KEY POINTS

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva took back his previous order to close gun shops 
  • The reversal came after Villanueva acknowledged the shops' importance to security and law enforcement personnel
  • The sheriff previously included gun shops, alongside strip clubs and night clubs as non-essential businesses that violate social distancing protocols

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva made a drastic move to take back an order Tuesday that made gun shops in the county open to the public despite stringent social distancing protocol.

The sheriff, who was previously stern in his decision to close all non-essential businesses, had a change of mind and acknowledged the importance of gun shops to law enforcement and security personnel, as well as their protection under the Second Amendment, said ABC 7.

“Those that are involved in the security business that still need to do their business... we want to make sure they're properly equipped,” he said.

Gun stores in the US have seen an uptick in business as a result of the spreading coronavirus pandemic Gun stores in the US have seen an uptick in business as a result of the spreading coronavirus pandemic Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck

It is not, however a “license” for county residents to do panic buying and rushing to gun stores, the sheriff added.

Villanueva earlier included the shop, alongside strip clubs and night clubs, as non-essential and that they “are trying to get them to close their doors.”

This inclusion followed a worldwide initiative to suppress the operation of businesses that do not adhere to social distancing, a mandate to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gun sales all across Southern California have peaked since people started preparing for what the worsening case of COVID-19 might bring.

The problem, according to Villanueva, revolves around first time buyers who panic buy guns and ammunition despite little or no knowledge on how to operate their armaments and are not familiar with California's gun ordinances, reported FOX LA.

“You can't shoot a virus,” said the outlet, quoting the sheriff.

Los Angeles County Counsel Mary Wickham also played a hand in the order reversal by intervening with a legal opinion and cited Governor Gavin Newsom's “Safer at Home” statewide order.