Gov. Gavin Newsom is letting California’s 58 counties each decide if gun stores can stay open during the coronavirus shutdown as people line up to panic-buy firearms

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Gun sales across the country have surged as customers panic-buy firearms in addition to essential supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In California and the Bay Area specifically, firearm retailers have seen long lines and spikes in sales as shelter-in-place orders go into effect.
But whether or not gun shops qualify as essential businesses that are allowed to remain open during a shelter-in-place order has been unclear.
However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that it’s up to each of California’s 58 counties to decide if gun shops within county borders are allowed to stay open.
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Gun stores across the US have seen surging sales as customers panic-buy firearms amid shelter-in-place orders to contain the coronavirus disease.

Retailers in California have also seen spikes, as first the San Francisco Bay Area entered a shelter-in-place order, and now the state has as well. As The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week, shaken customers turned to retailers in locales like Novato, Sunnyvale, and Pacifica for guns and for some peace of mind.

“The government is trying to do everything it can to keep society intact,” 36-year-old Andrew Dominguez told the Chronicle outside Pacifica’s City Arms store. “But if society is unraveling, it’s up to us to protect ourselves.”

Some firearm buyers cited a potential increase in crime rates as one motive for purchasing a gun, though reports have indicated that crime is actually down as stay-at-home orders are issued across the Bay Area. California retailers have also seen an influx of Asian-American customers looking for a means of protection against potential attacks fueled by xenophobia and racism that many are experiencing as the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, continues to spread.

There was some uncertainty about whether or not firearm stores qualify as essential businesses and could thus remain open through shelter-in-place orders. Regardless, some gun stores did indeed stay open the day that the Bay Area order went into effect.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom shed more light on the future of firearm retailers in the state. Instead of designating them as essential or nonessential businesses, he announced that each of the state’s 58 counties would be able to decide for themselves.

“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 according to Mercury News.

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Source:: Business Insider

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