While the Covid-19 virus is ugly all on its own, the worst impact may still be the stupidity sweeping the nation. It’s also giving local and state-level tin-pot dictators all the justification they need to start shutting down businesses that have nothing at all to do with anything.
You see, it’s questionable at best for them to shut down bars, restaurants, and theaters, but at least a case can be made that such places make it easier for the disease to spread.
But gun stores? Gas stations? Liquor stores?
Those have no impact on the virus to speak of. While it’s possible to get the disease at any of those places, it’s just as possible to get it at your local grocery store on chatting with your neighbor over the backyard fence.
Yet simply facts won’t stop some city leaders in Illinois from trying to shut all three of those down.
Municipal officials throughout the state are considering measures to grant local leaders emergency powers to ban the sale of things such as guns, gasoline and liquor as concerns over the spread of COVID-19 mount.
Last week, President Donald Trump wrote in a letter: “I have determined that the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency determination under … the ‘Stafford Act’.”
The move allows local and state governments to get assistance from the federal government. It also gives more powers to the federal government to manage declared emergencies.
Also last week, Champaign city officials unanimously approved a resolution giving the city the ability to, among other things, halt the sale of weapons and gasoline, and close businesses including liquor establishments, ration supplies, compel evacuations and cut off utilities.
“You don’t have to wait for the train to run over you before you get out of the way,” Champaign City Attorney Fred Stavins said. “It’s important that this is an effort to get ahead of this rather than wait for the worst situation in the community.”
Now, we’ve already covered Champaign’s nonsense. And yes, it’s just that. It’s nonsense.
However, for people in Champaign, it’s also the law. It’s wrong and unconstitutional, but there are penalties for violating that law.
They’re not alone, either.
In Springfield, officials introduced a measure this week to allow the mayor to declare an emergency and establish a curfew.
“The Champaign ordinance goes quite a bit farther, but we can go through this,” Springfield corporation counsel Jim Zerkle said. “This sets the framework … because our current code of ordinances does not address the situation of a local state of emergency.”
Springfield aldermen will take up the proposed ordinance to allow the mayor to establish a curfew and suspend gas, weapons and liquor sales at an emergency meeting Tuesday.
We’re likely to see far more of this in the coming days and weeks, at least until the disease’s spread is halted. That’s bad because we just don’t know how long that will be.
China claims they’ve basically halted the spread of the disease, but if you believe anything China tells you, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Italy has been at this for more than a month but there’s absolutely no sign of the disease slowing down. Of course, Italy is different than the United States. Their healthcare system is jacked up and their culture doesn’t have the personal boundaries American culture does.
We also don’t know how much of the rise in cases in Italy is because of an increased spread of the disease and how much is simply more people being tested.
So, we don’t know how long this is going to go on.
That means these communities looking to halt gun sales may keep gun stores shut down for months, potentially. That’s likely to be enough to kill many gun stores. If there’s a saving grace, though, it’s that most had a massive influx of cash in recent days from the buying sprees. That might be enough to hold them over.
Regardless, though, these communities are trying to spin this like it’s a necessary step in this particular emergency. It’s no such thing. They’re just using the virus as an excuse and nothing else.