Officials in Los Angeles have suspended efforts to close gun stores after pushback from firearm enthusiasts.
What We Know:
- The state has been under orders to close non-essential businesses to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- There has been a surge in gun sales across the US as cities and states establish stay-at-home measures during the pandemic, prompting prospective gun owners to stockpile weapons and ammunition in the face of the crisis.
- Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that non-essential closure enforcement has been “suspended” as the county awaits guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom to determine “what qualifies as a non-essential business”. Sheriff Villanueva also said his office has fielded complaints about businesses that weren’t adhering to “social distancing” measures. “Chief among them has been gun shops, night clubs, bars and strip clubs”, he said.
- This message came less than 24 hours after the sheriffs defended closing gun stores. “It’s not an issue of banning the sales of guns” but preventing “panic gun-buying or rushing to stores, which is now what we’re seeing.”
- Stores remaining open are violating the “whole issue of social distancing” and “creating its own attractive nuisance,” Villanueva stated.
- Officials also expressed concerns about first-time buyers obtaining a firearm without the proper training to use them.
California gun stores, and shoppers on social media posted images of cleaned-out gun racks and empty behind-the-counter displays next to signs about the limitations on the number of purchases per customer.