Monday, March 30, 2020
More than 200 million people in about half of the states are under orders to stay indoors to slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
Under those decrees, businesses have closed unless deemed "essential," which has sparked a nationwide debate among state and local leaders: Should gun stores be considered essential?
"A lot of people may find themselves in situations where they may need to be their own first responders," said Michael Cargill, who runs Central Texas Gun Works in Austin.
Gun owners, he said, "want to protect their family in case things go the other way." . . . .
"Guns will not make Americans safer in the face of COVID-19," Feinblatt said. "Gun stores do not deserve special treatment. In fact, a surge in gun sales will put many communities at greater risk if guns aren't stored securely and if background checks aren't completed."
Increasing concerns for gun control advocates are reports of people using firearms out of fear created by the coronavirus crisis. In Alpharetta, Ga., for instance, a man was arrested for allegedly pulling out a gun on two women wearing medical masks at a post office because he worried they had the coronavirus.
Gun and ammo sales have rocketed since the outbreak surfaced. And some of the panic driving the purchases is also present because of what gun rights advocates see as preserving their constitutional right to bear arms. They argue short-term emergency restrictions on gun sales could erode their enshrined rights.
"Just because we're in a pandemic, American rights do not go away," Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told NPR. "There are disparate interpretations on how people want to view these orders, but the Second Amendment is unequivocal."
State officials in Kentucky and Oklahoma are among a growing number of Republican officials who say abortion is a nonessential procedure that should be put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt have joined the list of officials calling for a suspension of most abortions in their states as part of a larger effort to help free up protective equipment for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
In a statement, Cameron said abortion providers "should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures, unless the life of the mother is at risk."
Reproductive health groups say abortion is an essential, time-sensitive procedure that should not be delayed, and that doing so can jeopardize the health and well-being of pregnant women.