'No masks allowed': St. Louis area gun store owner says face masks are a security threat


FENTON, Mo (KMOX) - The owner of a gun store is refusing to allow people into his store if they're wearing a face mask because he believes it's a security risk. There's a sign on the front that states: "STILL NO MASKS ALLOWED IN STORE." 

In a Facebook post, Ian McFarland of Modern Weapon Systems in Fenton, Mo. says he has "customers and my family and employees here to protect." He says it's "incredible" that any gun store or bank would anyone inside that's wearing a mask. 

"Are these people that stupid?" The post continues. "I have to ID everyone."

The store is just inside the Jefferson County border, which had a face mask mandate for all indoor public spaces in place for only one day because after the county health department approved the mandate, residents complained that the board had not properly notified the public about it. In nearby St. Louis County there is a face mask mandate for all indoor public places and businesses are required to refuse service to anyone not wearing a face mask.

McFarland spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the store's policy saying if customers are wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it will make his shop susceptible to robbers that can conceal their identity. 

A sign originally posted at the store stated, in part: "Masks are for cry babies, Democrats and robbers"

The store has had some negative reviews due to the policy, as some Yelp users have posted photos of a new sign on the front door. One reviewer stated, "Ian (the owner) apparently lacks regard for the lives of others.  There's really no other possible explanation for the real reason why he's got a sign like that on the door."

The store replied to one post from a prospective customer that was trying to ammo from them, which she claims she couldn't find anywhere else in the county for sale. She said someone at the store "Got a little pointed with me" after she inquired about the policy and says she was about to ask for curbside pickup. 

"Such a bummer that the owner didn't have an interest to make some kind of transaction happen because we drove 45 minutes each way to get here and really would have done anything to get it," the review states. Except not wear a mask..."

In a reply that was posted to Facebook by the Modern Weapon Systems, the gun store stated that the story was a lie and they "didn't allow me to talk or explain alternatives." 

The newspaper spoke to several other gun stores and the organizer of a recent gun convention in nearby St. Charles. Some told them that face masks are required or left up to the customer's discretion (depending on the rules of local government) and one store stated that customers just cannot completely conceal their face with a bandana or sun glasses. 

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