April 29, 2020 By Wallin & Klarich

Are Gun Stores Essential During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The short answer is it depends!

Gun sales across the country have skyrocketed as people are panic-buying firearms during the coronavirus pandemic. With everyone trying to safely navigate new social distancing measures, there is a dispute as to whether firearms stores and gun ranges should be considered essential businesses. 

2nd Amendment Rights

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides for the people a right to bear arms, and by extension a right to sell and purchase those firearms as well. At the same time, in order to protect the people from the unnecessary transmission of the coronavirus, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter-in-place order in early March 2020, classifying certain industries as essential while leaving out other sectors of commerce including the gun industry.

Essential or Non-Essential Business

In response, some California counties interpreted this order to mean firearms retailers are not essential and therefore the sheriff has the power to close gun stores, which in some cases like Los Angeles County did happen. On the other side of the argument, gun rights advocates took the position it would be unconstitutional for the government to infringe on their Second Amendment right to bear arms in closing gun stores to the public during the pandemic. 

It appears the federal government agrees because on March 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum declaring that it was the position of the current federal administration that gun sales and gun ranges should be considered businesses essential to overall public safety and wellbeing.

In California, this pushback led Governor Newsom to clarify he would not classify gun sales as essential or non-essential, but would rather leave it up to the individual counties to decide whether to keep the gun stores open while shelter-in-place orders are in effect. 

“I believe in people’s right to bear arms, but I’ll defer to the sheriff in this instance, the sheriffs in their respective jurisdictions,” said Newsom during a press conference.

Gun Sales by County

So, if you are looking into purchasing a firearm during the coronavirus pandemic, check with your local sheriff’s office to see their current enforcement policy before contacting your local firearms retailers.

Please see below for a list of certain counties responses to the issue of whether gun sales are essential and permitted:

  • Orange County – gun retailers open.
  • Los Angeles County – initially closed gun shops, but reversed course and will now keep them open during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • San Mateo/Santa Clara/Contra Costa/Alameda County gun retailers temporarily closed.
  • San Diego County gun retailers open.
  • San Bernardino County – gun retailers open.
  • Riverside County – gun retailers open.

If you have any questions regarding a past conviction and if it affects your eligibility to legally purchase a firearm in the state of California it is best to contact an experienced law firm like Wallin & Klarich.

A criminal defense attorney who is experienced in the reduction of felonies to misdemeanors, and who has the skill to help you obtain a governor’s pardon may help you restore your gun rights. These petitions can be complex and time-consuming, which is why you should seek the help of a professional. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully helping clients in obtaining post-conviction relief for over 38 years. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

Wallin & Klarich Would Like to Hear From You On This Topic

During this coronavirus pandemic do you think firearms provide an essential purpose? Or do you think that demanding gun shops within your county to close their doors is an infringement on their 2nd Amendment right? Share your thoughts on why or why not gun shops should be closed throughout the duration of Gov. Newsome’s shelter-in-place order in the comment section below!

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