After California Gov. Gavin Newsom delegated authority on whether to allow gun stores to remain open or force them closed as “non-essential” under the state’s stay-at-home order to local sheriff’s, differing views by sheriff’s are leading to contrasting policies between Southern California counties.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered gun stores closed earlier this week, deeming them “non-essential,” and also expressing concerns over inexperienced first-time gun owners rushing to purchase firearms. The NRA and other groups have since sued the sheriff.
But in Riverside County, gun stores remain free to do business.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco took to social media Friday to discuss his view after a Twitter user asked him whether gun sales were banned in the county.
“No they are not,” Bianco wrote. “Not only do they seem to fit in the ‘essential’ category, closing them and denying people the right to own a handgun is an obvious violation of the Second Amendment.”
The NRA and three other gun rights-advocacy groups have filed legal action against Sheriff Villanueva in L.A. County over his order for gun stores to close.
Gov. Newsom said earlier this week that he was leaving the decision as to whether gun stores are “essential” under the state’s stay-at-home order or could be ordered to shut their doors up to local sheriffs.
On Saturday, the Trump administration included the firearms industry as critical “infrastructure,” although the designation doesn’t override individual jurisdictions.
The Development for the California Rifle & Pistol Association applauded the president Sunday on Twitter, saying the group had been working with White House committees for weeks for the designation.
Bianco reposted the tweet with the message: “I’d like to think I influenced his decision.”