With more states closing all non-essential businesses in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, some business owners are griping that they should be allowed to keep their doors open because what they sell is necessary for public safety.
Take, for example, gun dealers in the state of New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy (D) shut down almost every business in the state including gun dealers. Murphy’s order took effect Saturday:
“On Saturday, the online service used to process background checks for firearm dealers, the New Jersey National Instant Criminal Background Check System, told stores they can no longer process requests.
“’Per Executive Order 107, (Murphy) is ordering the residents of New Jersey to stay home, directing all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public,’ a notice on the online system states. ‘At this time, the order includes New Jersey Firearms State Licensed Dealers.'”
That isn’t sitting well with gun dealers and Second Amendment advocates in the Garden State, NJ.com reports:
“’Gov. Murphy surrounds himself with armed guards,’ said Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society. ‘Clearly he understands the benefit of the Second Amendment. Why is his life more valuable?'”
Roubian also claims that a surge in gun sales recently is proof-positive that gun dealers are essential to the state:
“When the police have no legal obligation to protect citizens, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, yes, any person would believe gun stores that sell many tools for self-defense is extremely essential.”
Kyle Sherman, a co-owner of Shore Shot Pistol Range, said he’s fine with not being able to sell guns, but thinks he should be allowed to remain open for the purpose of selling ammunition:
“I consider us essential business because we not only supply everyday citizens with ammunition and firearms. But also local retired and active police officers.”
On Monday, a lawsuit was filed which alleges that Murphy’s order is illegal. The suit argues the state has exceeded its powers:
“The exigencies surrounding this viral pandemic both justify and necessitate changes in the manner in which people live their lives and conduct their daily business. However, this emergency (like any other emergency) has its constitutional limits. It would not justify a prior restraint on speech, nor a suspension of the right to vote. Just the same, it does not justify a ban on obtaining guns and ammunition.”
Featured Image Via NBC News