Brookfield, Vermont, April 18, 2020: GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Klar calls for recognition that gun sales are an “essential service” under the Governor’s Stay Home Orders. The constitutional rights of citizens may not be ignored in times of crisis -- indeed, these are the times those rights must be most closely guarded.
Addendum 6 to Executive Order 01-20 (Stay Home Stay Safe) does not mention gun sales in its directives, and instructs the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to “develop additional guidance as to which businesses are determined to be critical to public health and safety.” The right to bear arms must not be compromised by vague authority delegated to an administrative branch of government.
Unlike other retail goods, Vermont citizens hold guaranteed rights to acquire and own firearms for self defense under both state and federal constitutions. In a declining economic environment, domestic violence is expected to increase -- women must especially be safeguarded in their right to purchase protection for themselves or their children in unstable times. Crime rates may also increase, making sales of firearms an essential service for all Vermonters.
Under guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government has specifically acknowledged that sales of firearms are considered an essential service. Further, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives has issued guidelines for gun dealers to sell inventory using drive-thrus or walk-up windows.
Attorney Klar insists that Vermont’s government, and Governor Phil Scott, must assure citizens that their rights to purchase self protection are being protected during this crisis. This will also provide direction for an important Vermont business segment.