To say it's been a busy week at Tombstone Trading Company might be the biggest understatement of 2020.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Americans across the country have rush to their local gun stores to purchase firearms and ammunition at unprecedented rates. To meet the local demand in Massachusetts, we have taken steps to our operations to keep our staff safe as well as the public that comes into our shop.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17th, we began putting plans in place to limit the number of people that would be in our shop at any one time. We also set up a room for paperwork processing, where the tables are regularly sanitized and began going to a "one person, one pen" policy where each customer is given a new pen and takes that pen with them. This has proven to be effective to not only serve our customers but also reduce the risk of spreading the virus and keeping our staff safe. This has not been an easy adjustment as selling a firearm to someone is a very intimate experience, which would surprise most people. The typical firearm sale, at least the way we do it here at Tombstone Trading Company, is about spending as much time as needed with a customer. Often the firearm passed back and forth multiple times. This results in a physically closeness that is against the current "social distancing" guidelines of maintaining a 6' space between people. We are also limiting access to the shop to only those that possess a valid MA LTC or FID card and only the purchaser of the firearm/ammo. No one under 18 will be allowed in the shop at this time.
We continue to refine our process this week, finding ways to make it easier to serve as many people as possible. We had initially tried doing business by appointment only, but quickly found that was a complicated and frustrating process. As a result, we moved to a simple occupancy limit inside the shop of no more than 10, but at times less than that based on demands. The NICS (federal background check system) and MIRCS (Massachusetts system) have both been under tremendous stress and have been running slowly, but so far, consistently.
We have also begun to research remote training solutions for the LTC/FID safety classes that will allow us to continue to offer the training we are well known for. Details to follow as we figure that out.
Progress on getting our inventory listed on our website is moving forward, but it is a significant task and limited by the lack of hours in the day.
Even with all the obstacles in our way, we're getting it done and couldn't do that without the support of our customers. I am truly impressed by the understanding and support of all of them, when at times they have been standing in line for quite some time. Thank you from all of us!