New Jersey lawmaker blasts Gov. Murphy’s ‘dishonorable’ move to close gun shops amid coronavirus

A state lawmaker in New Jersey took Gov. Phil Murphy to task for deciding to close gun stores in the state amid the coronavirus outbreak that has seen federal and state governments take extraordinary steps to stop the disease’s spread.

Murphy has been criticized by Second Amendment activists who called the order an attack on their Constitutional rights. The state has already faced lawsuits for the closures.

Assemblyman Edward Thomson, R-Monmouth, wrote on NJ.com that it is essential that citizens in New Jersey be able to exercise their freedoms afforded to them under the Constitution, even during times of crisis.

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“For New Jersey to stand in the way of that is unconscionable, unethical, and dishonorable. We swore an oath, all elected officials swore an oath, but Murphy’s actions have betrayed his words,” he wrote.

Earlier this month, Murphy issued an executive order that failed to list firearms shops as an essential business.

“Per Executive Order 107, (Murphy) is ordering the residents of New Jersey to stay home, directing all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public,” a notice on the online system states. “At this time, the order includes New Jersey Firearms State Licensed Dealers,” the order read.

Thomson wrote on NJ.com that his state is the only one to order a statewide closure, even though the Garden State still allows medical marijuana dispensaries, bicycle shops and cell phone retailers.

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State officials are grappling with ways to limit the virus’ spread without crippling the economy at the same time. There are many Americans who believe that the government over-extended its reach during the crisis. Health experts say that there is much to be learned about the virus, but the transmission is extremely easy. Social distancing is a must.

“People are worried that in bad times the world may become more dangerous,” he wrote. “The unknown can be a scary thought, and the ability to defend yourself is not only a right but a comfort. New Jersey’s current laws require permitting and access to a gun shop for acquiring a handgun. New Jersey’s gun-control laws are extensive; if they work in good times there should be no cause for alarm that gun businesses remain open.”

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