Virtual Conversation | 2021 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 15, 2021 Register

Newhouse introduces legislation to designate firearm workers “essential”

On Tuesday, US Rep. Dan Newhouse introduced the Second Amendment is Essential Act, which aims to designate firearm workers as “essential.”

Newhouse’s federal legislation would make firearm workers critical infrastructure workers by classifying the firearm industry as a critical infrastructure sector. Newhouse’s proposed act would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the USA Patriot Act of 2001.

Newhouse stated about the legislation:

“It is always unconstitutional for government to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners, but to do so in the midst of a crisis is especially unconscionable. This legislation protects law-abiding citizens’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights and prevents future anti-gun restrictions that restrict lawful access to firearms in times of emergency.”

Newhouse says governors across the United States, including Gov. Jay Inslee, have infringed Second Amendment rights and “tied the hands” of law enforcement officers by denying Federal Firearm Licensees “essential worker” status. 

Lawrence G. Keane, SVP and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundations, said about the act:

“The firearm industry is deeply appreciative of the leadership and commitment of Congressman Newhouse to ensure the men and women in our industry can deliver for law-abiding American citizens without interference under the guise of a declared health emergency or disaster. This is exactly what happened in last year’s COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun stores were not initially deemed “essential businesses” in Washington State. Some gun store owners kept businesses open despite stay at home orders

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Trump administration deemed gun shops “essential businesses” in late March of 2020. DHS stated this was not a mandate, but rather guidance for state and local governments. 

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