When occasional TTAG author Conner W. texted me the above screenshot, I was on the phone with the ATF. Yes, they called me at 7:00 PM central on a Saturday night. The reason for the call? To provide a warning and a suggestion.
Due to the high potential of civil unrest, including possible looting, the ATF is contacting all FFLs in certain cities (likely those located in cities over a certain size or meeting some other metric) to convey the following message:
• Lock it all up immediately. Right now. Lock up firearms, ammunition, and any related items as best as possible. Lock up or otherwise secure your records. Secure your premises.
• Don’t be there. It isn’t worth it. “Stuff” can be replaced, should your shop get looted. Your life and your family come first. So get out of dodge before things go sideways, if things go sideways.
I was surprised that the agent didn’t suggest that law enforcement would protect our business; for some reason I expected that empty attempt at…well…I’ll call it subtle manipulation (well-intended as it is) masquerading as reassurance.
There were no platitudes. Just a friendly reminder to secure things as well as we’re able to and a suggestion to not be there if and when things go bad.
On that note I’m conflicted. While all of us would prefer not to be on either side of a looting scenario that ends in violence or death, depending on one’s insurance situation, the looting of one’s business could be absolutely catastrophic. As it was for this guy.
Then again, I’m sure many (if not most) gun shop owners as well as thousands of small business owners of all types would say:
UPDATE: a few minutes shy of 11:00 PM and I received a robocall and the following email from the ATF, both providing the exact same message.
In the following video, a security agent for Q13 FOX News in Seattle snatches a patrol rifle from a rioter, who had just stolen it from one of the police cruisers seen burning and looted in the video. Two SPD rifles were reported stolen, but both have now been recovered:
So close to a mass shooting, one brave cop stopped it in the midst of the Seattle Riot, right outside Nordstrom. pic.twitter.com/4kotzHWv8S
— The Woods (@TheWood47173669) May 30, 2020