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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in a reversal of his previous decision, declared gun stores as essential businesses during a press conference Monday, March 30.
The administrative order states, “Effective Tuesday, March 31, at 8:00am, Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are added to the list of essential retail businesses in accordance with paragraph 6 of Executive Order No. 107.”
The governor’s decision came after the Trump administration issued federal guidelines that declared firearms stores as essential businesses. The guidelines, from the Department of Homeland Services, include as essential: “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors and shooting ranges.”
Previously, Murphy issued an executive order on March 21, which deemed firearms stores as nonessential businesses, and shutdown the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) in the state. Murphy had done this despite, or maybe because of, the fact that NICS numbers have been hitting record highs during the spread of coronavirus. February alone saw a 300% increase in background checks from a year prior.
“Phil Murphy has been one of the most anti-gun Governors in the country, but freedom loving Americans scored a critical victory today when the Governor announced in a press conference that he was reversing that part of his executive order which closed gun shops,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
Following the executive order, the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club (ANJRPC) filed a lawsuit March 26 against Murphy. ANJRPC asked a U.S. District Court Judge to block Murphy’s order to shut down all gun stores in the state.
A day later, Murphy was asked why he decided that gun stores were nonessential businesses. His response is telling; “A safer society for my taste has fewer guns and not more guns,” said Murphy.
Times like these should not be an excuse to leave Americans defenseless. Taking the responsibility to protect yourself at a time when resources are spread thin is the responsible thing to do. It’s a shame that some politicians are seeking to withhold your rights at times when they are needed most. After all, your Second Amendment rights are certainly essential.
To keep track of which states are and aren’t closing gun stores, please visit the NRA-ILA website for a state-by-state guide.