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CA – RETAILERS – Coronavirus: Are gun stores essential? Governor Newsom sidesteps that question, leaves it to the counties

CA – RETAILERS – Coronavirus: Are gun stores essential? Governor Newsom sidesteps that question, leaves it to the Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday wouldn’t say whether his unprecedented statewide shelter-in-place order means gun stores in California have to close as non-essential businesses, instead leaving that decision to each of the state’s 58 counties. “I believe in people’s right to bear arms but I’ll defer to the sheriff in this instance, the sheriffs in their respective jurisdictions,” said Newsom during a press conference. That’s sure to muddle what some local leaders say is a growing public safety issue: panicked buying of firearms and some stores defying tougher restrictions in Bay Area counties that don’t define them as essential businesses during the unprecedented lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “We don’t want a run on guns,” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said Wednesday. “It’s a public safety issue. Law enforcement is well prepared to handle any issues. People don’t need to stock up on guns.” Gioia said the joint shelter-in-place order issued on March 16 by Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Marin counties clearly deemed gun stores non-essential. A check on the status of 75 gun stores in 17 Northern California counties by this news organization found at least 32 were either fully open for business or allowing customers to come in and pick up weapons that had already been ordered. At least 12 were closed. The status of the others was unclear. Stores were open in Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Brentwood and El Cerrito in Contra Costa County, Fremont in Alameda County, and Pacifica in San Mateo County. Gioia said the Contra Costa stores would be closed. In Marin County, the owner of Marin Firearms recorded a phone answering machine message saying the store was ordered to close: “We were forced to shut down the store. We tried to stay open.”  [full article]

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