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Brady Opposes Designation of Gun Stores as ‘Essential’’ by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C., March 29, 2020 - Today, Brady reiterates its support for state and local governments’ legal authority to temporarily shut down businesses, including gun stores, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and to designate gun stores as ‘nonessential,’ in light of the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidance naming gun stores as ‘essential critical infrastructure.’

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“Over the past week, while most Americans have sacrificed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, gun industry groups, namely the National Rifle Association (NRA) and National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), have leveraged their influence with the Trump Administration, and exploited the current crisis to further the interests of gun manufacturers.

This is a contemptible and exploitative move by the gun lobby to put industry profits over public safety.

But it is unsurprising that an Administration that the NRA spent over $30 million electing in 2016 would favor their arguments.

While DHS’ guidance is advisory, it is ill-conceived and dangerous. State and local governments are well within their constitutional rights to broadly close businesses in order to prevent the spread and flatten the curve, and they are definitely not required to designate gun industry businesses as ‘essential’ and keep them open. There is no constitutional right to immediately buy or sell guns, and there is certainly no right to spread coronavirus while buying or selling guns.

Though not a directive, DHS’ advisory statement will fuel reckless calls to reverse existing closures based on public health considerations and will pressure decision makers to listen to industry groups over the best advice of public health officials.

Brady continues to affirm the rights of state and local governments to temporarily close these businesses and opposes baseless lawsuits that claim otherwise, such as the NRA’s against the state of California. Brady likewise stands ready to defend this position in the face of opposition from the Trump Administration.”

In an advisory memo on March 28, Christopher C. Krebs, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), advised that “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” are “typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability” or “support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure.”

The memo is advisory in nature and underscores that individual jurisdictions may designate businesses as essential or non-essential based upon their discretion.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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