Mar 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

NRA sues California officials for designating gun stores non-essential

Line outside of gun store in California
Photo: Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state officials on Friday after gun stores were deemed non-essential and required to close for the state's stay-at-home order amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Both Second Amendment advocates and gun control backers argue that shutting federally licensed firearms dealers could push buyers to purchase guns online or through private sales without background checks, per AP.

Yes, but: Gun control advocates are also concerned about a possible uptick in new owners who don't have access to training and don't understand how to store their weapons as multiple states issue stay-at-home orders.

The other side: Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, told AP, “When there’s a national emergency, people are looking for food, water, shelter — that part is important to the survival of our nation. They are also looking for the Second Amendment to protect their families.”

The state of play: Background checks increased by 300% on March 16, compared with the same day last year, AP reports, citing federal data shared with the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

  • The national background check system has, as a result, been overwhelmed.
  • If a background check takes longer than three business days, gun dealers are able to make the sale go through unless their state has more stringent waiting periods or there is concern about the potential buyer.

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