Gun shops in Los Angeles are nonessential businesses and will have to close their doors amid coronavirus restrictions, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday.
“There are hundreds of businesses which, through no fault of their own, do not fall under the Governor’s definition of critical infrastructure,” Villanueva said during a press conference. “As a result, I have instructed my deputies to enforce closures of businesses which have disregarded the Governor’s order (gun stores, strip clubs, and other non-designated businesses).”
Villanueva announced the department will add 1,300 deputies to beef up patrols. Gun shops that remain open will be cited, he said.
The announcement comes one week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order directing the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home, beginning March 20 to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Villanueva said the order is to help “make sure (nonessential businesses) honor the social distancing and display some common sense.”
There are at least 52,381 cases of the novel coronavirus in the US, including 2,102 cases in the state of California, according to CNN Health’s tally of cases.
Gun stores in Los Angeles, and across the country, have reportedly seen increases in sales amid coronavirus concerns.
Last week, the California Rifle and Pistol Association issued a bulletin arguing that gun stores are essential businesses and should be allowed to continue operation.
“CRPA firmly believes firearm retailers serve an essential purpose in California, especially given the unprecedented demand they currently face,” the association wrote in the bulletin addressing the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the CRPA did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.