The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Saturday declared firearm manufacturers, distributors, ranges and retail stores as "essential businesses" that should remain open during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The following two lines were added to the DHS' memo about critical infrastructure, which serves as a guide for state governors and local leaders:
- 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-gun organizations applauded the decision, especially as state and local governments across the nation attempt to hider peoples' ability to practice their Second Amendment rights. The city of Champaign, Illinois banned the sale of firearms and ammunition. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered gun stores to shut down 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 challenging the legality of the move.
“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) said 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 said in a statement. "A lot of people have done incredible work this week to make it happen,” he confirmed. “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."