Gun shops can now open in New Jersey, as an essential service, during the COVID-19 shutdown, Governor Phil Murphy reluctantly announced today.
“It wouldn’t be my definition but that’s the definition at the federal level and I didn’t get a vote on that,” Murphy said at his press briefing on Monday, according to NJ.com.
Murphy was quoted last week as saying that only cops should have guns.
Monmouth County legislators Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger called for gun shops to be reopened last week.
“We understand that this is a unique time not only in our State’s history, but our nation’s as a whole. With that comes various challenges to safeguard the public’s health. However, we should ensure that any actions taken to guarantee the safety of our residents also include upholding a citizen’s Constitutional right to protect themselves through the lawful purchasing of firearms from a licensed provider. Preserving constitutional rights, even in unprecedented situations, should be seen as a sacred obligation of government,” the legislators said in a joint statement.
“These are trying times and if a lawful citizen seeks to invoke their Second Amendment Right, they should have the ability to do so. In instances of national security, people buy gold and buy guns. If a citizen wants to do so, as long as they are practicing social distancing and proper hand-washing, that shouldn’t be an issue.”
Senator Michael Testa, (R-Cumberland) also called for gun shops to be opened during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I am pleased that Gov. Murphy is finally recognizing and honoring our constitutional right to bear arms, especially amid this State of Emergency,” Testa said following Murphy’s reversal.
“The Second Amendment is essential to all law-abiding citizens, particularly for increased safety, security, and self-protection. New Jerseyans’ rights to purchase a firearm should have never been infringed upon in the first place.
“We are proud that New Jersey will ensure citizens are lawfully able to practice their Second Amendment right.”