President Trump overturned the previous administration’s decision on essential businesses and designated gun sellers as “critical” infrastructure making them exempt from mandatory shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.
The order includes: “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”
A spokesperson for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that spearheaded the effort to reverse the ruling, emphasized its list of mandatory shutdowns served only as a guide for federal agencies, states, and local governments to use in determining which industries should be allowed to continue operation during the pandemic.
According to the CISA, individual jurisdictions retain the authority to “add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.”
The agency said in its advisory, “All decisions should appropriately balance public safety, the health and safety of the workforce, and the continued delivery of essential critical infrastructure services and functions.”
Gun rights groups across the country that had been critical of decisions in New Jersey and California to ban the sale of firearms until the current crisis passes celebrated the decision by the Trump administration.
Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said, “In these uncertain times, the ability to protect yourself — and to acquire firearms, magazines and ammunition — should not be ignored.”
Gun rights groups sued Los Angeles County last week after its sheriff shut down gun stores. The groups sued the county claiming the closures violated the Second Amendment.
The Brady Campaign, a gun-control advocacy group, released a statement saying local and state governments should have the sole authority to shut down businesses. Kris Brown, president of the campaign, said the new advisory is “ill-conceived and dangerous.”
She added, “State and local governments are well within their constitutional rights to broadly close businesses in order to prevent the spread and flatten the curve, and they are definitely not required to designate gun industry businesses as ‘essential’ and keep them open. There is no constitutional right to immediately buy or sell guns, and there is certainly no right to spread coronavirus while buying or selling guns.”
In Los Angeles, every gun shop had lines out the door and down the block for several weeks. The visual of thousands of residents waiting in lines to buy firearms is what probably initially spurred LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva to order his deputies to close down gun stores.
With 10 million residents, Los Angeles is the nation’s largest county. To slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the county enacted a stay-at-home order last week that required all “nonessential businesses”, including gun shops, to close.
Sheriff Villanueva determined that gun shoes were not essential business and said they were selling to the public due to a “loophole” that allowed them to stay open. However, Los Angeles County counsel’s office issued a statement on Tuesday that “gun stores qualify as essential businesses.”
Nationally, orders that deem gun shows as nonessential are a mixed bag of sometimes conflicting rulings.
It’s not just LA politicians who are using the Covid-19 outbreak to enact their far-left agendas. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf quietly labeled gun stores as non-essential but then allowed the stores to reopen this Tuesday Pennsylvania after receiving major backlash for the order. Similar closings and reopenings save occurred in New Jersey and New York.
The best indicator that the demand for guns is at an all-time high is that background checks shot upward 300 percent compared to the same date in 2019.