Citing the supply needs of the police and military, and self-defense by the public, the gun industry is seeking to be included as “critical infrastructure” by the federal government, a designation that would allow stores and manufacturing plants to stay open and supplied during the coronavirus crisis.

The industry trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents 9,000 companies and retailers, said it is lobbying officials to be included as part of the “defense industrial base” and “emergency services sector,” part of the nation’s 16 critical infrastructures vital to the country.

In a letter to Department of Homeland Security, NSSF’s Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane wrote, “Whether it is providing firearms or ammunition to military, law enforcement, and law-abiding citizens or ensuring that they have access to shooting ranges for training, the firearm industry is a critical component of our nation’s security, public safety, and economic well-being. We must remain open for business. By including our industry among our nation’s critical infrastructure industries, you can help ensure that we are able to do so.”

He said the industry is concerned that in reacting to the coronavirus fight, some states or localities may close gun stores, ranges, and plants by designating them “non-essential.” That happened during Hurricane Katrina and has happened during the current crisis in a handful of California and Georgia cities.

However, Keane said that the industry has been protected as “essential” in places such as Illinois.

In his letter, posted below, Keane said that keeping the police and military supplied is critical.

“We cannot expect law enforcement to do its job of serving, protecting, and defending our communities without making sure they have access to the tools they need and which our industry provides,” it said.

And the public deserve the right to protect themselves, he added.

“Food, water, shelter and adequate medical care are paramount for survival, but so too is the ability for an individual to defend his or herself, their family, as well as their home, business and property. The firearm and ammunition industry is essential for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment right to acquire a firearm and ammunition for personal protection and home defense,” he wrote.

During the virus crisis, gun stores have cited record sales of weapons and ammunition.

The Firearms Policy Coalition said this weekend that ammo sales had popped nearly 300%, the FBI background check system has been slowed by a huge wave of gun purchase applications and guns are “flying off the shelves.”

Source: Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner