Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva: Gun Stores Aren’t “Essential,” Must Close

People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, Calif., Sunday, March 15, 2020. Coronavirus concerns have led to consumer panic buying of grocery staples, and now gun stores are seeing a similar run on weapons and ammunition as panic intensifies. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, Calif., Sunday, March 15, 2020. Coronavirus concerns have led to consumer panic buying of grocery staples, and now gun stores are seeing a similar run on weapons and ammunition as panic intensifies. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva stressed today that only essential businesses are permitted to remain open under state and local orders restricting public gatherings — and gun stores aren’t among them.
  
“We will be closing them, they are not an essential function,” Villanueva told Fox11 about gun shops. “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, I’m a gun owner myself, but now you have the mixture of people that are not formerly gun owners and you have a lot more people at home.
  
“And anytime you introduce a firearm in a home, from what I understand from CDC studies, it increases fourfold the chance that someone is gonna get shot,” he said.
  
Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a sweeping order requiring people to remain at home as much as possible, and it orders the closure of non-essential businesses. The order makes no reference to gun shops, but Villanueva said such operations are not on the list of retail operations considered essential.

The sheriff said if such businesses do not close their doors, they could be cited. He noted that 1,300 deputies have been added to patrol duties.
  
Villanueva told the Los Angeles Times that officials in some Northern California counties last week also deemed gun stores to be non-essential and ordered their closure.
  
Some customers outside a closed Culver City gun shop questioned the move.
  
“I needed some ammo because I’m doing a little target practicing, and my wife is doing some too because about three or four weeks ago somebody tried to break into my house,” one man told Fox11. “… There’s no threat of revolution … so what is the problem about the guns?”
  
Another man told the station, “In my case, it doesn’t bother me, but I imagine the people that don’t own a weapon, probably it’s going to bother them. I think everybody should own at least one weapon.”

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