Gun shops have been listed as “critical infrastructure” by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Saturday.
The move comes as states have been shutting down the retailers as “non-essential” businesses during the coronavirus lockdowns.
The agency advised that all “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” are to be considered essential. They were not listed on an advisory from the same agency previously.
The Hill reports that “the list is meant to help other federal agencies, states and local governments to decide which industries should continue work during the pandemic. But individual jurisdictions have the authority to ‘add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.'”
“All decisions should appropriately balance public safety, the health and safety of the workforce, and the continued delivery of essential critical infrastructure services and functions,” the agency said.
The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit against California officials for closing down gun retailers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close, and claimed that weapon shops fell into that category.
The NRA contends in their complaint that gun shops are absolutely essential and must be allowed to reopen.
“Municipalities who target lawful gun stores for closure aren’t promoting safety—by weaponizing their politics to disarm you and your loved ones, these shameless partisans are recklessly promoting a gun-control agenda that suffocates your self-defense rights when you need them most,” Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement on Saturday.
“NRA members recognize these unlawful power-grabs for what they are, and the National Rifle Association is proud to stand and fight alongside fellow Second Amendment groups who recognize it, as well,” he added.
The Hill reports that the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), California Gun Rights Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition are also the involved in the lawsuit.
Another lawsuit by gun rights groups challenged the gun retailer shutdown in Pennsylvania last week. The Supreme Court sided with the governor, but he eventually relented and allowed them to reopen on a limited basis.
“In these uncertain times, the ability to protect yourself — and to acquire firearms, magazines and ammunition — should not be ignored,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said in a statement.