As some gun shops have experienced an increase in sales locally, state legislators have debated whether they should remain open at all.

On April 2, Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard), vice chair of the House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee, sent a letter signed with dozens of other Democratic lawmakers, asking Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to close gun shops during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dels. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) and Karen Lewis Young (D) were two local lawmakers that signed the letter.

Atterbeary’s letter also offered the option of making gun shops open on a limited basis by appointment only, in order to prevent large gatherings and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Krimm said this week she thought Gov. Hogan was doing a good job, but wanted him to reconsider whether gun shops are essential businesses.

Having everyone couped up during a stay-at-home directive could lead to other issues if gun sales continue, she said.

“There are domestic violence issues, we’ve seen cases like that across the sate when we’re all indoors ... that is that type of thing that concerns me,” she said.

Lewis Young said she was concerned about reports of the lack of social distancing at some gun shops, and that gun shops were not as essential a business during the pandemic, like medical facilities and grocery stores. She noted other states, like New York, New Mexico and Massachusetts have ordered gun shops to close.

She agreed that having gun stores open on a limited, appointment basis would be a good option, but was concerned about the rush to buy guns.

“The last thing you want in a time of crisis is people to be paranoid and panicking, clearly they are stockpiling and that is dangerous,” Lewis Young said, noting the increased risk of domestic violence and suicide cases if people are isolated and have access to firearms.

On April 6, Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) sent a rebuttal letter to Hogan, signed by the Senate Republican delegation. It noted that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) reversed course on closing gun shops and re-opened them.

Hough said in an interview this week that many farmers in his district need firearms and ammunition in order to protect their crops, especially as the weather is starting to warm.

He also pointed to federal guidelines, which have deemed that gun stores are an essential business.

“They’re just using this crisis to promote their own politics ... this [gun stores] have been deemed essential, like grocery stores and pharmacies,” Hough said. “And grocery stores don’t run on an appointment-based process ... and you’ve seen some of the big box stores take measure to slow the spread of the virus.”

Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) agreed that gun shops should remain open, considering the farms in his district who need to protect their livestocks and crops. He added he grew up on a farm, and his neighbor would often need to protect his soybeans from deer and groundhogs.

“We’re in spring season and ... that creates pests in the fields, and I know the DNR has supported and encouraged hunting,” Cox said. “I know the governor has maintained hunting for goods and maintaining crops are protected activities at this time.”

Del. Ken Kerr (D-Frederick) is one local Democrat who didn’t sign on to Atterbeary’s letter.

He agreed with the idea that farmers need to be able to protect their crops, but also pointed. He added not many, if any, lawmakers from rural districts signed on to the letter.

“In rural districts, there’s a different perspective … I just don’t see where guns should be a focal point to this COVID-19 crisis,” Kerr said. “Closing a gun shop is not going to provide [personal protective equipment], it’s not going to save anyone’s job, it’s not producing a ventilator. Those are the things we should be focusing on.”

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(99) comments

Lev928

This comment will anger many firearm owners, both current and prospective, and that’s a good thing. As a lifelong trainee and carrier of multiple types of firearms, here are the FACTS:

The Second Amendment clearly states, in part, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

First, a “regulated militia” infers a military – or paramilitary -- force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency. Key words: “civil population to SUPPLEMENT a regular ARMY” and “emergency”. Any “regulated” army … or legal, authorized militia falls under certain rules and regulations. Hence, “regulated militia”. Second, such regulated militia are required to meet certain training standards … i.e., basic training, which includes the familiarization and use of firearms. Third, an “emergency” is not defined by the Constitution … it is defined and enacted by law, whether it be federal, state or local.

Finally, who do YOU want to be behind the trigger of a firearm? Do you want someone that has only completed a course of a few hours of combined online and range time? Or do you want someone that has a lengthy, ongoing required course of instruction and certification in the use and carry of a firearm?

Regardless of opinion, the FACT is that using a firearm is a skill that diminishes over time without consistent training. Muscle memory, decision making skill, light vs. low light shooting, close quarters vs. distance combat … the list is far greater than the mindset of many pro-firearms owners.

Maryland is a “may issue” state … not a “shall issue state”. And for good reason. HOWEVER, Maryland laws are corrupt with politics and an overall blindness to firearms ownership, concealed carry and training.

Firearms ownership and concealed carry should be open to ALL law-abiding citizens in the state of Maryland – and across the United States -- as long as they meet extensive basic and on-going training.

You are not part of a militia unless you are trained. The U.S. Constitution even says it should be regulated.

Hayduke2

Thanks for the reasoned post that has the ability to contribute to debate and dialogue.

Russian

Republicans are spending money like Obama was afraid to do on the economy!

phydeaux994

This is why gun stores are essential......

Six people were wounded in a shooting at a large party in California over the weekend, leading to a search for four suspects.

Investigators with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office said the incident happened Saturday evening at a party in a Bakersfield apartment complex with around 400 people in attendance, defying Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s "stay at home" lockdown order intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Officers responded to a 911 call at about 12:30 a.m. local time and found five adults and one juvenile wounded in the shooting. They were transported to a hospital for what were described as non-life-threatening wounds.

Russian

I’m voting republican in the fall why wouldn’t I they’ve tackled air pollution, traffic congestion, given most American 4 months of paid leave and eliminated stop and frisk.

phydeaux994

Tell Sheriff Jenkins that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, some in Frederick County, MD no doubt, have been designated as “ESSENTIAL” workers. Please don’t arrest them.

Russian

Several cities and counties will have to furlough or cut law enforcement pay gun stores are the last line of defense between a hungry mob and our families.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Before you go to purchase a gun or get an abortion before you riot or participate in anarchy please please remember to fill out and submit your census form. Your country is counting on you.

Sounds like you’re coming around to competent leadership? Rather than someone bragging about his TV ratings in the middle of a Coronavirus briefing... I doubt it.

Obadiah Plainsmen

You need to stop watching those briefings, they could pose a hazard to your health.

That’s true. But I put wouldn’t put the weight of the failure to respond in a coordinated fashion and quickly to pandemic without guidance from the national government. There are now 21,000 deaths in America they didn’t all catch it yesterday or 3 weeks ago, once the president announced it this wasn’t a hoax.

gabrielshorn2013

Were the state officials incompetent aw? After all, emergency response goes from local, then state, then national as the final backstop. The local and state governments are supposed to be able to provide a rapid and nimble response, while the Federal government ramps up. The question remains that why did some states abrogate their responsibility to their citizens and not be prepared? After all, it has been known that this pandemic has been coming for decades, right? Was it just easier to spend taxpayer money on other things since this was not a clear and present danger? Unfortunately, by the time it is, it's too late. This will not be the last one, so maybe state and local governments will remember that they have first-line responsibilities too.

gabrielshorn2013

BTW, look at the San Francisco Bay region who locked down before they even had a case, and their infection/death rates are extremely low. Compare that with the NYC area whose mayor, Bill DeBlasio encouraged their citizens to keep their normal routines, which included taking mass trans, despite of the rapidly increasing infection rates. A Tale of Two Cities...

Hayduke2

Gabe- your second post supports the need for a federal response in this situation. Guidelines from the top where there is more expertise was needed.

gabrielshorn2013

Not really hay. Do you think large metropolitan areas don't have microbiologists and epidemiologists available? They do. The officials in the Bay area listened, DeBlasio did not. Every politician should heed what their health professionals tell them.

Hayduke2

Again, the supports the need for a top-down, fact based approach.The disparity between resouces and information needed to be coordinated, focused and based on the best knowledge available when dealing with a global pandemic.

gabrielshorn2013

We will have to agree to disagree on this issue hay. A top down, or "one size fits all" approach rarely fits anyone. What may work in Frederick County will not work in NYC. A "bottom-up" approach tailors the response to the needs of the community. If a crisis expands to the state level, then the State is involved, meanwhile notifying the Feds that their help may be needed. When needed, the State calls on the Federal authorities, who were notified earlier and have ramped up their ability to respond. The Feds cannot turn on a dime because of their size and huge level of bureaucracy.

threecents

Come on Gabe. State and local heath labs were never designed to deal with pandemics - other than to encourage people to get flu shots. The federal govt has the pandemic specialists with the pentagon, USAMRIID, the CDC, NIH, and Homeland Security, as well as specific pandemic govt offices that were downsized or merged together by the Trump Admin.

gabrielshorn2013

I never said that they alone have the responsibility three. They certainly don't. However. they do have the primary response to any situation, and must be prepared for such, until the Federal government can step in. That means worst-case scenario planning, and stockpiling to meet such demand ahead of time before it is needed, not looking for supplies when they're needed. By that time it's too late, as we saw this year. The Federal response takes too long to gear up for an adequate initial response. The Feds also have their issues, such as nobody paying attention to the strategic stockpile of PPE after it was depleted in 2009. When the state and local authorities don't plan and stockpile appropriately, then rely on a Federal system whose stores were as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard, we get the results we saw in March.

threecents

How am I going to participate in anarchy without guns??!! I would need a lot of guns...

gabrielshorn2013

No, not a lot of guns, three. One gun with a lot of bullets (or shells) will do, if you chose properly.

KellyAlzan

Here at the Alzan camp we prefer to rely on the dog for our security. Step foot on our ground. Go ahead....I dare you

It’s a given the left aren’t too thrilled with the current administration. How many times have they said he’s incompetent? You agree now too? Such behavior is called panic.

Hold on to whatever you think will get you through. If buying a gun makes you feel more secure, if you don’t trust your neighbors, the better nature of man, the police, the national guard and if you’re not comfortable that the current administration can keep use safe, a total brake down in order is on the brink ‘go for it’, it’s essential, that makes sense.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Have you gotten yours yet, or do you already have a couple?

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

At Bosco Manor, we don't waste time calling 911. But, we will always fire a warning shot. It may be the second shot, but there will always be a warning shot.

Yep. I Have a couple inherited from family that served in WW I and II, doubt they still work and my wife grew up on a farm where weapons were everyday tools. She’s an excellent shot. 😳 Competitive Grade. But we don’t have guns out of fear for our safety. But maybe we should. Times have definitely changed.

gabrielshorn2013

Get yourself to a range and practice aw. Thinking you know how to use a firearm, and knowing you know how to use one are quite different if the occasion arises where you need to use it.

mgoose806

Heard Karen Lewis Young in her shrieking in a radio news report that leaving gun stores open could lead to increased domestic violence. Would think that leaving Liquor stores open would lead to increased domestic violence as well. No mention of that from KLY. Sure the Young household need to stay keep their liquor cabinet fully stocked during the Pandemic.

tchman321

mgoose gets it. How many DV situations involve alcohol? Owning a gun isn't going to suddenly make you a domestic abuser, to conflate the two is just plain dumb.

lindalee

No one is saying that having a gun suddenly makes someone an abuser, but a study has found that :a higher rate of firearm ownership is associated with a higher rate of domestic violence homicide in the United States, but that the same does not hold true for other kinds of gun homicide." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/22/us/gun-ownership-violence-statistics.html

Alcohol consumption has also increased under the stay-home orders. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/as-pandemic-and-stay-at-home-orders-spread-so-does-alcohol-consumption/2020/04/02/ad41bc3c-7430-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

"Alcohol abuse may increase the risk of violence in men who think abuse of women is appropriate and are also under socioeconomic hardship." hrlibrary.umn.edu/svaw/domestic/link/alcohol.htm

Due to stay-home orders, women are stuck at home with their abusers. The presence of guns and alcohol do not make anyone any safer. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/01/measures-control-spread-coronavirus-are-nightmare-victims-domestic-violence-advocates-are-demanding-that-governments-step-up/

C.D.Reid

Lewis Young in her shrieking. Boy, you sure got that right, mgoose. I CAN"T STAND to hear that witch speak. She's worse than that angry old white woman who ran for president a while back...…. what'shername.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

She should stick to really important matters - like trying to change the state song. Remember the line "the despots heel is on thy shore"?

lindalee

"Shrieking"?? Seriously?? I also questioned why liquor stores are staying open, and the explanations are that alcoholics, without booze, may resort to making their own, which could be dangerous, and they might get the DTs, and medical resources including hospital beds, need to be conserved for virus patients and not alcoholics going through detox. I still am not completely okay with liquor stores staying open, but the reasons seem plausible. The reasons for gun stores staying open seem weaker.

KellyAlzan

We have the greatest sheriff in the country. We don’t need him shops.

tchman321

Sheriff Jenkins IS great, and you know what? He supports our 2A rights :).

DickD

He is just telling you to do his job because he isn't going to do it. If he did you wouldn't, shouldn't need a gun.

gabrielshorn2013

Dick, I know you have heard it dozens of times, but what do you think the saying "when the need is immediate, the police are minutes away" means? The police are not there to protect you, they are there to investigate the aftermath.

Lemmy

This is why you own a firearm.

Police release video of deadly home invasion involving masked men

https://www.fox32chicago.com/video/672733

If you don't own a gun, just call FCPS Principal as I hear he's a superhero.

DickD

There absolutely are no reasons for gun shops to be open. Hough is wrong on farmers needing guns and ammunition. Any real farmer has all that he needs and doesn't waste a lot of time shooting varmints.

It's just more Republican malarkey.

C.D.Reid

Dick, you couldn't be more wrong about farmers needing guns to reduce the damage done to their crops by wild animals. Try to be realistic and look beyond your liberal beliefs for a change.

Hayduke2

Come on KR - suddenly farmers need a gun for their crop protection! What horde of beasts have invaded the county this year-

how did they survive past years? I don’t have an issue with guns being sold but don’t make dumb arguments

DickD

Hay told you, but really why would a farmer have greater need suddenly.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

When was the list developed and by whom?

The Grape of Wrath

Gun lovers can always eat their bullets. Lead is good for you. The notion it causes problems is a deep state conspiracy. So is copper, a vital element for metabolism. Claims to the contrary are Democratic hoaxes. Gun powder has carbon, a necessary ingredient for strong teeth. Sulfur cures bad breath. Potassium nitrate grows strong bones. Yes, gun lovers will be the most prepared for any stay-at-home order.

Lemmy

According to a report by the Crime Prevention Research Center, concealed carry permits have grown over 100 percent faster for women than for men.

Keep this in mind when you are hiding under the bed and your wife is fighting the intruders. She'd have a better chance with a firearm.

phydeaux994

Why does she need a CC License to shoot an invader. You can have as many guns as your little heart desires, even pink ones for the ladies, in your home. FYI, I only have one, gave the rest of them to our son. We sure have a bunch of misinformed Gun Rights advocates on this Forum. There ought to be a Test on the Gun Laws to get a gun. Sheesh!!!

Lemmy

Calm down granny. Just pointing out a statistic.

threecents

Phy[thumbup]

micky

The sky is falling !! Close the grocery stores, I meant gun shops, my bad !!

The Grape of Wrath

We need guns in the hands of untrained lay people so they can protect us from the tyrannical government! As an added benefit they can shoot anyone who tries to steal their toilet paper. Maga!

tchman321

You anti rights folks are so funny when things don't go your way. I'm glad many dems are realizing that 2A is there for them as well. If you don't like guns, don't buy one.

threecents

I think the specific issue here is untrained people with guns.

DickD

Now that is a crappie comment FP.

gabrielshorn2013

Fishy? [innocent]

DickD

Lol

steelersfan2005

The governor should re-evaulate what is essential and non-essential. Was the stay at home order lifted yesterday, it was like any other Saturday, no one stayed home.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

How many robberies have there been with a knife within the past couple of weeks?

DickD

How many were injured or killed?

KellyAlzan

Gun shops are not essential, we have the best police protecting us

Kelly Q Alzan

User1

Ah...the “lead” commentator with the “lead” sarcasm. All lead means Kelly is “the biggest”.

steelersfan2005

the lead commentator's sarcasm needs some work.

public-redux

It went over like a lead balloon.

C.D.Reid

Or a Pb Zeppelin.

threecents

KR[thumbup]

tchman321

When seconds matter, police are minutes away.

DickD

And you support Jenkins?

tchman321

I love Sheriff Jenkins, but even he knows the law can't be everywhere at once, it takes time to respond to a call. He supports our 2A rights.

When you dial 911, you have to provide your name, describe the situation, provide an address, and then dispatch has to put out a call, that takes time, then you have to wait for an officer/deputy to arrive and you will definitely hope one is near by. If they aren't nearby, you will wait even longer. This is not a knock on our police/sheriff dept, it is reality. In the time you are waiting, many things can happen. If you want to try and reason with the possibly armed person who broke into your house, that's your business, I'd rather not leave my the security of my family up to chance.

tchman321

We have prisoners being released, yet you want to deem gun stores non-essential? That is crazy. Now more than ever people need to be able to exercise their enumerated 2A right. Would they ever deem 1A unnecessary? Why is 2A always the red headed step child? I think what bothers them is that there are many first time buyers who are Dems, arming up.

The Grape of Wrath

Where are inmates being released? I read where felon Michael Avenatti was released on a judge''s orders, but he's rich. Rich felons are special. All the non-rich inmates are being left to languish in their cells, get infected and possibly die since no masks or ventilators or health care at all is being offered.

tchman321

Google is your friend.

DickD

I think what bothers you is that you don't know what you are talking about.

Lemmy

God help those kids if he's really a principal. He has the IQ of a folding chair.

The Grape of Wrath

What you mean of course is, the N-Words are coming! They're letting the N-Words out of jail and they're coming for our white women! Git yer guns! The N-Words are coming!

tchman321

So you equate prisoners to African Americans? Good to know. Shame on you.

C.D.Reid

FAUX-Principal is a closet racist.

threecents

FCPSP was reading between the lines. No need to get so defensive.

gabrielshorn2013

Reading between the lines for a nonexistent narrative three.

guns now. other personal property later. slippery slope indeed. where does it end? forced vaccinations? camps for people with the virus? got an extra room in your house, you will now house a homeless or illegal person. your name ends with the letter b well you can only go out and take care of personal business on mondays.wake up america!

The Grape of Wrath

Don't worry! Those with guns will protect us! Hahahahah!

Lev928

Corrupt Maryland politicians ... both Democrat and Republican, but especially Dems ... look for ANY chance they can take advantage of to violate the Constitution and law. They're using this virus pandemic to seek further gun control measures without cause. Firearms, ammunition and their related accessories are a primary source of defense against the idiots that will also take advantage of this crisis: the criminal element. Keep in mind that most firearm owners have had their gun long before this situation -- along with actual training, experience and ammunition. If you want to keep the opportunistic, untrained and inexperienced potential firearm owners in their place for the better of society, so be it ... just as long as it conforms with the U.S. Constitution and law. Democrats demanding the closing of gun shops does not conform with either.

rand_d

Actually it seems the republicans are the opportunistic ones. Pandemic? Spread fear of robbery to please the gun lobby that lines their pockets. Mass shooting? “They’re gonna take our rights away! We better buy up all the bump stocks and AR15s while we can!”. It seems abiding by the constitution, that specifically states “A well regulated militia” and was written in a time where it took as long to reload a shot, as it does to now shoot 100 people.. is only important when it benefits republicans. Any other time, go ahead and change laws relating to the constitution. Invite foreign powers to hack emails, invite them to investigate political rivals. Many businesses are closed to stop the spread of the virus. That’s more important right now than complaining about natural progression of people. The entire world knows we have a gun problem. The majority of Americans know we have a gun problem. The next logical step is to solve that problem, so we stop losing so many American lives to violence every year.

bnick467

"The majority of Americans know we have a gun problem.". Hell, the whole WORLD knows we have a gun problem. Social media is full of memes making fun of the U.S. and our gun laws, most recently are all of the ones telling us we should be proud that we have gone an entire month with no school shootings.

User1

If you had bothered looking at the statistics and not the Frederick county Dimocrats hype you would see that a majority of these new first time gun buyers are the “nevergunners” or in words you can understand Liberals. A lot of these are people purchasing long guns like shotguns for home defense. There currently is no requirement for gun safety classes or certification like there is for handguns. That is what scares me.

DickD

Where did you get that information, User. Or did you just make it up like your hero Trump.

gabrielshorn2013

Dick, come on, it was an article in the FNP that you commented on. They interviewed several area gun shop owners who stated that a lot of their new customers are those that never owned firearms before, and insisted that those new owners get training. That is also different than the mandatory training and permitting needed for handguns in Maryland.

rbtdt5

Can't buy a bump stock anymore. You can make one for about $2 though. But the law to outlaw them made people feel better, so they got that.

DickD

Would you know how to use one, Rabbit?

rbtdt5

Ah, back to name calling on this beautiful Easter morning. Surprised you are here calling people names and not at mass or spending time with your family. Silly statement, so I assume it was said only to call me a name and not looking for an answer. Well, Happy Easter to you anyway.

DickD

Ahhh, you don't like to be called Rabbit, that is too bad.[lol]

gabrielshorn2013

I was wondering if someone was going to roll out that now debunked "a well regulated militia" attack. Please read District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742.. when written, the term "regulated<=i> did not have the meaning it has now. Look it up.

tchman321

They are salty because there are many first time buyers who realize the police/govt can't protect them. Many of these new owners are blue voters.

DickD

So, you don't believe in law and order and want to take the law into your hands.

tchman321

If you want to dial 911, and wait minutes, hoping and praying that you and your family aren't harmed when someone breaks into your home, that's your business. Thankfully The Constitution & Bill of Rights exist, and we have the choice to protect ourselves.

Lev928

tchman321 ... While I'm a strong supporter of the Constitution and law, Maryland politicians and law do not see it the same way. Maryland is not a "castle doctrine" state. You cannot shoot someone in your own home (Burglar, home invader, etc) UNLESS you have no means of escape. The bottom line is that even though one may be justified by protecting themselves under the color of the Constitution, Maryland will most likely prosecute the victim that used deadly force.

phydeaux994

Another “gun expert” who doesn’t know squat about Maryland Gun Laws. Maryland IS a “castle doctrine” State, as is Virginia, which allows the homeowner to use “reasonable” deadly force. This has happened in both Maryland and Virginia recently and no homeowners have been charged with anything.

Lev928

Hi, Fido ... unlike YOU, I actually AM an expert in firearms and the law. I've worked in both fields for over three decades. YOU are publicly posting FALSE information about Maryland law. It is NOT a "castle doctrine" state. In fact, politicians in recent time have been TRYING to make it such a state. The current law does not read as such. Need recent proof? https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/local/del-neil-parrott-seeks-castle-doctrine-for-maryland/article_6369d3c4-e723-57ce-9342-f98e98ae44f9.html

Lev928

For a more complex response, Fido --- if you can follow along --- Maryland is not a "castle doctrine" nor a "no retreat" state by statute. YOU as a victim (aka a shooter) must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were faced with a deadly force encounter within your own domicile and had no means of safe egress (escape) when you used deadly force. That's the layman terminology. I hope you never find yourself in that situation in Maryland, because as of right now you realistically face the probability of arrest and prosecution for defending you own life and the lives of others while in your own home. This is why Maryland politics and its ideology is corrupt. Also --- and it's a very critical part of this topic ---- the simple right to own a firearm in no way qualifies and individual to safely, properly or tactically use it. Training is key, and Maryland law does not live up to training requirements for ownership or concealed carry. Especially concealed carry. However, that's another topic for debate.

public-redux

“ couped up“

“Cooped up”, I presume?

gabrielshorn2013

I saw that too public, and thought I missed the overthrow of the government. I checked a few news websites, and nope, government still in place.

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