Licensed gun stores can stay open amid stay-at-home orders if they operate via curbside service from the properties where their businesses are established.
On Friday, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said gun retailers can sell guns and ammunition through permanent or temporary drive-thrus or walk-up windows. The bureau said all parts of the sales process, from identity verification to paperwork, must be conducted outside the actual store.
ATF's ruling comes after debate on whether gun stores should be classified as essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Gun rights groups have sued governors for designating gun stores as non-essential and ordering them to close — calling it a violation of Americans' Second Amendment rights.
The Department of Homeland Security updated its classification of gun retailers as "essential businesses" in late March. However, that classification is only meant to be advisory and states can add or take away businesses as they see fit.
According to CNN, retailers say the pandemic has led to an uptick in gun sales. The FBI also reported a 41% increase in background checks conducted over the last month.