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Rantz: Washington gun stores defy order, stay open during coronavirus shutdown

Gun shop owner Tiffany Teasdale-Causer poses for a photo with a semi-automatic rifle in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The owner of a local gun shop says she won’t close her store despite the Washington coronavirus shutdown order. And she’s seeing a ton of new customers: Liberals.

In his stay-at-home order, Governor Jay Inslee shut down businesses deemed non-essential. While pot shops and abortion providers can stay open, Inslee said gun shops must close down until May 4.

This has become the latest controversy between gun rights activists and the notoriously anti-gun governor.

Coronavirus shutdown vs. gun rights

Tiffany Teasdale, owner of Lynnwood Gun and Ammunition, says she was originally caught off guard by the order. She says didn’t get a notice from the governor’s office, or even any state, county, or city agency. She learned about the shutdown order from a customer.

In fact, she says the only official guidance she’s seen is from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which lists gun shops as essential.

“It is our Second Amendment [right] to have people get safety and security equipment and also get firearms because this is a scary time. People are terrified,” Teasdale told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “We’re seeing a lot of crimes happening. We have inmates getting out of jail early, so that’s also scaring people. It’s just it’s kind of an unnerving time for a lot of citizens.”

So unnerving, she’s getting new customers she never expected.

Liberals buying guns

Teasdale says she’s selling all kinds of products with her store busy all day — while practicing social distancing. But she never expected to get so many previously anti-gun customers during the coronavirus shutdown.

“We’re getting a lot of people who voted against guns that are now coming in to purchase firearms, and now they’re getting really upset because there’s a 10-day waiting period on almost all guns and they voted for it,” Teasdale said. “But now it’s coming back to haunt them because they tell us they’re a good person [who shouldn’t have to wait].”

In talking with them, Teasdale says she can see how their minds are starting to change.

“They’re starting to wonder, ‘well, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea that I imposed all these laws and really supported them now that I need them and I can’t get them,” Teasdale said.

They’re not alone

Lynnwood Gun isn’t the only gun shop defying the coronavirus shutdown order. Other shops are also standing up for the rights of gun owners.

Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso remains open, telling The Daily News they’re “the supply chain of a rural police department” so they should be considered essential.

“I agree with taking this more (seriously) to curb the virus,” owner Wally Wentz told TDN. “I agree with that. Not to the point of infringement of constitutional rights.”

Wade’s Eastside Guns holds a similar viewpoint.

The Bellevue gun shop and range posted a note on their website: “As far as the state and all of us are concerned, your right to the protection of yourself, your family and others is an essential need and a constitutional right!”

Inslee hasn’t taken an official move to force these businesses to close. But at a recent press briefing he threatened businesses that do not comply. When it comes to shops providing ways to engage in constitutionally protected rights, a shutdown order seems legally untenable. Is that the legal fight he wants to have during a public health crisis?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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