Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Tara Pixley]

Daily Bulletin: Another Lawsuit Is Challenging an Order Deeming Gun Stores ‘Nonessential’

Good morning, Bulletin readers. As the nation scrambles to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, many states have ordered a halt to “nonessential” business. Our new effort to track what that means for gun dealers leads your Thursday round-up.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: How coronavirus shutdowns are affecting gun stores in each state. For the last week, we’ve been bringing you coverage of the states under stay-at-home orders that have either granted “essential business” exemptions to gun stores, allowing them to operate, or forced them to close amid an unprecedented sales surge. Daniel Nass has compiled each state’s policy in this interactive map, and will continue to track the rapidly changing situation. Did we miss something? Shoot Daniel an email at [email protected].

Another lawsuit is challenging an order deeming gun stores nonessential. A customer of Bighorn Firearms in Denver is suing the city over it’s new stay-at-home order. “We are not looking to create a big problem. We just want a clear cut definition of whether or not we can continue to do this,” said the shop’s owner, who had a customer file it on his behalf per the judge’s request. Gun-rights supporters filed similar suits over closure orders in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (The Pennsylvania case was dismissed, but the governor later allowed gun stores to operate with certain restrictions.)

Gunmaker Remington offers New York plant for manufacturing hospital supplies. The million-square-foot facility temporarily closed after Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order for all nonessential workers. Remington’s CEO wrote Cuomo and President Donald Trump to offer the plant for the production or distribution of medical supplies like ventilators and hospital beds.

The NIH is calling for gun violence research proposals. In December, Congress awarded $25 million to be divided evenly among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence, the first time taxpayer money had been allocated for that purpose in over two decades. Last month, the CDC put out a call for proposals. Now, the NIH is seeking applications “to conduct research on firearm injury and mortality prevention.” Two funding opportunities (here and here) set aside up to $600,000, and applications are due in May.

Another state legislature’s abrupt adjournment leaves gun reform bills on the table. Bipartisan legislation in Arizona that would prohibit gun possession for domestic offenders and child abusers was left in limbo when lawmakers suspended their session until April 13. Last week, the Minnesota Legislature also adjourned until April, leaving the fate of a universal background check bill and a red flag measure uncertain. Nine other states weighing red flag proposals abruptly delayed sessions because of the pandemic.

DATA POINT

 the number of statewide closure orders that have forced gun stores to shutter. — The Trace