By Jack Davis, Published March 31, 2020 at 8:04am
Facing a lawsuit over his controversial decision to shutter gun stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has now changed his mind, citing a federal ruling that gun stores are considered “essential.”
Last week, the sheriff insisted gun stores had to be closed
“Gun shops, strip clubs, night clubs are non-essential businesses. We are trying to get them to close their doors,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“If they don’t close their doors, they will be cited.”
But Monday night, that changed.
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“On March 28, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security issued an Advisory Memorandum in regard to Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 response. Although explicitly advisory in nature, nonetheless the federal memorandum is persuasive given its national scope,” Villanueva said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The guidance he was referring to said that “[w]orkers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” are considered part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” according to Fox News.
“Included in the list of essential critical infrastructure workers are workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges,” Villanueva said.
“Based on this further input by the federal government, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not order or recommend closure of businesses that sell or repair firearms or sell ammunition,” the statement added.
However, he said the department “will investigate reports of improper health practices such as poor sanitation or failure to maintain social distancing at all businesses; and forward detailed reports of unlawful health conditions to the District Attorney for their review and consideration.”
“Regardless of whether a business sells groceries, gasoline, firearms, or any other product or service, we encourage them to abide by all health and safety measures in place,” Villanueva concluded.