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DHS Deems Firearms Industry Businesses ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce’ for COVID-19 Response

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an Advisory Memorandum on the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” COVID-19 response that includes the “firearm industry’s manufacturing, distribution, retail and range businesses.”

The document, titled “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response,” elaborates on the scope of the designation:

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s authorities to secure critical infrastructure. Consistent with these authorities, CISA has developed, in collaboration with other federal agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector, an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list. This list is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. Decisions informed by this list should also take into consideration additional public health considerations based on the specific COVID-19-related concerns of particular jurisdictions.

As it pertains to “essential critical infrastructure workers,” page 6 of the 15-page advisory memorandum includes “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” under the Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders section. (See below)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association representing firearm and ammunition manufacturers, praised the move.

“We are deeply appreciative to the Trump Administration and Department of Homeland Security for recognizing the vital role our industry fulfills in our nation,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for NSSF. “We have seen over the past week hundreds of thousands, even millions of Americans choosing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to ensure their safety and the safety of loved ones during these uncertain times. Americans must not be denied the ability to exercise that right to lawfully purchase and acquire firearms during times of emergency. This guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is crucial to governors and local officials as they craft the orders to preserve public health.”

Read the full advisory memorandum here.

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