A decision by the Trump administration to designate gun stores as “essential businesses” is coming under fire as critics warn gun violence will put an even greater strain on the already overwhelmed healthcare system. The firearms industry was added to the list of essential services, which should remain open to the public during the pandemic.
While gun violence and accidental shootings continue to kill many Americans, gun safety groups said the decision puts the public’s health at an even greater risk.
“With hospitals at critically low capacity due to the pandemic, we cannot afford more injuries or deaths from gun violence,” Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA, said. “The federal government has made a mistake that will only lead to more lives lost because of senseless gun violence.”
According to AFP, gun sales have risen since the beginning of the spread of the virus in the United States. And experts predict firearms could become even more prevalent in American homes following the ‘essential business’ designation,” Common Dreams reported.
“Gun retailers are not essential businesses and should not remain open during this pandemic,” Coverson said.
Not only is increased gun violence worrisome for many gun safety groups, but keeping gun stores open could aide in the spread of the virus putting “consumers in preventable danger.”
“The fact is that guns, the nature of guns, require that they be sold with a lot of close interaction,” Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel of Brady (a gun control group), said. “They can’t be sold from vending machines, can’t be sold with curbside pickup.”
Human rights defenders are demanding the Trump administration take gun makers and sellers off the list of essential workers amid the pandemic.
“Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential. Guns are not essential.” The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence tweeted.