By: Teresa Mull
The Second Amendment, last we checked, does not say “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, unless there’s a virus going around,” but that hasn’t stopped several states and municipalities from using the Cornonavirus as an excuse to stop people from acquiring the means to self-defense.
Here’s a round-up of the ever-growing “emergency” gun restrictions we’ve seen pop up as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak:
Illinois: Champaign, Illinois Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen was one of the first to threaten Constitutional rights when she issued an executive order declaring a Coronavirus emergency in the city she governs and which had not confirmed a single case of the virus. The ordinances, The New York Post reports, “let (Feinen) ban the sale of firearms and ammunition as well as booze.”
Feinen let it be known, “So many of those powers, I have had from the beginning. All we have done is enumerate them and now the public is aware of them.”
Louisiana: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) was quick to follow the lead of Feinen by anouncing she is “empowered, if necessary, to suspend or limit the sale of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), however, is telling Cantrell, “We sued once, we’ll do it again.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb announced on the organization’s website:
“Following Hurricane Katrina, we sued the city when then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration began confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens for no good reason. The federal court ordered the city to cease confiscations. We sued New Orleans then, and we’ll do it again.
“While we certainly recognize the seriousness of this virus and its ability to spread rapidly, treating Covid-19 and taking steps to prevent it from infecting more people has nothing at all to do with the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.”
Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has ordered all “non-life-giving” businesses to close, though the “hunting and trapping” industries are exempt from the mandate. Some gun stores are using this exemption to stay open and accommodate the glut of customers, many of whom are first-time gun owners.
Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “[T]he Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia said it has decided that processing weapons carry licenses is not an essential function,” and has suspended the processing of concealed carry permits, though Georgians are still purchasing firearms in droves.
California: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has issued a “stay-at-home” order. Several local gun shops who consider themselves essential are defying the order:
New York: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close, including gun shops.
NNY360 reported, “Before closing on Friday, [a gun store owner] said he saw a 75 to 100 percent jump in sales. All of his inventory of popular calibers of ammunition was gone. He’s been unable to get his inventory restocked because wholesalers are also out of stock.”
South Carolina: GPM reported earlier this week: After expressing supposed support for the Second Amendment last week, the Saluda County Council took action against it, giving the county broad new authority in response to Covid-19, including placing restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.
In a State of Disaster Declaration dated March 17th, the county council outlined a list of actions to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, including the power to “suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of…firearms.”
Rhode Island: Providing us yet another reason to get rid of background checks altogether, 10 News reports:
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has signed an executive order that extends background checks for firearm purchases from seven days to 30.
According to a letter from the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Sidney Wordell, the number of applications is having a strain on local police department as the backgrounds need to be made within the seven days or the purchaser would be able to get the weapon without a background check.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.