Update: After heavy pushback from gun rights supporters and conservatives nationally, the LA County sheriff’s office has walked back their previous order mandating that all local gun stores close during the coronavirus outbreak. For more updated information, click here.
Los Angeles County Sherriff Alex Villanueva has ordered all gun stores to close their doors, as the local government has deemed them “non-essential businesses that shouldn't be open during the coronavirus pandemic. Any store that doesn’t comply with the order will be issued a citation and potentially stripped of their business license.
Deputies are going door-to-door talking to gun store owners that are still open to make sure they comply with the order.
It appears making sure people don't congregate in large groups in gun stores and contribute to the spread of the coronavirus might not be the only reason local authorities have shuttered the doors of gun sellers. Fox LA reporter Bill Melugin said he spoke with Villanueva, who 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 Melugin’s tweet.
Alongside toilet paper, ground beef and Clorox wipes, gun sales have skyrocketed over the past few weeks, jumping 34 percent in February.