Today, the NRA Sued Multiple California Officials in Federal Court Over the Closure of Gun Stores Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
While NRA Board Members Have Used the Pandemic to Further Racist Narratives, Spread Conspiracy Theories, and Dismiss the Seriousness of Coronavirus, the NRA has Been Fear Mongering to Sell Guns
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown, responded to reports that the NRA and other gun lobby groups sued multiple California officials––including LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and California Governor Gavin Newsom––in federal court today over the closure of gun stores due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“While elected officials, healthcare workers, and critical employees fight to save lives across California, the NRA is suing so gun dealers can stay open while other non-essential businesses have closed,” said Nick Suplina, Everytown’s managing director for law and policy. “This irresponsible lawsuit will distract from the pandemic response at a time when people around the country are dying by the hundreds, proving once again that the NRA cares more about lining gun dealers’ pockets than American lives.”
“The Constitution doesn’t require gun stores to be singled out for special treatment during a public health crisis,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director of Everytown Law. “These types of orders also close down libraries, political rallies, and marriage license bureaus—all of which burdens constitutional rights. But because they are neutral, generally-applicable laws passed with the objective to protect public health, and not to undermine rights, they are constitutional.”
While Americans shelter in place to flatten the curve of coronavirus, the NRA has been fear mongering about the pandemic to sow division, raise money, and sell guns. Last Friday, for example, the NRA released a video urging Americans to buy guns to protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “You might be stockpiling up on food right now to get through this current crisis. But if you aren’t preparing to defend your property when everything goes wrong, you’re really just stockpiling for somebody else.” NRA board members have also called Hawaii’s response to the pandemic “a sign of the apocalypse” and warned that “it appears the federal government is readying… use of the military for domestic law enforcement purposes.”
The NRA’s implicit argument that buying guns is the only way to stay safe during this crisis is patently false. In fact, statistics show the truth is just the opposite:
- Domestic Violence: Experts are concerned about domestic violence during the pandemic, and women are five times more likely to be shot and killed by an abusive partner when a gun is present during an incident of domestic violence;
- Suicide risk: Experts are concerned about increased suicide risk during the pandemic, and access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide;
- Unintentional shootings: Unintentional shootings like the tragedy in New Mexico described above are more likely in a time when Americans are staying home and gun sales are reportedly on the rise. In fact, nearly 77 percent of unintentional shootings by children take place inside the home.
- More guns don’t mean more safety: If more guns made Americans safe, then we’d be the safest nation in the world––but America’s homicide rate is 25 times than that of other high-income countries.
The NRA has cancelled its convention and laid off employees due to coronavirus, but NRA associates have nonetheless dismissed the seriousness of the virus, furthered the racist “chinese virus” narrative, and spread conspiracies.