Heavy-handed Shutdown Orders Met With Civil Disobedience, Officer Discretion

Heavy-handed Shutdown Orders Met With Civil Disobedience, Officer Discretion

We’ve got two great interviews on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, and both of them deal with draconian shutdown orders from governors and how folks are responding to them. First up, firearms instructor Rob Pincus joins the show to talk about an act of civil disobedience in New York over the weekend. Pincus held an actual training course at a range in Mount Vernon, New York, despite the fact that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared ranges to be non-essential businesses that must remain closed at the moment.

Pincus says that he and the staff at Pioneer Shooting Center weren’t out to grandstand, but simply hoped to show a way forward for indoor ranges to begin operating again. For this past weekend’s event, that meant a class size about 50-percent smaller than usual, masks for all participants, gloves for the training staff, and plenty of hand sanitizer for class attendees. The duration of the class was also shorter than usual, and attendees took a break in the middle to head outside and get fresh air, though Pincus also stated that the normal classroom portion of the training class was actually conducted on the range because the ventilation systems used in indoor ranges are designed to recycle and filter the air far more effectively than a standard HVAC system.

Pincus adds that one New York-area doctor who’s been caring for COVID-19 patients offered advice on best practices to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and believes that the training session can serve as an example for other ranges and instructors moving forward.

Culpeper County, Virginia Sheriff Scott Jenkins also joined me on today’s show to discuss the current executive order from Gov. Ralph Northam, and why the sheriff says he won’t be aiding the local health department in enforcing Northam’s social distancing rules. As the sheriff explains, from a constitutional perspective he has concerns over some of the rules, like those limiting public and private gatherings to no more than ten people. Jenkins also has concerns from a purely pragmatic standpoint and believes that using the heavy hand of law enforcement to arrest residents who might be violating the governor’s orders would cause more problems than it would solve.

Jenkins communicated his stance late Tuesday on the Facebook page of the Sheriff’s Office, in response to an inquiry by the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, an arm of the Virginia Department of Health which is charged with enforcing Northam’s order.

“My response to that request is that we will not trample the constitutional freedoms of our citizens to enforce an edict of the Governor,” Jenkins wrote. “I do not speak for any of the other jurisdictions in the health district.”

Both Rob Pincus and Sheriff Scott Jenkins understand that the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus is real, but they also understand that the virus itself isn’t the only issue at the moment and that our rights don’t simply disappear when a state of emergency is declared. Opening and operating businesses safely and responsibly are key, but both believe that in many cases, social distancing is best addressed as a matter of personal responsibility, not authoritarian or unconstitutional orders handed down by governors.

Be sure to check out both interviews above, and stick around for more stories, including a San Antonio homeowner who held a burglar at gunpoint for local police, and a good Samaritan who rescued several neighbors when their Pennsylvania home caught fire.