US Dept of Homeland Security: “Firearms ARE Essential” in COVID-19
Adam Scepaniak 03.29.20
In these tumultuous times that we all find ourselves in with Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19), there is a lot of uncertainty as to what businesses and occupations are still allowed to operate as normal. Many of us who understand the Bill of Rights intuitively know that firearm manufacturers, distributors, and retailers should remain open; because without them, your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is de facto taken away from you. No other God-given right or Amendment from the Bill of Rights is in jeopardy, so why is only the 2nd questioned? Well, we finally received some more clarity from the United States Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Christopher C. Krebs, issued this statement yesterday late on Saturday, March 28th to better inform all employers and employees in the United States as to what occupations are deemed “essential” (should continue to work) and “non-essential” (are ordered to cease operations to combat the spread of COVID-19).
MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE (March 28th, 2020)
As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16th the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America that highlighted the importance of the critical infrastructure workforce.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s authorities to secure critical infrastructure. Consistent with these authorities, CISA has developed, in collaboration with other federal agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector, an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list. This list is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. Decisions informed by this list should also take into consideration additional public health considerations based on the specific COVID-19-related concerns of particular jurisdictions.
This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.
The advisory list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing operational functions, among others. It also includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure. The industries they support represent, but are not limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are responsible for implementing and executing response activities, including decisions about access and reentry, in their communities, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. Officials should use their own judgment in issuing implementation directives and guidance. Similarly, while adhering to relevant public health guidance, critical infrastructure owners and operators are expected to use their own judgement on issues of the prioritization of business processes and workforce allocation to best ensure continuity of the essential goods and services they support. All decisions should appropriately balance public safety, the health and safety of the workforce, and the continued delivery of essential critical infrastructure services and functions. While this advisory list is meant to help public officials and employers identify essential work functions, it allows for the reality that some workers engaged in activity determined to be essential may be unable to perform those functions because of health-related concerns.
CISA will continue to work with our partners in the critical infrastructure community to update this advisory list if necessary as the Nation’s response to COVID-19 evolves.
This memorandum, in and of itself, does little to clarify as to what employers and employees are deemed essential and non-essential. If you visit the CISA’s website and view the original memorandum there, they then go on to list all of the essential occupations in a series of bullet point lists that far exceeds 100 entries. The one that we all care about the most is this one below.
- Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.
So, long story finally short: gun stores, the distributors who get products out into the marketplace, and firearm/ammunition manufacturers ARE deemed ESSENTIAL. Again, this might not come as a surprise to many of us who believe in the Right to Bear Arms, but it is nice to finally have someone spell it out for the general populous to understand as well. As always, let us know what you think in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.