March 31st, 2020

Status of Firearms Dealers and FFLS — State by State

Emergency Executive order gun FFL retailer store closure coronavirus covid-19

Currently gun retailers and FFLs in 42 U.S. states are being allowed to stay open, either because they have been declared “essential businesses” or because there is no Emergency Order in place. This is consisent with a recent “Guidance” issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security. In six states, gun stores and FFL operations have been ordered closed by Executive Orders. While in two states, California and Michigan, the situation is unclear because of inconsistent county-by-county policies or vague statewide orders.

These findings come from TheTrace.org, a gun control website that has published an interactive map, along with a state-by-state list of gun store closures policies. While we are no fans of TheTrace.org, since it definitely has an anti-gun bias, right now that website provides one of the more up-to-date summary of gun shop status across the country. Hopefully the NRA will provide its own map soon.

On TheTrace.org’s Gun Store Closure Report you can see a grid-map with each state’s status indicated by a color. Blue means gunshops and FFLs are open, yellow means they have been ordered closed, pale gray means no order is currently in effect, and dark gray indicates the situation is “unclear”.

Click Image to Use Interactive Map
Emergency Executive order gun FFL retailer store closure coronavirus covid-19

TheTrace.org lists the status of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with links to official Emergency Orders and relevant media reports. Here are status summaries for six states, based on information AccurateShooter.com has obtained:

Alabama
According to local media reports, Alabama gun stores remain open. AL Gov. Kay Ivey issued an order closing “non-essential business”, but gun dealers and FFLs were not among those businesses ordered to halt their operations.

Arizona
Currently there are no formal restrictions on the operations of gun store. But, it looks like gun rights will be honored. AZ Gov. Doug Ducey included “firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security” on a list of “essential services”.

California
Situation is in flux. CA Gov. Newsom stated he would defer to the decisions of local Sheriffs, so gun stores are open in some counties, closed in others. There is litigation in progress that could open all stores statewide. MORE INFO.

Florida
No gunstore closures yet — “Firearm and ammunition supply stores” have been included on list of “essential businesses”. However a stay-at-home order for four counties in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe — was issued by FL Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Pennsylvania
Gun stores are open, but may not be running full operations. According to TheTrace.org: “Governor Tom Wolf has issued guidance allowing gun dealers to operate on an appointment-only basis in order to ‘complete only the portions of a sale/transfer that must be conducted in-person under the law’. The governor’s original order shuttered gun stores, but he issued the revision after several Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices urged him to allow the shops to reopen.”

Texas
Gun shops and FFLs can remain open in the Lone Star state. After some localities attempted to close gun retailers via executive orders, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement that that cities and counties “may not regulate or restrict the sale of firearms”. Paxton said in his nonbinding opinion that state law prevents cities and counties from “adopting regulations related to the transfer, possession, or ownership of firearms, or commerce in firearms.” MORE INFO.

Gun Store Shut-Downs Challenged by Legal Actions
TheTrace.org reports that State Executive Orders mandating gun store closures have been challenged in the courts: “In states that have ordered gun stores to close, enforcement of the orders is proving messy — and litigious. In Pennsylvania, gun-rights advocates immediately filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Tom Wolf’s order to close dealers. The state Supreme Court swiftly rejected the suit, but hours later Wolf’s office quietly updated its policy to allow gun dealers to operate on a limited basis. On the other side of the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he was leaving the decision to let gun stores continue operating in the hands of county sheriffs. And New Jersey’s unprecedented decision to eliminate access to its background check system drew multiple lawsuits.”

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March 29th, 2020

DHS States Gun-Makers and Retailers Are “Essential Businesses”

Department homeland security Dhs gun retailers firearms order Coronavirus essential business

Story based on 3/28/20 report by Ammoland.com.
The Department of Homeland Security has declared firearms manufacturers and retailers “essential businesses”. This is very important because many states, including California and New York, have issued Executive Orders which have shuttered gun stores and halted the operations of FFLs. The DHS statement should, hopefully, lead to changes in state and regional emergency orders requiring gun shops to close.

The reference to gun retailers and gun ranges is found in a DHS document titled Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce in the section dealing with “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders”.

Department homeland security Dhs gun retailers firearms order Coronavirus essential business

Legal Actions to Counter Closures of Retail Gun Stores and FFLs

On Friday, 3/28/20, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) joined forces with the NRA, California Gun Rights Foundation and several others in a federal lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. They are also alleged to be using the COVID-19 pandemic to close down gun stores.

Comment: In California, all the gun shops have closed, yet Marijuana Dispensaries and Vape Shops remain open as “essential businesses”. That shows you Gov. Newsom’s priorities — recreational drugs are good, while guns are bad. The California Governor is exploiting this crisis to harm the gun industry and put gunshop owners out of business. And in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency order listed employees at marijuana shops, breweries and winemaking facilities as part of the essential workforce, but omitted firearm and ammunition retailers and distributors.

The same day (3/28/20) in North Carolina, SAF and FPC filed a federal lawsuit against Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker for refusing to accept new applications for pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits until April 30, 2020, using the COVID-19 outbreak as justification.

Previously, the SAF filed a lawsuit challenging New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s order shutting down firearms dealers. In Kashinsky v. Murphy, the SAF is joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society in alleging violation of “civil rights under color of law” by shutting down firearms dealerships, preventing citizens and businesses from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.


This story is based on an article created by Dave Workman for Ammoland.com, which states: “Readers, please share this article with your state, local and federal representatives, police departments and sheriffs as well local firearms retailers to make them aware of the new guidance so we can get our local business back to work and fellow Americans the products they need to remain safe.

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March 24th, 2020

Emergency Orders for FFLs and Gun Industry — State by State


Click image to view PDF with all state information.

Government officials across the nation have issued numerous orders in an effort to contain Covid-19 infections. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has collected the latest health-related official Executive Orders from U.S. States that can affect FFLs, firearms business owners, range operators, and gun owners. These rules are collected in a lengthy NSSF document, with state-by-state summaries plus web-links for further details. This document will be updated as new info is received from the states. Click the link below to download the State-by-State COVID-19 Information and Resources for FFLs:


CLICK HERE to View NSSF COVID-19 FFL Summary PDF »

The NSSF states: “On the state front, our team is working in each state and many localities to ensure our industry and the critical role it plays is not hampered by well-intended Executive Orders seeking to stem the spread of the virus. Here is a list of the orders we are actively tracking, and what they mean for our members. Please note this is a rapidly changing list, and that many of the orders are subject to interpretation. MORE INFO HERE.

Ammoland.com explains: “The list is broken down by state and gives shooters a brief rundown on each order. This includes a link to the original order itself, the order or bill’s name, and a brief summary of what it does. Shooters worried about their state, in particular, might want to download any PDF files associated with their location for safekeeping should the Government decide to delete them later.”


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January 7th, 2016

NSSF Comments on President Obama’s Executive Actions

execorder1601

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has responded to President Obama’s proposed Executive Actions concerning gun ownership and firearms transfers. The NSSF stated: “We all share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. As the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will carefully review all aspects of the executive actions that President Obama announced today. Much remains to be spelled out. In the interim we have some initial reactions:”

We support further resources being allocated to staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more efficient and responsive.

We represent Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). The criteria for what will constitute being “engaged in the business” going forward needs considerable clarification and raises questions about enforceability.

The number of firearms lost or stolen while in transit to or from FFLs is less than 0.15 percent of the number manufactured and imported in a given year. In these rare occurrences, FFLs already actively participate in ATF’s long-standing voluntary reporting program and FFLs and common carriers work closely with ATF to investigate them. Proposals to make a shipping FFL responsible for tracking and reporting firearms no longer in their inventories, after the legal title has been transferred to the purchaser, are misdirected, as the receiving FFL is in the best position to know if it receives its shipment.

We have long called for the effective enforcement of the numerous laws already on the books regarding the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive.

NSSF has been working actively since early 2013 through our FixNICS initiative to encourage states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health records to NICS and has succeeded in getting legislation passed in more than a dozen states. We welcome the administration’s attention to this issue.

With regard to the development of “smart-gun” technology, the industry has never opposed its development. How additional government research into this technology would advance it is unclear. Law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to make the determination whether acquisition of firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as the White House itself states. We would continue to oppose mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well proven existing methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at historic low levels.

NSSF will have additional responses in the days, weeks and months ahead, especially as federal departments and agencies begin the work of carrying out the executive orders.

Presidential photo courtesy Cheaper Than Dirt Shopter’s Log.
See related article:
Obama to Enact Gun Control.

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July 17th, 2014

President Obama Bans Some Russian Firearms by Executive Order

Economic Sanctions Gun Ban Kalashnikov Saiga ObamaWant a Saiga shotgun? Well grab one while you can. On July 16, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the U.S. Treasury that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions, announced a series of trade sanctions aimed at Russia.

These sanctions will be carried out pursuant to President Obama’s Executive Order 13662 relating to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The OFAC sanctions include provisions banning the importation of rifles and shotguns from various Russian manufacturers. The Kalashnikov Concern, and Izhmash, manufacturers of Saiga rifles and shotguns, were specifically named in the sanctions. This means it will be illegal for American companies to import firearms made by these Russian manufacturers.

Economic Sanctions Gun Ban Kalashnikov Saiga Obama

Writing in the Truth About Guns Blog, Nick Leghorn declares: “So the importation of new Izmash-produced firearms is now banned indefinitely in the United States. But that Executive Order definitely raises some questions for those currently in possession of a firearm manufactured by the now-sanctioned firearms companies. For example, can a gun dealer sell their existing stock?”

OFAC provides at least a partial answer to these questions in the OFAC Question and Answer section of the U.S. Treasury website:

Q: If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions? Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market?

If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction. New transactions by U.S. persons with Kalashnikov Concern are prohibited, however, and any property in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest is blocked pursuant to OFAC’s designation of Kalashnikov Concern on July 16, 2014. If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory.

Q: If I have Kalashnikov products in my inventory, can I sell them?

If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory.

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August 30th, 2013

President Obama Issues Executive Orders Targeting Firearms

Barack President Obama Executive Order Gun Ban M1 Garand Machine Gun NFA Corporation Gun TrustOn August 29, 2013, the Obama administration announced two Executive Orders that will restrict the importation and domestic transfers of certain classes of firearms. These two Executive Orders operate as law by fiat, not subject to Congressional concurrence.

One Executive Order bans the re-importation of surplus U.S.-made rifles, including M1 Garands and M1 Carbines. Such rifles are used in Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) competitions. For decades the CMP has sold M1 Garands and M1 Carbines, many re-imported from arsenals overseas, to qualified American shooters. The White House stated: “Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums.”

Barack President Obama Executive Order Gun Ban M1 Garand Machine Gun NFA Corporation Gun Trust

It is unclear how this Executive Order will enhance public safety, since FBI crime statistics show that such vintage arms are virtually never employed in the commission of crimes. Professor John R. Lott Jr., former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission, observes: “Despite the scary rhetoric, the White House is leaving out one important point: it isn’t pointing to any cases where imported U.S.-made military weapons have been used in a crime. And the reason is obvious: there probably aren’t any.”

The second Executive Order changes the rules on acquisition and transfers of National Fireams Act (NFA) firearms (such as machine guns) and other NFA items (such as sound moderators) through Corporations and Firearms Trusts. When sold to individuals, such items do require background checks. However, the White House claimed: “At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run. ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.” It is the intent of this Executive Order to block a significant number of NFA transfers to Firearms Trusts and Corporations. Again, it is unclear how the new restrictions on NFA transfers will reduce crime. In fact, BearingArms.com asserts that: “Only two [registered] NFA machine guns — neither of which were acquired via gun trusts — have been used in murders in 79 years.”

Professor Lott challenges the need for changes to the NFA Laws as they pertain to corporations: “Again, the Obama administration doesn’t provide examples of people using a corporation to register handguns or semi-automatic rifles as a way to bypass criminal background checks. More importantly, it fails to point to any cases where such guns have been used in crimes. Yes, when registered to a corporation, any officer is allowed to possess the machine gun, but [the transfer] still requires a NICS check for the person actually picking up the gun.” READ Lott Commentary.

Thoughts On Executive Ordersby Tony Chow
Tony ChowIt’s important to realize that the anti-gun people aren’t interested in gun control as a practical measure to combat “gun violence” or achieve “gun safety”. They are animated above all by a reflexive dislike of guns, and an abhorrence of the very notion of an armed citizenry. Their motives are ideological, rather than practical. To them, it doesn’t matter whether a type of firearm is used in crimes or not; the only good gun is a banned gun. This explains why the efforts in the 70s and 80s to restrict handguns, which still account for the vast majority of gun crimes, were abandoned in favor of an assault on “assault weapons”, .50-caliber rifles, and now, vintage “military-style” rifles and already heavily-restricted NFA weapons — firearms that, though used infrequently or not at all in crimes, are easy to describe in scary terms to the general public.

Tony Chow is a target shooter who competes in smallbore and 300-meter disciplines.

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