Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is ordering gun stores closed in accordance with California's shutdown of nonessential businesses amid the fight against the coronavirus.
“We will be closing them, they are not an essential function,” Villanueva told a local Fox affiliate.
He also said the increase in gun sales seen in the state and nationwide could result in unnecessary violence as tensions rise amid the pandemic and subsequent shutdown.
“I’m a supporter of the Second amendment — I’m a gun owner myself — but now you have the mixture of people that are not formerly gun owners and you have a lot more people at home, and anytime you introduce a firearm in a home, from what I understand from CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] studies, it increases fourfold the chance that someone is gonna get shot,” Villanueva said.
The sheriff has added 1,300 deputies to patrol and released 1,700 nonviolent inmates from county jails since Gov. Gavin Newson (D) issued a stay-at-home order. The order includes closing all businesses besides grocery stores, pharmacies and other “critical infrastructure.”
Villanueva expressed frustration with what he described as a lack of communication between politicians and public safety officials in the state.
“When we’re communicating with the shelter in place or the safer at home, there’s a lot of anguish, however, the people who have to enforce it are public safety, and we were totally out of the process, we were not involved,” he said.