The Los Angeles County sheriff said that gun shops were not essential businesses and ordered deputies to make sure they were closed during the coronavirus crisis a couple of days ago in Los Angeles. This decision was apparently contradicted when LA county’s top lawyer said the gun stores could remain open.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff declared on Tuesday that gun shops are not essential businesses and he ordered his deputies to close them down for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Late Tuesday afternoon the county’s top lawyer in charge of the Los Angeles County counsel’s office said the shops could remain open, stating that “gun stores did qualify as essential businesses.”
It was unclear as to which guidance had to be followed.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated that a “loophole” that allowed gun shops to stay open attracted long lines of customers surrounding those stores, in some cases. Villanueva said the order was meant to keep gun and ammunition businesses open that support police departments and other security organizations instead of being a license for everyone to be panic gun-buying or rushing to stores. “That is now what we are seeing,” he said.
Villanueva said he’s working with the health department to craft “new language” that would apparently apply to gun stores, since the agency is responsible for issuing the stay-at-home order.
FOXLA reported the sheriff’s decision first on Monday.
Second Amendment advocates vow to challenge the Sheriff in court.
Gun Owners groups in California have promised to seek legal action to overturn Villanueva’s decision.
Chuck Michel, an attorney for the National Rifle Association-affiliated California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the organization is trying to work with local authorities in California to keep gun stores open.
“They don’t just sell guns — they sell camping gear, survival gear, things that people may need,” he said. “Gun stores have been deemed to be essential in many, many jurisdictions, but unfortunately some of these jurisdictions are allowing politics to creep in.”