Amid growing nationwide demand for guns, law enforcement officials in San Jose, California shut down a gun shop on Tuesday, after the city's mayor declared that "gun stores are non-essential," The Mercury News reported.
The gun shop closure was among the first enforcement actions taken in San Jose on day one of a "shelter-in-place" order.
(Likewise, San Francisco Mayor London Breed told CNN on Wednesday that local government has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, but that does not include marijuana dispensaries: "We've allowed essential services to remain open like grocery stores, places where people can get gas, banks and pharmacies, cannabis locations for people who need marijuana for medicinal purposes. And for the most part many other businesses are closed," Breed told CNN.)
The Mercury News quoted one customer as saying the gun store should remain open:
“Essential? It’s our right to arm ourselves,” Joshua Wolfe, 37, said. “Toilet paper is essential, right? People are going nuts for that, right?”
Everyone is “on edge,” he said, “because people don’t know the truth of this whole situation. If they’re short on supplies, they’ll come after people who are prepared.”
J.V. Sumabat, 31, of San Jose said he was worried about the same thing.
“I’ve seen people fighting over toilet paper. I’m worried what they will do out of desperation,” he said. “When people start looting stores and they don’t have access to food, they could come into the homes of those they feel are vulnerable. I’d rather be prepared.”
According to San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia, the gun store's owner said he remained open because, under California regulations, there are limits to how long the store may hold firearms that already have been purchased," and buyers have to pick up their guns when the waiting period ends.
“We told them to go to DOJ and seek a waiver,” Garcia said. “There was no malicious intent. A lot of this stuff is going to happen.”
The Mercury News reported that San Jose police also ordered the shutdown of three smoke shops, a pet grooming business, and a flower shop.
And they "broke up a pickup basketball game at a city park, reportedly telling the participants they weren’t abiding by social distancing advisories with man-to-man defense."