Gov. Newsom Outsources Decision to Close Gun Stores

California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent out a list of “essential business” that should remain open during the coronavirus crisis, and gun stores did not make the list. Instead of designating gun stores as nonessential, however, the governor outsourced the decision to the sheriffs in California’s 58 counties. “I believe in people’s right to bear arms,” Newsom told reporters, “but I’ll defer to the sheriff in this instance, the sheriffs in their respective jurisdictions.” In San Diego County, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher thought he should make the call.

We consulted with our county counsel,” Fletcher told KPBS. “It is not our belief that gun stores are essential businesses, and they should not be open in the county of San Diego.” It wasn’t clear who the supervisor meant by “our” belief. Fletcher is not the sheriff, and neither is the county counsel. Gun sales are running high, so members of the public appear to consider them essential in a time of crisis. 

According to Michael Schwartz of San Diego County Gun Owners, “People are purchasing firearms because they’re in fear for their safety.”

David Chong, owner of AO Sword Firearms in El Cajon, told KBPS he had no plans to close, and that shutting down gun stores would be “sterilizing” the Second Amendment by preventing people from buying the arms they have the right to bear. 

As he campaigns against gun stores, supervisor Fletcher is recruiting members of the public to report non-essential business that remain open. Californians might question the value of such snooping and wonder where supervisor Fletcher is coming from. 

Turns out, he’s a former California Assemblyman and now a “Professor of Practice,” in the department of political science at the University of California, San Diego. “The Professor of Practice series,” a UCSD website explains, “is designed to bring to campus distinguished professionals who are leaders in their fields but do not have the academic backgrounds typically required for a faculty appointment.” 

UCSD Professor of Practice Nathan Fletcher is married to California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the San Diego Democrat who wrote Assembly Bill 5, the law that seeks to restrict the state’s independent contractors, even those in the medical field. The measure also limits freelance writers, photographers and videographers to 35 submissions, per publication, per year.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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