AN ORDER REGARDING ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND OPERATIONS
March 26, 2020
Effective immediately, all business named as “Non-Essential”, without specific exemptions, are required to cease operations. This current Executive Order is set to expire at Midnight on April 8, 2020. Depending on the current status of COVID-19 this may be extended, or in the best case scenario, allowed to expire. The Federal orders have been implemented in this case. After reaching out to the Governor’s office for clarification, working hand in hand with the National Rifle Association and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, we have been told that gun shops in Maine are not listed as “Essential Businesses” by name. Larger stores, primarily known as “Box Stores” who also sell firearms and ammunition are allowed to remain in business under this Executive Order.
While we understand, and are sympathetic to the concerns with virus transmission, we feel that not allowing citizens to access firearms, ammunition and other items related to self-preservation, sets a dangerous precedent. There are plenty of avenues to reduce viral transmission that are being implemented by other businesses which DO qualify as “Essential” and have protection from closure. Some of these exemptions include convenience stores and hardware stores. While we see the value in both, we also can’t overlook the importance of access to items of critical, Constitutionally protected items such as firearms and ammunition, which rise well above “convenience” items.
Gun shops are important centers for training, repair, refinishing, and resupply for Law Enforcement, Security Personnel and citizens in their respective area. Allowing the closing of gun shops would put every community at a severe disadvantage with respect to safety and security, and would be magnified several times over during a crisis situation. Local police officers and their departments are serviced by their area gun shops. Closing these vital businesses down leaves them as unprepared and vulnerable as the citizens they serve and protect.
Far beyond “convenience”, firearms, ammunition and their accessories are a primary tool of many Mainers, and necessary to participate in hunting, predator and animal control.
While we understand that drastic measures may be necessary to assist in curbing the transmission of COVID-19, shops that sell constitutionally protected items, such as firearms, ammunition and accessories cannot be logically overlooked, especially while exempting stores that carry items primarily for convenience. For millions of Americans, firearms are considered a NECESSITY, playing an enhanced role in times of public discomfort, crisis and unrest.
We are disappointed that gun shops haven’t been initially named as an exempted “Essential Business” and can’t overlook the strong sentiment across the nation for their necessity. Areas that are MUCH less friendly to firearms ownership have had their initial Executive Orders modified to specifically allow them to reopen and remain open to serve their community.
We urge you to contact Governor Mills and respectfully request that Gun Shops be added to the list of “Essential Businesses” as soon as possible.
Board of Directors, Gun Owners of Maine
UPDATE: As of 04/03/2020, Maine's list of Essential Businesses and Operations now includes Federal Firearms Licensees.
Essential Businesses and Operations