By: José Niño
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf rescinded his emergency Wuhan Virus shut-down order that initially called for the closure of gun stores across the state.
Now, Pennsylvania gun stores will stay open, albeit on a limit basis in accordance to Wolf’s revision.
Wolf will let gun dealers reopen their stores, but his order still largely constrains the kind of interactions they can have. According to the updated order, gun stores are allowed "to complete only the portions of a sale/transfer that must be conducted in-person under the law," which likely alludes to the background check process, which must be conducted in person.
Demand for firearms has been on the rise since the pandemic struck, but many governments have different priorities. Some, like Philadelphia’s, have made life difficult for gun owners by stopping the issuance of concealed carry licenses. Philadelphia’s police department has made people even more susceptible to danger by taking a lax approach on criminals by no longer arresting people for so-called “non-violent” crimes such as burglary or prostitution.
Wolf changed the order two days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected an emergency request from Second Amendment activists challenging the gun store closure. Other states and municipalities are issuing orders related to Wolf’s, but there is still considerable debate on whether gun stores are among the exempted businesses.
The order mandates that stores run their operations on an "individual appointment" basis and be open for limited periods of time. Dealers are also obligated to "comply with social distancing, sanitization of applicable area between appointments, and other mitigation measures to protect its employees and the public," per the modified order.
The revised order reflected some of the suggestions three dissenting Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices made on March 22, 2020 when the emergency request was reviewed by the state Supreme Court. Justice David Wecht asserted that the order was an "impermissible intrusion upon a fundamental constitutional right" and implored the governor to pursue a different path that allows gun dealers to stay open, even if it meant placing limits on their operations.
Thankfully for Pennsylvania gun owners, Wolf is behaving in a level-headed manner.
Nevertheless, gun owners should not let up in their vigilance. Times of crises are when power-hungry despots in our legislatures show their true colors and try to advance all sorts of tyrannical plots.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.