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Murphy Relents, Allows Gun Shops To Open Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Gov. Phil Murphy during Monday's news briefing.
Gov. Phil Murphy during Monday's news briefing. Photo Credit: NJ Governor's Office (screengrab)

Gun shops in New Jersey can now open as an essential business during the coronavirus outbreak -- but "by appointment only and under limited hours," Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

Murphy originally classified gun shops as "non-essential" businesses required to be closed as part of an executive order.

He changed that on Monday, saying that he was following U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines, which added gun dealers, ranges and manufacturers to its essential business guide for its coronavirus response on Saturday.

“It wouldn’t be my definition, but that’s the definition at the federal level and I didn’t get a vote on that,” Murphy said at a press briefing on Monday.

Murphy’s Executive Order 107, issued on March 21, mandated the indefinite closure of all “non-essential” businesses. The order applied to all businesses except those specifically exempted. Gun stores and ranges weren't exempted.

All firearms and ammunition sales were shut down completely and all ranges (indoor and outdoor, public and private) ordered closed under a restriction on recreational activities.

Murphy’s decision also comes after a federal lawsuit was filed by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society to reopen gun stores.

Gun shop owners have argued that they are essential because they supply firearms and ammunition to current and retired law enforcement.

To watch Murphy's news briefing, CLICK HERE

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