Reports are surfacing in several jurisdictions about the number of police officers testing positive for Coronavirus, underscoring the importance of the Second Amendment among people who might have been indifferent about the right to keep and bear arms…until now.
Over the weekend, TIME magazine reported that “about 700 New Jersey police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus.” Acting State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said more than 700 officers have been quarantined at home.
However, the Philadelphia Inquirer subsequently reported that Callahan had “overstated” the number. The newspaper noted that “while 1,272 officers had been ‘quarantined,’ the actual number of those testing positive was 163. In addition, it said that 1,435 officers were ‘out for other reasons,’ but did not elaborate.”
The Sun reported Monday “Almost 5,000 (New York) cops are currently out sick as the coronavirus crisis continues to ravage New York with fears looming of disorder on the streets. The number of police officers out sick on Sunday amounts to nearly 14 per cent of the 36,000-strong force.”
The Associated Press reported “More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police.”
The story also revealed “Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff’s offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey of over 40 law enforcement agencies, mostly in major cities. The number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places.”
Altogether, these reports reinforce the argument made over the weekend by Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey to reopen gun shops and shooting ranges. He says the same principle applies nationwide, where police manpower shortages might translate to problems for the public, despite official insistence they have things under control.
“This is exactly why the Foundation lawsuit to force New Jersey to re-open gun stores during this emergency is so important,” Gottlieb said. “People need to be able to obtain the means of self-defense in times such as these. This is why the right to keep and bear arms is essential.
“The Second Amendment wasn’t written for duck hunters,” Gottlieb added. “The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution to assure every citizen has the means to defend himself or herself when help may not arrive in time, or maybe not arrive at all.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began more than two weeks ago, anecdotal reports of citizens rushing to gun stores to purchase firearms and ammunition have surfaced, suggesting many people were buying guns for the first time. The Second Amendment in essence became their first fallback.
Alarming to gun owners from one coast to the other has been the widespread shut downs of police agency services including fingerprinting for concealed carry license or permit applications. Some agencies are accepting renewals only, deciding to suspend new permit applications. This has already resulted in one lawsuit in North Carolina, filed by SAF, the Firearms Policy Coalition and Grass Roots North Carolina.
Several other lawsuits are under consideration, Gottlieb hinted in a telephone conversation late last week.