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MO – RETAILERS – No masks allowed in Jefferson County gun store, an example of the US divide

Charleen Shakman arrived at a Jefferson County gun shop thinking she was about to buy hard-to-find bullets. Instead, she was met that Saturday last month by a sign on the door of Modern Weapon Systems stating no masks were allowed in the store. “Masks are for cry babies, Democrats and robbers,” the sign said, in part. ”I’d never seen anything like that,” said Shakman, a gun hobbyist from Wildwood who enjoys target shooting with her husband. Shakman, after a heated argument with the store’s owner, left in a huff, without the bullets. The disagreement, which spilled online, gaining vitriol and attention, highlights the divide between maskers and anti-maskers playing out here and nationally. The fight has been especially contentious in Jefferson County. At a July 28 protest outside the county’s health department, one woman held a sign that read, “Hitler required compliance too.” One month later, the county health department board voted to put a mask mandate in place, only to revoke it a day later after residents complained that the board had not properly notified the public. Missouri has no statewide mask mandate. A patchwork of regulations governs businesses and residents across the St. Louis region. Jefferson, Franklin and St. Charles counties do not require people to wear masks in public. In St. Louis County, businesses must deny entry to customers who refuse to wear face coverings. In St. Louis, everyone must be masked in public when inside, and outside when social distancing is not possible. Businesses can refuse service to those who won’t comply. People not wearing masks can be fined in Illinois. Ian McFarland, the owner of the gun store, said it’s a security risk to allow a masked person inside, and makes his shop susceptible to robbers concealing their identities. He said at least two law enforcement sources — a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy and a representative of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — warned him about robberies and advised him not to allow masked people to enter.  [full article]

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