(BBC) – Los Angeles County is reopening gun shops to the public after a federal memo listed them as “essential” businesses.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva closed shops last week, but reversed course on Monday, following the guidance.
The LA county closures had prompted a lawsuit from gun rights groups.
The change comes amid a national dispute over whether gun access is critical amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The federal guidance issued on 28 March classified munitions makers and sellers as “essential critical infrastructure workers”.
Mr Villanueva said that though the memo was non-binding, it has national scope and he would therefore open shops closed last week.
Previously, Mr Villanueva had told gun shops to close in the nation’s most populous county, as long queues due to panic-buying posed health risks.
California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, who issued a state-wide stay at home order to combat the spread of Covid-19 earlier this month, has said each of the state’s counties may determine whether firearm stores, like groceries and pharmacies, were essential businesses permitted to remain open.
The state has seen over 130 deaths due to the novel coronavirus. The US currently has over 164,000 confirmed cases.
An order was issued closing gun stop to the public, but dealers could continue to do business with police, security companies and some residents who had not yet collected their previously purchased firearms.