Less than a day after reports surfaced about Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s plan to close gun stores in his county, the sheriff backed off and changed course apparently after “the county’s top lawyer put out a legal opinion that she believes gun stores are essential businesses and should remain open,” the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Conservative Firing Line is one of the online news organs covering the controversy.
Time Magazine notes the sheriff had declared Tuesday gun shops are not “essential businesses.” That has changed. According to a notice from the National Rifle Association, “an opinion from Los Angeles County counsel that gun stores could in fact be classified as essential businesses under the Governor’s executive order.”
Henceforth, it appears Gov. Gavin Newsom will be deciding what qualifies as a “essential business” and what does not.
The Los Angeles Times report said Sheriff Villanueva “blamed the confusion on unclear language in the state and county orders.” The newspaper also said “Villanueva didn’t explain the rationale for the about-face,” but indicated in an early Wednesday note he’d gotten a legal opinion from “the county’s top lawyer” that gun stores are “essential businesses.”
This also comes just hours after Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in a prepared statement he was working on legal actions against several jurisdictions, including some in California, for ordering gun shops to close. SAF on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who declared a shutdown that said gun stores were non-essential, so they had to close. This makes it impossible for New Jersey residents to purchase firearms and exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Governors in several states are moving to keep people at home as a way of preventing a rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, which is responsible for hundreds of deaths in this country, and thousands around the world. The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in something of a panic that has seen people empty grocery store shelves, and also head for gun stores to purchase firearms and ammunition, many apparently for the first times in their lives.
Part of the panic buying fallout where guns are concerned appears to be the unpleasant discovery among first-time gun buyers that there are waiting periods in many jurisdictions, and background checks required. These are the requirements of gun control laws that many of the now-panicked purchasers may have supported, according to some anecdotal information on social media.
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