On Saturday, March 28, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared that firearms manufacturers, distributors, ranges, and retail stores are “essential businesses” that must stay open during the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Two lines were added to the DHS’s memo regarding sensitive infrastructure, which gives state governor and local leaders an overview of what they can do:
- Workers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment and uniforms for law enforcement, public safety personnel, and first responder.
- Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.
Pro-Second Amendment organizations celebrated the decision in a time when state and local governments across the nation are attempting to infringe on peoples’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Cities like Champaign, Illinois banned the sale of firearms and ammunition. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered the shutdown of gun stores but the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF), and the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a lawsuit questioning the legality of the order.
“We are deeply appreciative to the Trump Administration and Department of Homeland Security for recognizing the vital role our industry fulfills in our nation,” Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) declared in a statement. “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 (CISA) is crucial to governors and local officials as they craft the orders to preserve public health.”
“Every freedom-loving American owes President Donald Trump and his administration a very big thank you for protecting our Second Amendment rights. This is another Trump promise made and promise kept,” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb remarked in a statement. “A lot of people have done incredible work this week to make it happen,” he continued. “A number of people, including governors and even mayors and at least one California sheriff appear to have let their personal politics get in the way of common sense public policy. During a time of crisis, we can think of no more essential endeavor outside of health care and emergency services than businesses that enable citizens to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”