Republicans to Maryland Gov. Hogan: Keep gun stores open during coronavirus pandemic

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is getting pressure from Democrats to close gun stores and from Republicans to keep them open. Gun stores have been allowed to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic when most other retailers have had to shut their doors. In this March 18, 2020, photo, customers visit Gun Connection in White Marsh

Many of Maryland’s Republican state lawmakers are urging Gov. Larry Hogan to keep gun stores open, one day after more than 50 Democrats asked him to shut them down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s House of Delegates Republican Caucus sent a letter Friday to the Republican governor pressing him to keep gun stores as “essential businesses.”


“Without a doubt, Marylanders should be at home unless seeking or providing some essential service,” they wrote. “Protecting oneself and family is not just an essential service, it is an essential human right.”

The letter was signed by Minority Leader Del. Nic Kipke of Anne Arundel County and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, who represents Harford and Baltimore counties. The Republican Caucus has 42 members.


The Hogan administration has relied on federal guidance in determining what businesses are deemed “essential” and can remain open. The most recent recommendation from the federal government includes gun retailers alongside manufacturers as businesses that can remain open.

“Federal guidelines expressly designate gun stores as essential, and the governor’s orders adhere to the federal guidelines," Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said in a statement Thursday.

The Republicans took exception with the letter sent by Democratic lawmakers the day before saying they “recognize the temptation to use a public health crisis as a backdrop for political virtue signaling.”

“Some members of the General Assembly have built their careers on trying to put gun stores out of business, well before any pandemic,” they wrote.

More than 50 Democratic delegates and senators urged Hogan to close gun stores, raising concerns about people “stockpiling” weapons and increased access to guns that could lead to gun violence and accidents.