(PresidentialWire.Com)- Second Amendment activists can rejoice after the Department of Homeland Security said gun ranges, manufacturers and dealers are now a part of its list of essential businesses that should remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance was announced on Saturday by the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which considers “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors and shooting ranges” to be of essential need.
Before this, some local and state officials have closed down gun stores and plants that manufacture guns as part of a lockdown on which businesses could remain open during efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some states — such as Pennsylvania — initially closed down these businesses by then reversed course after backlash.
Now, with these new federal guidelines in place, it’s possible other states could re-open gun stores if they’ve already closed them, or not do so in the first place when implementing their own stay-at-home orders.
And it’s possible it could work. When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy closed gun stores in his state, his attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, pointed to the DHS to defend the decision, saying:
“The governor’s executive order tracks every other executive order that has a stay-at-home provision, and none of those — none of those — contain an exemption for firearm stores, nor does the federal guidance from Homeland Security contain that type of exemption when it comes to essential facilities and non-essential facilities.
The demand for firearms and ammunition has skyrocketed in recent weeks as the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., causing fear to increase significantly. As states closed gun stores, the National Shooting Sports Foundation sent a letter to DHS on March 20 asking the agency to add this list of businesses to the list of essential businesses.
As the general counsel for the NSSF, Lawrence Kane, said:
“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. Americans must not be denied the ability to exercise that right to lawfully purchase and acquire firearms during times of emergency.
“This guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is crucial to governors and local officials as they craft the orders to preserve public health.”
Similar to guidance the CDC, President Donald Trump and his administration have issued during this crisis, the new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security are non-binding. They are simply meant to guide states on how best to act during this uncertain time.
As the director of CISA, Christopher C. Krebs, wrote on March 28:
“This list is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”