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Firearms. (Photo: oag.ca.gov)

Trump Admin Names Gun Makers and Retailers Essential Businesses Nationwide

Swift reaction is result of gun rights groups jumping into action over the closing of gun stores during COVID-19 crisis

By Katy Grimes, March 31, 2020 12:46 pm

“It is precisely during such an emergency that we need government officials to stay within their authority.. and not one inch beyond.” Ammoland


Last week, the National Rifle Association, in conjunction with the Second Amendment Foundation, California Gun Rights Coalition, and Firearms Policy Conference, sued Governor Gavin Newsom and other state officials over the closing of gun stores in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, California Globe reported.

By Saturday, President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security released updated guidelines naming gun manufacturers and retailers as essential, which means they are to stay open and operational nationwide during a Chinese coronavirus shutdown, Breitbart reported.

This swift reaction is a result of gun rights and owners groups jumping into action.

Sam Paredes, Executive Director, Gun Owners of California. (Photo: GOC)

“Gun Owners of California (GOC) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) jumped into the fray immediately once gun stores were threatened with closure across the country, and made an official request of the Trump administration to clarify federal policy,” GOC reported. “Shortly after GOC and GOA sent a letter to the administration urging inclusion of the firearms industry as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revised its guidelines.”

“The sheriff of Los Angeles County, CA told stores to close,” Ammoland reported. “The mayor of LA said they would shut off water and power to stores that stayed open. The county council, the lawyer who advises LA county officials, told the sheriff not to close gun stores or he would face lawsuits. The sheriff rescinded and then reinstated his order to close stores. As predicted, he was sued by four human rights organizations within hours. Sheriffs in Pennsylvania and New York said they would not process concealed carry firearm applications. Officials in New Jersey and Illinois simply stopped processing the permits required to purchase a firearm.. and they were sued.”

The DHS guidelines list as essential:

  • Workers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment and uniforms for law enforcement, public safety personnel, and first responders.
  • Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.

Gun Owners of California reports:

The guidance now specifically includes “[w]orkers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure.

As this federal designation supersedes mandates to close gun stores from individual states, GOC has sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, noting CISA’s amended guidance that designates the firearms industry as essential. Newsom’s executive order had left the authority to close gun stores to local law enforcement agencies and further indicated he would follow recommendations from CISA. (emphasis GOC)

Ammoland reported:

“Give someone power if you want to see their character. Unfortunately, the usual characters have revealed themselves during the Wuhan virus epidemic. Government officials asked citizens to limit their contact with others in order to slow the spread of the virus. Some government officials went well beyond that. They closed roads, released jail inmates, refused to arrest or prosecute suspects, closed gun stores, and refused to process firearms applications.”

In his letter to Gov. Newsom, Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes said, “This advisory definitively states that those involved in the firearms industry should be exempt from any requirements that restrict their ability to conduct business, as they serve an essential need to the American public in a time of crisis.”

Jean Pagnone, firearms instructor. (Photo: Liberty Firearms Training)

Liberty Firearms Training owner and firearms instructor Jean Pagnone said she is also frustrated that gun ranges were considered non essential and many are closed.  “I teach a lot of women – mostly beginners overall – and they are frustrated that not only can they not buy what they want, but they also can’t be responsible gun owners by either learning the basics or continuing to train,” Pagnone said. “I have been bombarded with emails from adults who want to train and are frustrated that they have to wait.”

“As an instructor, not only is it my responsibility, but it is important to me that every gun owner is well trained in safety and the fundamentals.”

“I was pleased to see that the President stated that gun stores are an essential business,” Pagnone said. “In times of crisis, the Constitution doesn’t state that our civil rights are to be suspended.  It’s interesting because all of a sudden, it has dawned on people that they are responsible for their own safety.  I mean, the right to self defense is the most fundamental of human rights.  Denying law abiding citizens that right by shutting down gun stores ensures that once again, only criminals will have access to guns.  If anything, I hope that all of the new gun owners out there start paying attention to laws that pass at all levels – especially state and local.”
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