Delaware gun rights advocates across the state were outraged when they learned that gun shops and stores that exclusively sell firearms were deemed non-essential and would be closing at the direction of Governor Carney in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mitch Denham, president of Delaware Gun Rights, expressed strong concerns following the state’s decision to exclude those stores from the list of essential businesses in this time of crisis.
“Gun stores are going to be an important facet for protection, ability to hunt for food in case food does disappear and we have no access to it, and things of that nature,” Denham said. “Just yesterday, Sam Chick had somebody bust into his store and he was able to thwart them off with a firearm.”
Puffster, a vaping and smoking accessory shop in Downtown Dover, was vandalized and robbed early Monday morning. The store’s owner, Sam Chick, was armed at the time of the incident and thwarted what could have been a very dangerous situation as he discovered what occurred and then chased the suspect away.
“That’s the kind of thing that we’re going to be looking at happening in the future as this lockdown continues forward because there are people out there that don’t always do the right thing,” Denham said. “So, making sure that people have access to bullets and firearms is essential to them being able to protect themselves and their families in this time of crisis.”
When asked if he feels the current climate surrounding coronavirus and the resulting State of Emergency is emboldening criminals in this time of crisis, Chick said it certainly appears that way.
“I hate to say that, but I think so,” Chick said. “I think that the Governor shutting everything down makes opportunity for people and this is the kind of ridiculous stuff that’s going to happen.”
Governor John Carney appeared on WGMD LIVE with Mike Bradley on Monday where he was asked about the decision to exclude gun stores from the list of essential businesses.
“I wasn’t part of the process for determining what was essential and what was not,” Governor Carney said. “My only guess is that it was a combination of maybe the fact that they’re not immediately essential, obviously not withstanding Second Amendment rights there.”
Governor Carney then went on to say that he saw crowds at gun stores and as a result it could have influenced the decision to close the establishments for the time being.
“I saw pictures of crowds in front of gun stores, in gun stores, and that type of thing and so that could have played into it,” Governor Carney added. “That’s something we can obviously take a look at.”
Denham and other gun rights advocates across the state feel the development is a constitutional infringement on their Second Amendment rights in a time of crisis.
“The way that they close businesses, gun stores get lumped in with sporting goods,” Denham said. “I don’t know that it’s an intentional ploy on his part, I just know that it may fall through the cracks because of the way things are coded. We are trying to reach out to the Governor, trying to have people reach out to the Governor, and to let the Governor know that this a essential business to the community.”
Moving forward, legal challenges to the order will be considered by Second Amendement advocates if the stores are not permitted to reopen.