On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva, closed the county’s gun stores because he was alarmed people were buying guns in “panic buying” and declared them a “non-essential” business.
If you thought the lines at the grocery store are long… good morning from Los Angeles 🌴 pic.twitter.com/NudGqwW4I2
— CJ Johnson (@cjjohnsonjr) March 14, 2020
Later on Tuesday, a legal opinion from the Los Angeles County Counsel’s office said the governor’s emergency declaration did not allow the sheriff to close gun stores.
On Wednesday, the governor was asked about the LA County gun store closures. He said he’d leave it up to sheriffs. That throw-away line from Gavin Newsom didn’t comply with his own edict according to the Los Angeles County counsel who supplies legal opinions to the Board of Supervisors and the heads of departments such as the LA County sheriff.
Also on Wednesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors reportedly took the preliminary steps to remove Villanueva from his post in charge of the County Emergency Operations Center. He blames it on his gun store closure stance.
Come Thursday, the confused sheriff reversed his previous reversal of the gun shop closures, claiming that the governor’s response the day before gave him the green light to close gun stores.
“In compliance with @CAgovernor’s Executive Order, Gun & ammunition stores are not considered essential businesses, and will cease to sell to the general public, there are some exceptions. “
In compliance with @CAgovernor 's Executive Order, Gun & ammunition stores are not considered essential businesses, and will cease to sell to the general public, there are some exceptions. Please see my full statement below: #COVID19 #SaferAtHome #flattenthecurve #LASD #SheriffV pic.twitter.com/XSqk9POEzt
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) March 26, 2020
This time around, the sheriff made exceptions for law enforcement, private security companies, and people who have the California Firearm Safety Certificate to buy guns and ammo. If you’re just a homeowner concerned about the 1,700-plus criminals Villanueva just let out of jail early and if you don’t already have a gun, then you can’t defend yourself.
Newsom did not reissue his executive order and the county counsel has not changed her opinion, so Villanueva is closing down gun stores all on his own. Furthermore, in forbidding only new gun buyers from being able to exercise their Second Amendment rights, he might have put himself in even more legal peril.