The Newtown Action Alliance is sending messages from gun control activists across the country to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, urging him to rescind his decision declaring firearm and ammunition retailers as essential businesses during the current state of emergency brought on the coronavirus pandemic.

The group argues that stores selling firearms and ammunition should be forced to close because:

Panic buying of guns and ammunition will result in more guns in the homes with children, domestic violence victims and individuals with suicidal ideation; resulting in increased number of deaths due to unintentional shootings, homicides and suicides.”

First off, I wouldn’t call the spike in gun and ammunition sales “panic” buying. I think people are reasonably concerned about the future, given the societal upheaval we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. The unthinkable on March 1st is now reality for hundreds of millions of Americans, so is it really unreasonable to be concerned that a fraying public safety net overrun by the coronavirus could lead to an increase in violent crime? I don’t think so.

Being concerned about that possibility doesn’t mean it will come to pass, and I really hope it doesn’t. But how are the concerns of the new gun owners in Connecticut less legitimate than the concerns by gun control advocates that all these new guns will lead to mayhem across the state?

We should be all be concerned about a potential increase in domestic violence as a result of large numbers of families being confined to their homes for a prolonged period of time, but the answer isn’t to deny everyone their ability to acquire firearms and ammunition. A gun in the home isn’t the issue. Someone getting violent with their spouse or child is, and the key to preventing that is education and resources for those who need to leave an abusive situation, as well as prosecution and consequences for abusers.

The Newtown Action Alliance goes on to claim that the increase in gun sales is driven, not by genuine concern, but by a propaganda campaign by the NRA and the “corporate gun lobby.”

We need all governors across the nation to help stop panic buying of guns and ammunition during our national emergency. The last thing we need during a pandemic are more guns and ammunition in our homes and in our communities. The governors should not be helping the NRA and other corporate gun lobby groups to use fear to gin up gun sales for the gun industry.

During a time of crisis, we need our leaders from Connecticut and beyond to remind Americans that guns don’t make us safer. The corporate gun lobby has spread the myth that more guns are needed to keep Americans safe when in reality nearly 400 million civilian-owned guns in America have not stopped 40,000 annual gun deaths and thousands of gun injuries. Multiple studies have concluded that where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths and more guns do not stop more crimes.

Newtown Action Alliance is one of those groups that claims to not be anti-Second Amendment, but as their letter makes clear, they are very much against the idea of anyone owning firearms. The believe that more guns equals more crime and more accidents involving firearms when that is simply not the case. As the number of privately owned firearms in this country has grown to more than 400-million over the past thirty years, our violent crime rate has tumbled nearly 50-percent to historic low levels. Florida, with 1.8-million concealed carry holders, has seen it’s homicide rate reduced by more than half since the state’s right-to-carry law took effect in 1987. Accidental shooting deaths have plummeted as well, as the Los Angeles Times noted not long ago.

To the Newtown Action Alliance, gun safety means “don’t own a gun.” It’s as simple, and simplistic, as that.

Here’s the problem for them: right now there are millions of Americans who are either new gun owners or looking to buy one the next time their gun store gets any in stock (or is allowed to re-open). The Newtown Action Alliance and every other gun control group out there is busy trying to convince these people that they don’t need a gun, but what they’re seeing all around them is convincing them that they do. When things have the potential to go bad, it’s human nature to want to protect yourself and the people you love. That’s not propaganda. It’s a fact, evidenced by the long lines of people of all faiths, color, and creed waiting to enter their local gun store in scenes repeated across the country over the past couple of weeks.

A lot of these people were in favor of 10-day waiting periods for firearms, until their local gun store closed down five days into their waiting period and leaving them unable to acquire the firearm they’ve been approved to own. A lot of these people were fans of universal background checks, until their governor ordered the state police to stop conducting background checks. A lot of these people said things like “Why do you need to own an AR-15?” two weeks ago, but are now saying “Look at my new AR-15! Yeah, there were only three left when I got to the counter.”

The gun control movement isn’t going through a mass defection, exactly, but they’re losing the argument about gun ownership right now, and many formerly uncommitted Americans are coming down on the side of their Second Amendment rights. The anti-gun argument is simple; no one needs a gun. The problem for anti-gun activists is that clearly theres been a spike in the number of Americans who disagree.

As Second Amendment supporters, we need to welcome these new gun owners into the fold with open arms. Sure, they may be late to the party, but they’re here now. Many of them aren’t conservative. That’s great. Let’s help them get pro-gun Democrats elected again. On the other side of this crisis, I suspect support for the Second Amendment will be much more bi-partisan than it’s been in recent years, and we need to do everything we can to foster that growth. Not only do we need to embrace these new gun owners and make sure they’re getting at least the basic information they need to be safe and responsible, we need to encourage them to start standing up for their rights. It’s great that they’re exercising them, but they need to be protecting the right to keep and bear arms as well.