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25 Mar, 2020 01:44

No farewell to arms: Pennsylvania classifies gun shops as ‘LIFE SUSTAINING’ businesses, reversing Covid-19 sales ban

No farewell to arms: Pennsylvania classifies gun shops as ‘LIFE SUSTAINING’ businesses, reversing Covid-19 sales ban

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has overturned a decision ordering all gun stores to shut down as part of sweeping statewide restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19, adding them to a list of “life sustaining” industries.

Though the state’s Supreme Court had backed Wolf's order last weekend following a legal challenge filed by a gun rights advocate, in a sudden about-face on Tuesday, the Democratic governor quietly included an exception for gun dealers in an amended list of businesses allowed to remain open during the lockdown.

“Firearms dealers may operate physical businesses on a limited basis,” reads the new list, specifying that all sales must be conducted in-person and take place during reduced hours to “minimize social interactions and congregating of persons.”

The move appears in line with the dissenting opinion offered by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht, who contested last weekend’s ruling in support of the executive order, stating it deprived citizens of a right guaranteed under the Constitution.

In my view, it is incumbent upon the Governor to make some manner of allowance for our citizens to continue to exercise this constitutional right.

While the reversal was hailed by a lawyer for the Firearms Policy Coalition, which brought the initial challenge to Wolf’s order, some gun control proponents were (figuratively) up in arms over the decision.

Pennsylvania is not the only state or locality caught up in a uniquely American struggle between Second Amendment advocates and those calling for gun control during the coronavirus pandemic, with Los Angeles County shutting down its own firearms dealers, arguing first-time buyers were flooding shops looking to arm themselves amid fears of social unrest driven by the outbreak.

Also on rt.com LA County sheriff ordering all gun stores to close amid heady combination of coronavirus lockdown & too many 1st-time buyers

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), another gun rights group, has also sued New Jersey’s governor and state police chief over a similar lockdown order, insisting it amounted to a statewide “ban on obtaining firearms or ammunition” in violation of the Constitution.

“Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment,” said SAF co-founder Alan Gottlieb. “Yet, under this emergency order, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The Constitution, and federal law, don’t allow that.”

The running battle over guns comes as millions of Americans across dozens of states and cities are placed into lockdown in an effort to contain the lethal coronavirus, shuttering businesses and grinding some local economies to a halt. The contagion has been reported in every American state, infecting over 53,000 people and killing nearly 350.

Also on rt.com Cuomo says worst yet to come for NYC, 'apex' of coronavirus cases expected within weeks

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