Tip of the hat to “The Trace” for doing the legwork on this. Below you’ll find a map that shows which states have closed gun stores due to the COVID-19 crisis:
Those states that have put the squeeze on FFLs — WA, MI, NY, NJ, NM, DE, MA — have done so because officials believe gun stores are “non-essential” businesses and therefore should be closed under the various shelter-in-place directives aimed at “flattening the curve” or slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, as GunsAmerica previously reported,
More than a handful of other states have taken the exact opposite approach to ensure gun stores stay open during the crisis so that citizens can continue to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.
While one can probably guess which states sought to protect 2A rights and which states were quick to suppress 2A rights, there have been a few surprises.
Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, a Democrat with an “F” rating from the NRA, for example, declared gun shops “essential” businesses. and allowed them to remain open.
The nation’s gun lobby was quick to applaud Gov. Lamont.
“Your NRA would like to thank Gov. Lamont for upholding the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their loved ones,” said the NRA-ILA, in a statement.
The Second Amendment Foundation is actively suing New Jersey for shutting down its background check system, arguing that the decision to do so flatly prohibits the sale and purchase of firearms and ammunition.
SAF is also putting together lawsuits against Washington, Massachusetts and jurisdictions in California and North Carolina, among others. Sending out the signal that if you shut down FFLs you’re going to get sued.
Perhaps that’s why Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf reversed course this week, revising his “stay at home” order to allow gun shops to conduct firearm transfers. Denying 2A rights isn’t worth the legal troubles.