In light of the looming threat of COVID-19, many businesses have made the difficult decision to temporarily shut down. Some states, including California, have already enacted their own shelter-in-place orders, forcing all non-essential businesses to temporarily close. The definition of “non-essential,” however, leaves a bit of grey area to operate in.
Recently, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher argued that retail gun shops aren’t essential businesses, going against pre-established definitions made by the Department of Homeland Security. Fletcher stated that he “consulted with our county counsel. It is not our belief that gun stores are essential businesses based on the governor’s executive order and so therefore they should not be open in the County of San Diego.”
Regardless of how Fletcher feels about the definition of gun shops as essential, he can’t deny the fact that the decision wasn’t his to make. He’s overstepping his bounds by attempting to close businesses based on his own discretion, rather than the national standard.
“Gun shops are absolutely deemed essential and protected by the federal government according to official statements by the Department of Homeland Security,” said San Diego County Gun Owners Director Michael Schwartz. “As suppliers of arms, ammunition, materiel and services to local, state and federal agencies and the United States military, gun shops are federally designated as an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The energy of our elected officials needs to be put, first and foremost, into supporting citizens during this trying time, not into attempting to overrule federal guidelines. The county must assure gun shops that closures are not mandatory per DHS classifications, and stay focused on the issue at hand.