Trump administration rules gun shops are ‘essential’ businesses amid coronavirus outbreak

Elias Hubbard
March 31, 2020

But the gun violence prevention group Brady said the NRA's lawsuit is misguided, saying the group cares more about profits than public health.

The National Rifle Association and other gun owner groups are suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials after gun stores were deemed non-essential businesses and ordered to close during a statewide stay-at-home order to curb coronavirus infections.

"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". "Our lawsuit cut right to the heart of what the Second Amendment is all about, which is personal protection during emergency situations like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the nation".

In recent weeks, firearm sales have skyrocketed.

Background checks increased 300% on March 16, compared to the same date a year ago, according to federal data shared with the NSSF, which represents gun manufacturers. Since February 23, each day has seen roughly double the volume over 2019, according to Mark Oliva, spokesman for the group. "Shuttering access to arms necessarily shutters the Constitutional right to those arms". "No court has held that you have a Second Amendment right to a stockpile of guns", he said.

The administration's intervention has been welcomed by gun rights groups, which have been lobbying to keep gun stores open and in some case filing lawsuits in several states including California and New Jersey. However, some states that have been most affected by the coronavirus have ruled that armories are not essential and should be closed.

KTTV-TV reported that "the governor later stated that sheriffs do have the authority to make such closures under the given circumstances, which once again led to Villanueva ordering that gun shops close to the general public".

"In this time when we all need to sacrifice to flatten the curve and stop this pandemic, it is disturbing that the NRA won't budge from its overriding goal - to increase gun industry profits at any cost", Brady President Kris Brown said. The NRA has been an unflinching backer of Trump, pumping about US$30 million (NZ$50m) toward his 2016 campaign.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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