New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced during his Monday press conference that he is rescinding his order for gun stores to close down and will allow them to operate as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murphy citied the non-binding advisory from the Department of Homeland Security that was edited on Saturday, where it explained the federal government views gun stores as being an essential business.
"In accordance with the guidance released over the weekend from the federal Department of Homeland Security, we will allow firearm retailers to operate, by appointment only and during limited hours, to conduct business, which under law, must be done in person," Murphy said.
"It wouldn't have been my definition, but that is the definition at the federal level and I didn't get a vote on that," he added, reminding the public all gun control laws will still be enforced.
The two lines about were added to the DHS' memo about critical infrastructure:
- 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.
"New Jersey's decision to recognize gun stores as 'essential' is all thanks to President Trump and the DHS' decision to declare firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges as critical infrastructure to remain open during any state shutdown. Once again we thank President Trump and his administration for keeping his promise to protect the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans," National Rifle Association Spokesman Lars Dalseide said.
New Jersey is not the only state that has targeted gun stores as being considered a non-essential business.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was able to reissue his order for gun shop closures, with Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) blessing, with slight changes. Gun stores will be allowed to sell ammunition to security guard companies and if someone bought a firearm and are still in the 10-day waiting period, they are able to pick it up when it's ready.