BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today cautioned law enforcement agencies that the coronavirus emergency should not be an excuse to suspend the process required for the issuance or renewal of concealed carry permits or licenses by any law enforcement agency.

“We’ve received reports from members and concerned citizens, especially in Washington State, that local law enforcement agencies are suspending license or permit application services, including the taking of fingerprints,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “That’s unreasonable because the right to bear arms shouldn’t be subject to administrative delays.

“We understand and sympathize with police and sheriff’s departments in the current COVID-19 situation,” he continued, “but there are ways to reduce the risk of disease transmission, such as wearing latex gloves and face masks, and washing your hands. You can even spray disinfectant on an application form if necessary.

“Besides,” Gottlieb observed, “we’re reasonably certain police agencies haven’t stopped processing and fingerprinting murder and rape suspects.”

For example, Gottlieb pointed to Washington State’s statute, which requires issuing agencies “to accept completed applications for concealed pistol licenses during regular business hours.” A completed application would include fingerprinting.

“Anyone who is unable to renew his or her carry license should automatically have the expiration date extended,” he suggested. “No person who is prevented from applying for a permit should be arrested or prosecuted for exercising his or her right to bear arms for personal protection.

“Concerns about spreading this virus should not be used as an excuse by any municipality to prohibit law-abiding citizens to carry their legally-licensed firearms outside the home or place of business,” Gottlieb stated. “It especially should not be used to prohibit sales of guns and ammunition. We’re aware of at least one Illinois city, Champaign, where such a prohibition could be part of a local emergency plan, and we’re keeping an eye on that situation.

“President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency doesn’t put our Constitution on hold,” Gottlieb concluded.