In the midst of a crisis such as the one the US is currently facing in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many Americans think that exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an essential part of preparing for whatever might come next amidst the chaos. We see evidence of this in the massive spike in gun and ammunition sales that have taken place this year: FBI background checks for gun purchases rose by 34% in February alone, representing nearly three million sales.
Some people in positions of authority, however, may think otherwise. In fact, they may see the crisis as an opportune time to take away a right that they believe ordinary Americans shouldn’t have in the first place.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is one of those. The State of California, like many other states, has decreed that all non-essential businesses must close in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And according to Villanueva, gun stores “are not an essential function,” as reported by FOX News. “We will be closing them.”
“Any time you introduce a firearm in a home, from what I understand from CDC [Center for Disease Control] studies, it increases fourfold the chance that someone is gonna get shot,” Villanueva added.
Sheriff Villanueva, who oversees law enforcement in the most populated county in the entire United States, has added 1,300 deputies to his routine patrols, claiming that this will help to keep his community safer. This is in spite of the fact that 10% of his county’s prison inmates have just been released as a coronavirus prevention measure – people guilty of misdemeanors.
Los Angeles County residents, however, may feel differently, and might prefer to protect themselves in the face of uncertainty. But now they’ll be unable to get the guns and ammunition they need in order to do so.
All of California may soon go the same way as Los Angeles. San Jose’s Mayor has already ordered gun shops in his jurisdiction to shut their doors. And California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has issued a list of essential businesses that are permitted to remain open during the curfew – and gun stores are conspicuously absent from it.
In spite of this, many California firearms dealers are refusing to close, as reported by The Free Thought Project.
California isn’t alone in taking such draconian measures. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered all gun stores in his state to close on Saturday. (Fortunately, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society is suing him over this.)
And in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s order to shut down all gun stores was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (although two justices dissented from the court’s verdict). Wolf claims that gun shops are not “life-sustaining.”
Ordinary Americans recognize that they will have to make sacrifices to win the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. However, they shouldn’t be asked to give up one of their most fundamental freedoms, most especially one that might very well allow them to protect themselves during this crisis, if worst-case scenarios come to pass.
Americans must be allowed to acquire and keep firearms in order to protect and defend themselves, their families, and their communities. They must – or this is no longer America.