The Trump administration eyes longer shutdowns to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus across communities. Hospitals and grocery stores will remain open since they play very important roles but federal officials found another business that could be essential amid the pandemic.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued its latest list of businesses and facilities that can continue operations during the nationwide shutdowns. It includes hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and firearm businesses.
CISA considers gun shops, shooting ranges and weapon manufacturers as “essential” businesses. The agency said that local and state governments could use the list 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,” Business Insider reported Wednesday.
However, CISA noted officials are not required to follow the entire list. It only aims to provide leaders information they can use when making their own lists of essential and nonessential businesses during lockdowns.
Gun control groups raised concerns about the decision to open firearm businesses since people feel more stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brady, a nonprofit group advocating against gun violence, called on the government to explain why gun stores and manufacturers were considered essential, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s a public health issue, not a Second Amendment issue,” Brady Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy said. “The fact is that guns, the nature of guns, require that they be sold with a lot of close interaction. They can’t be sold from vending machines, can’t be sold with curbside pickup.”
However, some people praised the government for adding firearms to its list. The National Rifle Association said on Twitter that President Donald Trump was “once again keeping his promise to protect the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans.”
Gun and ammunition sales reportedly significantly increased when the COVID-19 outbreak started in the U.S. Background checks in March grew by 300 percent compared to the same month in 2019.
The high demand for guns also forced some retailers to limit sales in the past weeks, with supply shortages occurring in early March.
“People are scared,” Drew Plotkin of Los Angeles told USA Today. “There’s a lot of panic in the world and people want to be protected for the worst-case scenario.”