Gun stores still open during coronavirus pandemic

LYNNWOOD, Wash — As Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order continues, there's a big debate about which types of stores are essential, including gun stores.

Since the order began on March 25, Lynnwood Gun has found itself in people's crosshairs.

"You are parasites feeding off fear and spreading disease" wrote one person on the store’s Facebook page.

"Protecting public health trumps the Second Amendment," wrote another.

Managers at the store told KIRO 7 News they have gotten used to receiving angry messages.

In fact, they said they were receiving an average of 10 angry and threatening emails every single day.

“It's people who we call 'keyboard commandos.' People who write, 'oh you're such an evil person',” said Tiffany Teasdale, owner of Lynnwood Gun.

Teasdale admitted that gun shops aren't specifically mentioned in Inslee's order.

Instead, she said she’s been allowed to stay open because she’s simply a retail store, which is mentioned in the governor’s order (https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Guidance%20Bulletin%20-%20Proclamation%2020-25%2C%2003.31.2020.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery).

“All of us gun shops, we have zero thing in writing from Inslee that specifically says, 'gun shops need to close',” Teasdale insisted.

The result has been astronomical sales and a line of customers out the door.

Yet, the angry messages remain, including one that accuses the store of profiting off a pandemic.

Should the governor actually order the closure of gun stores, Teasdale said it would be no simple task to close, because she'd have to find a place to store her merchandise, which is dangerous if it is stolen by a criminal.

“We would have to ask Inslee, 'who's going to protect our store?' Is he going to mandate a law enforcement officer to sit inside or outside our store 24-7 to make sure gun stores aren't burglarized?" Teasdale asked.

Beyond Washington, a similar debate is happening all over the country.

In fact, at least a dozen other states are in the same situation where gun shops aren’t specifically listed as essential, yet they’re staying open anyway.

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