For once, Your Wonkette presents a story from Florida that is not calculated to leave you shaking your head and saying, “Effin’ Florida, man.” After the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a pawn shop owner in Seminole F-L-A has decided to get out of the gun-reselling business. Frank James, owner of Loanstar Jewelry and Pawn, said that as he watched the news of the Newtown shootings, “I basically broke into tears and looked up on the wall, seeing the types of firearms I am selling,” and decided that he could no longer continue to sell the kinds of weapons that were used to kill first-graders. His youngest child is six years old.
“I dropped my daughter off at school this morning. That was enough for me,” James said. “Conscience wins over making money.”
James, a former Connecticut resident himself, noted that the unknowable consequences of selling deadly weapons had weighed upon him:
“I probably would have sold a firearm to that woman thinking she’s buying it for her own defense, and then something like that happens….That’s something I couldn’t live with.”
He also acknowledged that the decision could prove costly, since roughly half of his shop’s income derived from gun sales.
James said after talking with his 6-year-old daughter, he couldn’t put the AR-15 back on display.
“I’m not trying to send a message. I’m not trying to change laws. I believe in the Second Amendment,” he said. “I just don’t want to be part of a business where the ingredients . . . can cause such destruction.”
Experts at conservative think tanks were perplexed by James’ decision, noting that it appeared to put the hypothetical damage that might be done by a firearm ahead of the potential for profit and the extremely slim chance that the firearm might be used to head off a tyrannical power grab by the federal government. After all, allowing cheap sentimentality to inform our politics — such as imagining that our six-year-old daughter could have been one of those kids in Connecticut — might make it difficult to tout the impeccable logic of carrying guns everywhere.
A discussion board at the Florida Shooters Network astutely condemned James’ move as a “publicity stunt to garner sales on the backs of dead kids” and opined that his business must have already been failing, obviously. Participants in a discussion at “AR15.com” concluded that James must have already lost his federal firearms license and is simply putting forward this story as an excuse; another analyst predicted that James will hold on to the weapons and sell them at a premium once they are banned. Both forums were careful to note that the owner of a pawnshop is in no position to make moral judgments at all, as he doubtless traffics in stolen merchandise from meth tweekers and “takes advantage of the poor.”
No comment was available from any of the 242 Americans shot and killed in the two weeks since December 14.