New Jersey Governor Reverses Course, Deems Gun Stores 'Essential Businesses'


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) reversed course on Monday, announcing the gun shops would be considered “essential businesses” and can remain open.

Murphy’s change of heart came after the federal Department of Homeland Security listed gun dealers as “critical infrastructure.” Murphy had previously said gun retailers could not remain open, and he expressed disappointment at the federal government’s new stance.

“In accordance with the guidance released over the weekend by the federal Department of Homeland Security, we will allow firearms sellers to operate,” Murphy said during a press briefing. “It wouldn’t have been my definition, but that’s the definition at the federal level. I didn’t get a vote on that.”

Along with the gun shops, car dealerships will be able to operate online and car repair centers are allowed to remain open. Breweries also got the green light to deliver to customers’ homes, Murphy said.

After the gun retailers were deemed non-essential, at least three gun rights organizations sued the state of New Jersey to re-open them, according to Politico. Many Republicans also called on Murphy to change course.

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Still, the stores will be operating on an appointment-only basis with limited hours. Scott Back, the executive director of The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, said he still plans to move forward with the lawsuit against New Jersey for closing the gun shops.

“It’s good that the governor has finally bowed to pressure from the federal government, but our case is going to continue,” Bach told Politico. “We are seeking a permanent injunction preventing this from ever happening again in this or future administrations.”

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Isaac Saul is a senior politics reporter, editor and founding member at A Plus, the positive news oulet founded by Ashton Kutcher. He also writes the independent, non-partisan, ad-free politics newsletter Tangle. His reporting focuses on Congress, elections, immigration and climate change. His writing has appeared in CNN, The New York Daily News, The Forward, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and been cited by The Washington Post, The New York Times and Fox News, among others. Before A Plus, he was an Associate Editor at The Huffington Post and the sports editor at The Pitt News.

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