A Knoxville, Tennessee Federal Firearms Licensee says that he is willing to help answer the needs of lawful Ferguson, Missouri residents who feel that they need to arm themselves against rioters and arsonists.

A Knoxville pawn shop owner says he will ship guns to Ferguson, Missouri to help arm people there. Harvey Whitehead says he had heard there was a gun shortage in Missouri and saw an opportunity.

“Clearly there’s some unrest there, and when I saw local law enforcement encouraging locals to arm themselves, ‘Buy a gun, buy one soon,’ well, I wondered if there were enough guns locally in the local shops to meet the demands,”said Whitehead.

He went to Facebook to let Missouri residents know that if there is a shortage, he’s happy to provide firearms to people with a gun permit, who can pass a background check.

“We’d have to ship it to a federal firearms license holder in the state of Missouri in order to legally transfer the gun to a Missouri resident,” he said.

Whitehead says so far, he only has one Missouri customer, but he’s stocked and ready to go if he gets any more.

While I’ve heard a lot of things about Ferguson—many of them unverifiable—I’ve yet to hear that there is anything remotely like a shortage of firearms or ammunition. Sales of both firearms and ammunition have been very high in the area since the August riots, but retailers have consistently been able to acquire firearms, since sales have gone soft nationwide and many distributors are attempting to get rid of an overstock of firearms at rock-bottom prices.

There may be an appearance of a shortage as many retailers have opted to remove their firearms from store shelves to discourage looting, but most stores were still selling firearms up until yesterday, at which point law enforcement reportedly asked store owners to remove firearms from the stores for fear of looting when the grand jury announcement was made.

Law enforcement officials claim that they heard “heavy automatic gunfire” last night during the rioting, but they probably meant that they heard volleys of semi-automatic fire as rioters fired shots into the air. One television news crew reported being struck by a shot that had been fired from some distance away falling back to earth. Another reporter I briefly saw while scanning coverage last night claims that he heard a volley of 20-25 shots.

So far, all of the shots fired—more than 150 rounds, according to official estimates—are believed to have come from rioters. No law enforcement officers have discharged their service weapons, and only non-lethal crowd-control devices have been deployed. There are also no reports that we have found of residents firing on rioters in self-defense, even though there have been multiple accounts of citizens being evacuated from their homes because of arson to nearby buildings.

St. Louis police have stated that they cannot stop rioting without the deployment of up to 10,000 officers, and it appears that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will be calling up the National Guard units in anticipation of more riots this evening.

You are responsible for your own safety

As we’ve noted countless times, law enforcement officers and investigators are great at solving crimes once they have occurred. Most officers live for those rare moments when they can prevent crime or catch a criminal in the act, but they readily acknowledge that there are simply far too few officers on duty, covering far too large an area, to prevent most crimes from occurring.

In the end, you are your own first responder.

You bear the moral responsibility of defending yourself and your family against criminals.

We argue that is your duty as a law-abiding, rational, civic-minded adult to obtain firearms safety training, defensive firearm training, and a firearm and ammunition appropriate for your self-defense needs, and for the defense of your community.

The riots in Ferguson should be a wake-up for those who were too young to remember the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, where police were forced to abandon neighborhoods and fall back, and it was left for ad-hoc coalitions of neighbors to defend their homes and businesses.

Buy a firearm. Learn to shoot and store it safely and responsibly. Learn the laws of self-defense.

Your life, and the lives of those you love, may one day depend upon it as Darren Wilson’s did.