March 23rd, 2020

Gun Rights Threatened by Health-Related State Executive Orders

Coronavirus heath covid-19 executive order health shelter place stay home crisis gun store FFL

This article is written from California where gun stores are shuttered due to the ordered closure of “non-essential businesses”, as part of the effort to slow spread of the Coronavirus. While there is no outright ban on purchasing a gun in California, from a practical standpoint, the gunshops are all closed now. It’s very difficult to purchase ammo as well. But you CAN buy cannabis (marijuana). Yes, that’s right, California Governor Newsom declared Cannabis Dispensaries (Pot Shops) to be essential businesses. Oh well…

Currently 14 U.S. states have issued Stay-at-Home executive orders. In most locations these orders mandate business shutdowns as part of the “Stay at Home/Shelter in Place” strategies. Some states are closing gun stores, others are not. We think gun stores do provide “essential services” that help Americans defend themselves, their families, their homes, and their property. We applaud Illinois which stated that gun and ammo dealers are “essential businesses” that would NOT be closed as part of the Illinois Stay at Home program.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is working to ensure that firearms-related businesses are allowed to keep their doors open during these difficult times. The NSSF stated:

[T]he National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is hard at work for you during this challenging time as the nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic. NSSF is in contact with the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advocating that our industry — from manufacturers to distributors to retailers to ranges — be declared by DHS as a “national critical infrastructure industry”. The DHS list is only guidance to states and local governments and does not carry the force of law. Therefore, NSSF is proactively working at the state and local level to advocate that our industry be exempted from any emergency ordinances or orders as “essential businesses”.

For example, through NSSF’s efforts, a proposed city ordnance in Albuquerque, NM, to shutter firearm retailers was defeated. Most recently, in response to NSSF’s efforts, the Governor of Illinois, in his emergency “shelter in place” executive order, declared that firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers are “essential” and may remain open for business. Please see official statement below:

Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations (Illinois):
Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security;

Coronavirus heath covid-19 executive order health shelter place stay home crisis gun store FFL

The NSSF is also providing guidance for gunshop owners and FFLs. If you operate a sporting goods store or gunshop that sells firearms, you may want to visit the NSSF website,, for guidance on securing your inventory and dealing with increased demand and panic buying.

The NSSF offers these specific recommendations for gunshops that have been ordered closed:

During a crisis (closed for business):

1. Use signage on your front and rear doors to inform the public that “All guns removed and secured after hours” to deter burglary attempts.
2. Ensure burglar alarms and cameras are functioning properly.
3. Expect some level of possible civil unrest. Secure your firearms efficiently and out of public view if you must discontinue operations and vacate the premises.
4. Wipe down showcases each night so that latent fingerprints can be gathered after a burglary.
5. Notify your vendors to discontinue shipments until further notice.
6. Create email, website and voicemail communications informing customers about the status of your business, whether closed or operating under limited hours
7. If you have to vacate and secure your firearms until business can return to normal, relocate all display and stock gun safes to main entry areas of your facility, including front doors, emergency egress doors and receiving doors, to act as barriers and establish an extra layer of protection against burglary attempts.
8. Consider removing firearms from easy-to-access areas including glass display cases and wall racks and store them inside locked stockrooms and gun safes. Display and stock gun safes can easily be converted to be used for unplanned long-term secure storage.
9. Use braided steel cabling and high-grade steel padlocks to lock and secure guns in place if they cannot be moved to a vault or other secure area.
10. Park extra vehicles in front of vulnerable areas, including front doors, glass windows and receiving areas where bollards are not installed to deter smash-and-grab burglaries.
11. Have a plan for quickly responding to every burglar alarm notification.
12. Advise local law enforcement about your firearms and location security plans during any evacuation periods.

Similar Posts:

Tags: , , , , , , ,