The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is concerned about your access to firearms and ammunition during this coronavirus pandemic. In their eyes, and many supporters of the Second Amendment, the closure of gun shops around the United States is a problem. A big problem.
Local authorities in places like New Jersey and California are trying to prevent civilians from securing their Second Amendment rights by declaring gun stores to be “non-essential.” This renders individuals defenseless as lockdowns continue to expand throughout America.
Thankfully, the NSSF isn’t taking that sitting down. They are requesting that firearm stores be classified as part of the “National Critical Infrastructure Industry.” This would add the firearms and ammunition industry to the list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors as classified by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Some of the existing sectors of industry that are already on the list are the Food and Agriculture Sector, the Energy Sector, the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector, and the Emergency Services Sector. All of these infrastructures, and the others on the list, are integral to the health and wellness of our population.
The NSSF wants to get firearm industry on the list so that shops wouldn’t have to close during mandatory shelter in place orders. These “stay at home” orders which have already closed down most non-essential business, are taking place currently in 17 different states. More are expected to follow suit after President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines until April 30. Many are expecting the crisis to last longer than that.
The organization pointed out that the U.S. military, law enforcement, and private citizens who own guns need these firearms dealers to stay open during a time of unrest as a matter of national security. If this designation were granted, it would mean that employees of the firearms industry would also be granted “Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker” status.
Maintaining public order is of the utmost important during this global crisis. Having these stores stay open is one way to keep that order in place. Already, many people are stocking up and going to the stores in states that are still open. Even first time gun buyers are finally jumping in to get their firearm licenses and purchase home defense protection as quickly as possible. Lines were around the block for many gun stores still open this week.
The NSSF also feels that by shutting down these gun retailers, it’s going to promote a culture of fear where people are under the impression they won’t be able to protect themselves in case of massive civil unrest and social disorder. Already in cities like Los Angeles, the sheriff has made it clear that gun stores aren’t essential and must close down. This has greatly upset Second Amendment supporters in that area. More importantly, it’s made residents less safe.
If the NSSF achieves its goal, this won’t be up to the states, but would fall under a federal mandate to allow the stores to stay open as essential infrastructure.