Changing course yet again in what’s become a bizarre and confusing back-and-forth game of conflicting mandates, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is once again declaring that local gun stores will be considered “non-essential businesses” and prohibited from selling guns to the “general public” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Per the latest directive, gun stores will be allowed to remain open to sell equipment and ammo to security personnel, but “must close to the general public.”In his order, Villanueva also said people who’ve already purchased a gun can still come to the store to pick up their order.
In compliance with @CAgovernor 's Executive Order, Gun & ammunition stores are not considered essential businesses, and will cease to sell to the general public, there are some exceptions. Please see my full statement below: #COVID19 #SaferAtHome #flattenthecurve #LASD #SheriffV pic.twitter.com/XSqk9POEzt— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) March 26, 2020
The new mandate comes just one day after LA County attorneys stated that gun stores were not listed among the governor’s list of non-essential businesses that must close and therefore could, in fact, remain open to the general public. That order flew in the face of Villanueva’s previous direction issued early this week which mandated that all gun stores close or face threat of citation or the loss of their business license.
Villanueva indicated that the most recent mandate, once again instructing gun stores once again to close to the general public, came after California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom issued a clarification and put gun stores on his list of “non-essential” businesses.
Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for confirming what we believed was the case, that the Sheriff has the authority to enforce his executive order and keep the public safe during this pandemic. #FlattenTheCurve, #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/ap8wOpWZS1— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) March 25, 2020
Villanueva had previously expressed concern that “too many first time buyers are panicking and bringing guns into homes where people are locked down, which he believes is recipe for disaster with potential accidental shootings,” per a tweet from FOX LA’s Bill Melugin.