Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has declared all “non-essential” businesses in the state must close, and unlike California, New York and Pennsylvania, where similar orders have been issued, gun stores in the state will remain during the state of emergency. I’m honestly surprised that the governor didn’t follow his fellow Democrats like Gavin Newsom and Tom Wolf in declaring that gun stores weren’t essential businesses during a state of emergency.
Liquor stores, weed dispensaries and gun stores all are deemed “essential” and will be able to sell their products to the public.
Also open: laundries, most factories, hardware stores, construction jobs, home residential care, and “critical trades” providers such as plumbers, electricians and exterminators.
Pritzker, a billionaire businessman, is clearly trying to strike a balance between closing broad swaths of the economy and trying to ensure as many people as possible stay at home to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus to avoid overwhelming the hospital network in the state. I’m glad to see him erring on the side of the Second Amendment, and other Second Amendment advocates are also finding themselves in the odd position of being genuinely happy with a decision by Gov. Pritzker, who’s been a reliable supporter of gun control since he took office. The Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottleib also praised the governor’s decision to allow gun stores and ammunition retailers to remain in operation.
“When an anti-gun Democrat governor declares that essential businesses include firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purposes of safety and security, that is a really big deal,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Every governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing ‘shelter-in-place’ and business closure orders in the face of the Coronavirus.”
Three other states are already under sweeping emergency orders as the nation copes with the Coronavirus pandemic. They are New York, Pennsylvania and California.
“Depending upon how long this emergency continues,” Gottlieb observed, “many Americans may find themselves facing situations where they will need to be their own first responders. Gov. Pritzker obviously understands this, and we encourage the governors of all other states to recognize this isn’t an issue of party politics but of personal and community safety.”
I know a lot of these governors are kind of making it up as they go along right now, and I think the public is willing to grant them some leeway in the exercise of their emergency powers. However, we’ve all seen the long lines and sparse shelves at gun stores over the past few days. It’s clear that for many Americans, firearms are essential items right now, and the right to keep and bear them has certainly not been taken away simply because of a declaration of emergency. The governors that have ordered gun stores to shut down need to rescind those orders and follow the example of Gov. Pritzker in recognizing the importance of the Second Amendment at this point in time.