A new report from NBC News claims that states are “buckling to pressure” and allowing gun stores to remain open as essential businesses, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of states have simply declared that gun stores are essential businesses with little to no pressure from anyone.
Reporter Adam Edelman seems intent on creating a narrative that Second Amendment organizations are somehow bullying states into keeping gun stores open for business, pointing to multiple lawsuits that have been filed by the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Council, and other groups against the handful of states that have refused to declare gun stores essential businesses.
“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,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said during a recent media briefing announcing that he would reverse a decision not to include guns stores on the state’s list of essential businesses.
Murphy, who faced multiple lawsuits from gun groups after his initial order, cited new federal guidance as reason for declaring gun shops essential.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf, also Democrat, issued an order on March 19 mandating the closure of the physical locations of “all nonlife sustaining business,” including gun shops.
But Wolf backed down after a gun rights group, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and a civil rights law firm sued, alleging that he had “overstepped his statutory and constitutional authority” by seeking “to impose criminal and civil penalties upon those” who do not comply. Wolf revised his list to exempt gun stores, allowing them to operate under certain circumstances, including proper social distancing measures. The revised order made clear that gun stores would be exempt from closing because, under state law, gun sales must be made in person.