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USA: calling gun stores 'essential businesses' during pandemic will lead to more violence

A gun shop in the state of Louisiana © Amnesty International

Coronavirus has led to surge in firearm sales across the country

Homes often unsafe, with 4.6 million children living in households with a firearm and accidental shootings common

‘Gun retailers are not essential businesses and should not remain open during this pandemic’ - Ernest Coverson

In response to reports of increased gun sales and gun stores being considered “essential businesses” in the USA amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ernest Coverson, Campaign Manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA, said: 

“With the increase in firearms sales due to COVID-19 and 4.6 million children who already live in households with a firearm, staying at home may be safe for some but poses a new threat to many children.

“As recently as last week, we’ve seen accidental shootings happen already in Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oregon, which have claimed the lives of children as young as three-years-old.

“Instead of taking aggressive measures to curb gun violence, the federal government has again prioritised gun ownership over the basic right to live in safety and listed firearms as essential and critical to pandemic infrastructure.

“Gun retailers are not essential businesses and should not remain open during this pandemic.

“With hospitals at critically low capacity due to the pandemic, we cannot afford more injuries or deaths from gun violence.

“The federal government has made a mistake that will only lead to more lives lost because of senseless gun violence.” 

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