‘Lawsuits are coming’ Gun rights group blasts LA County sheriff over gun shop ban during coronavirus outbreak

A gun-rights group in California told ToddStarnes.com in an exclusive interview Friday that the National Rifle Association and others are planning to sue over the Los Angeles County sheriff ordering all gun stores in his jurisdiction to close.

Alex Villanueva, the sheriff, called these stores– like strip clubs– “nonessential” businesses earlier this week and ordered their closures. Lawyers in the county reportedly told him to hold his horses, but he was able to go forward with the order on Thursday after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office’s backing.

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Newsom ruled that these sheriffs can order the stores to close, The Los Angeles Times reported. Villanueva’s order says police officers and security guards can still purchase firearms at these stores.

Sam Paredes, the executive director of Gun Owners of California, said many residents in the state understand that in a time of crisis, the government simply “cannot protect them” and the freedom to purchase a firearm is needed now more than ever.

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He said residents who lined up at gun stores at the onset of the virus outbreak in the U.S. were written off as people “crying wolf” about a government takeover, but he said they were prescient.

“We’ve never seen anything like this and there’s a lot of questions about what comes next. And people know that if they have a firearm they can at least protect their homes,” he said.

Gun dealerships across the U.S. have reported a surge in firearms sales amid the coronavirus outbreak and the government’s sweeping response to try and limit the spread. Gun rights advocates worry that the government will use the outbreak as an excuse to ban gun sales.

Villanueva said earlier that deputies would not “haul people off to jail” under the orders, but said if gun stores don’t close their doors, they “will be cited.”

“We have received complaints from particular businesses that have not been adhering to the social distancing. Chief among them gun shops, nightclubs, bars and strip clubs, so we have fanned out and are making sure these businesses are complying,” Villanueva told The Los Angeles Times.

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