among my Sunday circulars offering it for an irresistible price, I headed out to the store,” Detroit News writer Nolan Finley reveals. “On the same day of the Texas church massacre, I stopped by a local sporting goods shop intent on purchasing a new shotgun.” The store directed the scribe to their Form 4473 computer. Which caused Mr. Nolan to lose his sh*t . . .
I went through the questions, starting with name, address, etc., and moving toward the serious business: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Under a restraining owner for domestic abuse? Been treated for mental illness?
After the salesperson hit the send button, I noticed I had misspelled my last name. So I had to start over. And over. And over. And over.
Five times I tried to fill out the form correctly, and each time I noticed a mistake and had to start again from the beginning. Nothing makes me lose my mind quicker than technology. I was fuming. Muttering under my breath. Stomping my foot. Grimacing. And yes, cussing.
The salesperson tried to help, but, as tends to happen when I blow my top, I curtly cut him off. On the final failure, I threw up my hands and stormed away, declaring, “I don’t want the &%$@ gun this badly.”
I reckon “I curtly cut him off” is a euphemism for swearing at the salesman. Anyway, Mr. Nolan claims he calmed down before returning to the gun counter to try again . . .
With some help, I managed to get the form right, and waited for the salesperson to take my credit card and deliver the shotgun.
Instead, he came back with the store manager, who eyed me with a worried look and asked why I had pitched such a fit earlier. I tried to explain my computer frustration, but she wasn’t moved.
“We don’t feel comfortable selling you a gun,” she informed me. “You were in such an agitated state, we just don’t want to take a chance.”
I was embarrassed, shocked, and, in truth, angry all over again. I left the store without the shotgun. On the way home, I was all tore up about this violation of my Second Amendment rights — until I heard the news out of Texas.
I realized the people at the store were right. They cared enough about who would be using the weapon they were selling to not place it in the hands of someone acting a little crazy.
Careful readers will note that the unnamed big box firearms retailer did not violate Mr. Finley’s Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment prohibits the government from infringing on his right to keep and bear arms, not a private enterprise.
Regardless, brickbats for Mr. Finley for not being able to correctly complete a form that millions of under- and uneducated Americans finish without travail. But kudos to Mr. Finley for outing himself to demonstrate that gun sellers aren’t morally blind death merchants whose only concern is making a buck. Or not . . .
I can’t help wonder if Mr. Finley should have kept this episode to himself. The anti-gun side will use it as an example of an American who claims to be a “good guy with a gun” whose inability to control his emotions makes him a ticking time bomb.