The Trump administration has determined that the firearms industry — from manufacturing to retail sales and shooting ranges — is a “critical” service that should continue to operate amid the coronavirus crisis.
The firearms industry was added Saturday to a federal list created a week earlier of “essential critical infrastructure” elements during the COVID-19 emergency.
“Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors and shooting ranges” are “typically considered essential to continued critical infrastructure viability,” the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in an updated statement. The new statement was listed under a “law enforcement” and “public safety” section.
Other critical operations on the lengthy list include energy, telecommunications, food production, emergency services, government offices, transportation and health care.
The list is not a directive, but advisory for states and municipal governments as many shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
The listing of essential businesses is “intended to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security,” the statement said.
The Los Angeles County sheriff shut down gun stores this month after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) left decisions on defining critical infrastructure up to county governments. Gun groups immediately sued.
The move was immediately blasted by gun-control advocates. The Brady Campaign called it “contemptible, ill-conceived and dangerous.”
Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and policy director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said it’s time now to focus on the “health and safety of all Americans — not the bottom line of the gun industry.”
The center warned that “panic-buying” of firearms by a fearful public during the pandemic will “help no one,” and “poses serious dangers.”