by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Department of Homeland Security added gun dealers, ranges, and manufacturers to its essential business coronavirus-response guide on Saturday.
The updated guidance from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) now considers “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” to be essential. Those industry workers are listed under the designation for “law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders.”
The change comes after some state and local officials have shut down gun stores and manufacturing plants around the country. The federal guidelines could influence how state and local officials implement lockdown orders moving forward. Demand for firearms has skyrocketed in response to the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic, even as shutdowns in some states have closed the only legal avenue for purchases. Some officials cited the lack of DHS guidance to defend those closures.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade group, requested the essential designation in a March 20th letter to DHS. The group praised the updated DHS guidance as “crucial.”