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Five Things We Learned About Gun Rights During the Coronavirus Crisis

By: Brenden Boudreau

While the economy is coming to a grinding halt under government-issued “stay-at-home” orders, one thing for sure is that the battle for the Second Amendment has not slowed down one bit. This crisis has only exposed petty tyrants coast-to-coast who are using any excuse to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.

Not only have we learned that many anti-gun politicians have no shame in using a pandemic to assault the Second Amendment, but we’ve also learned a myriad of other lessons, many already known but with new applications:

Politicians are just waiting for any opportunity to restrict gun rights
Whether it is shutting down gun stores by arbitrarily declaring them as “non-essential,” to banning outright the open carry of handguns, we’ve seen it all from the usual suspects, with some surprises mixed in.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that anti-gun officials in California and Massachusetts, as well as other anti-gun bastions, quickly acted to close gun stores in the name of “public heath,” while keeping other similar businesses open.

But what is surprising is the numerous rural counties in South Carolina, such as Saluda County, that invoked the authority to restrict the transport and sale of firearms in their declarations of emergency in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
When pressed on the issue, the local authorities claimed they had no intention of actually using that part of the emergency declaration. That gives little comfort to South Carolinians who are witnessing government flexing its power in a way most never thought possible.

Many first-time gun buyers suddenly learned the importance of the Second Amendment
As the nation settled into crisis response mode, many Americans became first-time gun buyers, leading to new records set in just the last couple months for the number of transactions processed through NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).

While it is all but a sure thing that many of those were gun owners buying more guns, there were many reports coming out of citizens buying firearms for the first time, out of fear that their government was not going to be able to keep them safe in midst of a pandemic.

Many of these folks learned firsthand just how difficult it really is to lawfully purchase firearms in America. The felt for the first time what it’s like to be subjected to invasive government-mandated background checks and waiting periods, as well as a myriad of other restrictions that make it very difficult to become a lawful gun owner.

Here’s hoping these first-time gun owners see the value of practicing AND defending their Second Amendment rights after this pandemic, and will join the fight when the gun grabbers inevitably come calling.

Guns are not the problem
Even though there are more firearms being purchased, and there are now more gun owners overall, unsurprisingly, crime has not increased. In fact, as reported by Forbes in early April, the crime rate has dropped across the country.

The Gun Control Lobby is sure to spin this decline as a result of criminals following the “stay-at-home” orders (as illogical as that sounds), but the truth of the matter is that with more people being at home, and there being a higher likelihood of homeowners being armed, criminals are less brazen in their acts of crime if they are likely to face an armed victim.

Gun control is the problem
Government regulation over the right to keep and bear arms is a nightmare scenario for law-abiding citizens trying to defend themselves in the midst of a global pandemic.

For those states that require a government-issued permit to carry, it became very difficult for citizens to have a legal means to comply with the law after county and state governments stopped issuing and processing carry permits.

Republican and Democrat-controlled states alike effectively shut down their permitting systems all in the name of combatting the coronavirus, but gave no relief to citizens who were now denied their ability to obtain a permit so they could carry for self-defense in these uncertain times.

Take, for example, Michigan and Florida, where carrying a pistol is heavily regulated by the state and where carrying without a permit is punishable with a felony conviction. Both these states saw their permitting system effectively shut down, leaving law-abiding citizens who didn’t already have a permit with the awful choice of risking becoming felons or becoming victims of criminals looking to take advantage of the present crisis.

That’s why the National Association for Gun Rights and its state affiliates are leading the charge for Constitutional Carry in states across the country.

Constitutional Carry simply states that if you can legally possess a pistol, you should be able to carry it openly or concealed without having to be subject to a government-mandated permitting process that treats gun owners no differently from criminals. It does this by simply removing the penalty for carrying without a permit. There are already 15 Constitutional Carry states, with more states to follow on the horizon.

The 2020 election is important for gun rights
It’s hard to tell what else this year will bring, but one thing for sure is that pro-gun Americans can ill-afford to sit on the sidelines during this crucial election. Candidates and politicians in both political parties need to be reminded that the Second Amendment clearly states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Gun owners should reject any politician seeking to find compromise by supporting “reasonable” gun control, regardless of their party affiliation.

Brenden Boudreau is the Director of Field Operations for the National Association for Gun Rights, writing from Michigan. Contact him at bpb@nagrhq.org.

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