On the afternoon of March 24, two Delray Beach, Fla., code enforcement officials walked into Wex Gunworks and told owner Brandon Wexler that he had to shut down over concerns about coronavirus. Wexler’s mind immediately went to the customers who had begun flooding his shop as the deadly virus spread. Florida law requires stores to hold guns purchased by residents without gun-carry permits for at least five days. Wexler had more than 500 people waiting on their purchases at the time.
“You’re violating their rights. They can’t protect their families, their property. And God forbid if this thing turned sideways,” Wexler said. “I need to help these people. I went into fireman mode.”
In addition to running the gun shop, Wexler is a Palm Beach County firefighter. The 13-year department veteran had already taken steps to keep his customers safe from the virus by canceling classes and enforcing social distancing. He bristled at the notion that the store had to shutter completely. Wexler sees no difference between his job as a first responder and his role as a shop owner. Both are more essential than ever in times of crisis.
“Forget me being a business owner, I’m more concerned about my customers,” he said. “This is stupid. They are violating our constitutional rights.”
After the March visit, Wexler reached out to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents firearms manufacturers and retailers, for help as he prepared a lawsuit. Mark Oliva, an NSSF spokesman, said the organization is working with gun stores across the country facing similar fights. – READ MORE
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