Gun Store Richmond
A video shows a gun store owner in Virginia refusing service to a young black customer in what the video poster labels "stereotypical injustice." Screenshot

Chris King Mason of Richmond, Va., posted a video on Nov. 6 that has since been rapidly shared on social media for the Hopkins Gun and Tackle store’s refusal to sell him a firearm in what the attempted customer labels “stereotypical injustice.”

The man identified as the owner of the store, Vance Hopkins, can be seen refusing service to the man recording the video on his phone, Chris King Mason. In a Facebook post, Mason appealed to social media users to take notice of the store owner's refusal to even consider selling him a firearm.

“URGENT!! URGENT!! URGENT!! Do not I repeat do not purchase anything from Hopkins Gun and Tackle on Mechanicsville Turnpike in Richmond, Va. 2 seconds into me walking inside, the owner of this store refused to sell me any firearms,” Mason writes on the caption to his original Nov. 6 Facebook post.”

The exchange in the video begins with the man behind the counter, who later identifies himself on the phone as "Vance Hopkins," telling the would-be customer he will not sell him a firearm under any circumstances.

“I’m not going to sell you a gun. I don’t have to have a reason not to sell you one,” the owner says, before being asked by Mason if he’s “just stereotyping” him.

“I’m not gonna answer that, that’s crazy,” the owner responds. “We have to follow all federal guidelines and we’re not gonna sell you a gun. And if you don’t go ahead and leave the premises I’m gonna call the police.”

Mason then turns the phone on himself to record, “So I just walked in Hopkins Gun & Tackle and before I could say anything this man right here said he would not sell me a firearm. And his reason? What’s your reason again? You don’t need a reason?”

According to Mason, the gun store owner described his reason for refusal as, “I will not sell you or your friend any firearms because my reason to believe is that you will sell them to someone else”.

Mason continues describing the event, "At first I presumed that he wasn’t serious because I am a regular customer, until he stood by his decision not to sell me anything and ask that I remove myself from the store. I will not be racially profiled and be a part of stereotypical injustice, especially where I spend MY MONEY. TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM HOPKINS GUN AND TACKLE!! MAKE THIS GO VIRAL! LET’S SEND THEM OUT OF BUSINESS!!!✊_✊_ #These m***********s got the wrong one today"

The Facebook page for the Hopkins Gun And Tackle store has been removed since the video began spreading on Facebook and other websites. Mason writes in an ensuing post that a series of negative comments began to barrage the page since the rapid spread of the recording. Google Reviews for the store show a widely varying back-and-forth of people supporting the store and then those also blasting it as a racist shop.

"He does Racial Profiling. He never gave a plausible reason WHY he wouldn't sell a firearm to a guy that has bought several from his shop in the past. Smh," reads a one-star review comment on Google.

Another comment criticized the negative comments and instead said they are encouraged to shop at the gun store now: "Apparently people don't understand what "right to refuse service" means. Good job. If he is legal he can go somewhere else. Good job using discretion. When it comes to firearms better safe then sorry. The people boycotting you don't bring you business anyway. 5stars here. If I'm ever in your neck of the woods. I'll spend my money here."

On Tuesday, Mason posted a collage of videos and screenshots thanking his social media followers and supporters for allowing the video to go viral as well as shedding light on the owner.

"I want to personally thank everyone that has stood beside me during this ridiculous situation. This video has reach 1.1 million views in less than 24 hrs and is still ascending! It is definitely receiving the attention that it needs to shed light on what’s actually occurring inside of this owner’s store,” wrote Mason on Facebook.

“Numerous upset reviews and bad ratings has resulted in a loss of customers, and also forcing him to take down his Facebook account. This owner of Hopkins Gun and Tackle has since released a statement in which he fabricated a story to help cover himself. I did not come into his store with four or five people, only myself and one other person. That statement only shows me that he is fully aware that how he treated me was completely unacceptable. This man is pathetic. A waste of skin.”