Trump Admin Lays Down the Law: Gun Stores Are Essential Businesses

The coronavirus crisis has led to a lot of confusion throughout the country as state officials scramble to divide businesses into two categories: Essential and Non-Essential. The categories have given rise to serious decisions, such as whether or not a particular restaurant can really qualify as an essential business in a shutdown. They have also given rise to absurdities – see the saga of GameStop, which seems to be doing everything possible to keep peddling their overpriced second-hand video games during the pandemic.

But most importantly, the crisis has led to some serious confusion about the Second Amendment. In a few states, local officials have attempted to label gun dealers as “non-essential” and forced stores to close at a time when many Americans are thinking…you know, this might not be the worst time to get a firearm for home protection.

“We have seen over the past week hundreds of thousands, even millions of Americans choosing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to ensure their safety and the safety of loved ones during these uncertain times,” said Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Americans must not be denied the ability to exercise that right to lawfully purchase and acquire firearms during times of emergency.”

Right. There are quite a few considerations that need to be deliberated when deciding to make a particular business close down during the coronavirus epidemic. Among them: “Is the product this company sells explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution?” And if the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t need any further deliberation. Gun stores should be among the very last businesses forced to close in this national emergency.

On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security decided to cut through the confusion.

In guidance, they said that “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” should be considered essential.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation praised the president for releasing the new federal guidance.

“Every freedom-loving American owes President Trump and his administration a very big thank you for protecting our Second Amendment rights,” he said. “This is another Trump promise made and promise kept.”

The guidance, by itself, is not legally binding. In other words, states can still shut down gun stores at their own discretion. But with this guidance being released from Washington, those states will have to think very carefully about doing so; it will certainly make it that much more likely that lawsuits challenging the shutdowns will prevail in court.

Listening, blue state liberals?

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