BERGEN, N.Y. (WROC) — After an initial spike in sales following the start of coronavirus outbreak, The Firing Pin in Bergen, has closed, following call from an officer from Governor Cuomo’s “Executive Order Task Force.”
“We were absolutely slammed,” said Brandon Lewis of FTP, describing the very first “rush week” the business had. Lewis says on an average week they sell 50 to 80 firearms, but:
“In seven days we sold 230 firearms,” he said. “That was unprecedented.”
Lewis says the home defense weapons were primarily sold. He and his staff were doing their best to teach, educate, and provide proper firearm for home defense, after a proper background check.
He says there was also an uptick in customers who had never purchased a gun before.
But like any business owner, he’s both trying to sell a product and service, while keeping people safe.
“A bolt action hunting rifle is not a good home defense gun,” he said. “We would try to disuade people the best we could… I’m not going to sell you something that would punch through a wall or two.”
But before even before the NYS on Pause was announced, they would enact measures to curb crowds, by having people park, then calling them in.
“We would have people wait in their cars for two hours sometimes,” he said. “It was actually kind of fun too, people were talking to each other through their cars about guns.”
But even that became too cumbersome, and they were operating by appointment only.
Once the executive order was signed — at least in the minds of Lewis and his staff — they were still allowed stay open for business. The order itself, under the 11th bullet point which codified what an essential business is. The fourth sub-bullet was simply called “security.”
As The Firing Pin sells firearms for home security — as well as fulfilling contracts with local law enforcement agencies — they stayed open. Especially since they need to stay in the store to follow up trace requests, where law enforcement follows the paper trail of the firearms.
“We thought it was all-encompassing,” Lewis said.
That changed on Friday when Lewis took a call from an officer from Governor Cuomo’s “Executive Order Task Force.”
“They said we are not an essential business, and we needed to be closed immediately,” Lewis said.
He said that they received information that they were still open for an outside source, following a call a week before from the Genesee County Health Department had received a complaint that they’re open, even though they were appoint-only.
Genesee County Health Department said this in a statement to News 8:
We are unaware of this complaint. Complaints are being handled through the New York State Department of Labor.
We then reached out to the New York State Department of Labor, using the email the Health Department gave us. They replied:
Guidance regarding essential and non-essential businesses is under the pervue of Empire State Development. You will need to reach out to them for clarification.
News 8 has reached out to Empire State Development multiple times, and has yet to receive a response.
Lewis had his own back and forth as well:
“He said ‘we’re working directly with the governor’s office, and we have the authority to issue out and take back your resellers certificate and your New York State dealer’s license,” Lewis said.
Lewis says he didn’t get any direct paperwork or an email from the officer, and he’s trying to get more information; about the caller themselves, and the order in general, but recognizes that the state government is overloaded with requests.
Lewis says thet’re doing what they can scrape by — including filling out payroll protection — but the new “multi-use area” in the old snow tubing park in Batavia is definitely on hold.