God & Trump Are My Leaders, Not You: MA Gun Store Owner's Message to Gov't Trying To Shut His Doors


Of all the Constitution-trashing actions taken during the COVID-19 lockdown, none is more obviously illegal than declaring gun stores “nonessential” and shuttering them.

There are few businesses in America whose existence is protected by both a constitutional amendment and by Supreme Court decisions like Heller v. District of Columbia. That doesn’t matter to the governors of plenty of blue states who’ve decided that exercising your right to protect yourself could result in you getting COVID-19.

Liquor stores, meanwhile, remain open. And yes, as I’ve pointed out before, I understand that you don’t want ICUs flooded with alcoholics forced to detox — but the constitutional right to hooch only exists to cancel out Prohibition and there’s no evidence that you’re any more likely to get infected with coronavirus in a gun store than you are in the Cheep-Booz Liquor Outlet.

In Massachusetts, it’s actually a Republican governor who’s closed the state’s firearm dealers — although a Republican in Massachusetts isn’t necessarily indicative of someone who believes in constitutional freedom. (See: Romney, Mitt.)

In this case, Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered the state’s gun stores to close because of the coronavirus crisis. That doesn’t concern John “Mr. Gunrunner” Costa, however.

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You don’t get a nickname like that without a dedication to the Second Amendment, and Costa certainly delivers.

Not only is he not afraid of Massachusetts functionaries trying to close his store, he says that his only leaders are “God and [President Donald] Trump.”

In a talk with MassLive (a “brief interview before hanging up,” natch),  the owner of The Gunrunner LLC (again, natch) explained he has no intention of complying with the “insane socialist governor” and his order, saying they’ll have to “drag” him out of his store.

“That guy is an idiot. He’s a liar. He’s a RINO [Republican In Name Only],” the Middleborough firearms dealer said.

Are gun shops essential businesses?

“And I’ll tell you something right now, the attorney general has her hand so far up his butt that she can actually move his mouth. So no, I will not comply to this insane socialist governor. And that’s why I won’t close.”

Costa noted that most states are respecting the Second Amendment and designating gun shops as “essential.” This is particularity important given the fact that gun sales are at record highs, likely due to the uncertainty COVID-19 has presented and the potential of not getting police protection if things take a turn for the worse.

“This thing with the governor, all the rest of the country, most gun shops are open,” Costa said. “This governor, his plan is to shut down the gun shops, not because the spread of the pandemic, it’s all about taking away our rights. It’s all about preventing the sales of guns.”

Costa says that there’s hardly any risk of COVID infection, either, considering the fact that he deals with customers in their cars. They mention what gun they’re interested in, he brings it out to show them, and if they want it they buy it.

“They see the gun. If they like it, fine. I sell them the gun,” Costa said. “Everything is done at the vehicle. No one comes in here. That’s called curbside service.”

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He compared this to how restaurants are doing business.

“This is really funny, all the restaurants are doing curbside service yet nobody is telling them they can’t do that,” Costa said.

“They’re all open. And what do they deal with? They deal with food. How the hell do you know if any of them people in that restaurant is not infected with the virus, meanwhile handling the food and giving it to us to take home. I won’t buy a damned thing from these restaurants.”

He’s not going anywhere, as evidenced by his appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio show earlier this month.

“They’re going to have to drag me out of here or kill me, one or the other,” he said, according to Fox News.

“They’re not worried about the coronavirus. They’re using that as a backdrop to put us Second Amendment people totally gone, out of business, and that’s the way it is.”

Costa was issued a cease-and-desist order by the town of Middleborough on April 2. He’s continued to offer curbside gun service, however. The Massachusetts Bureau of Firearms hasn’t commented on the legality of firearm sales at curbside, but Baker’s executive order has shuttered gun stores until May 4.

“The only folks on the firearms side that have been essential in Massachusetts since we introduced the essential order are manufacturers,” Baker said earlier this month when asked to make it clear whether gun shops should be closed.

While the Baker administration is currently facing a suit by a group of gun store owners, Costa isn’t among them. Instead, he’s relying on his two bosses, neither of whom is Baker.

“I will stick to my guns. I will stick to the Constitution which gives me every damn right to stay open,” Costa said. “My boss, I have two leaders, God and Trump. No one else.”

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture