Shasta County gun stores to remain open as “essential services” amid COVID-19 scare

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — Saying, “Our way of life in this rural county warrants this decision,” Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini announced today that stores that sell guns and ammunition in Shasta County fall within the “essential services” for the county and at his direction will be allowed to remain open for business.

Magrini’s decision follows yesterday’s announcement from California Governor Gavin Newsom that it is the responsibility of the Sheriff in each respective jurisdiction to determine if gun stores qualify as essential services and can remain open.


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“Many of these stores (sell) other items, such as non-gun personal defense tools, outdoor essentials, wild game meat preparation and processing supplies, and safety equipment,” explained Magrini.

“These stores can choose to stay open to continue to provide community members with necessary items,” Magrini continued. “But we ask that these stores practice social distancing and follow all guidelines issued by the CDC and local public health department.”

“Our way of life in this rural county warrants this decision,” Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini said in a social media release earlier today while announcing that gun stores within Shasta County would be allowed to remain open as “essential services” to the County’s residents. SCNS File Photo

“I feel this was a great decision for our county,” James Mason, of Redding, told SCNS after learning of the Sheriff’s decision.

“Gun stores offer so much more than just guns,” Mason explained; saying he buys everything from hunting, camping, and fishing equipment from Olde West Gun & Loan in Redding. “I applaud the Sheriff’s decision.”

Not everyone who heard about Shasta County gun stores being allowed to remain open was as supportive of the decision; including Susan Malloy, of Montgomery Creek; who told SCNS, “That’s just what we need right now! More guns thrown into the mix of how crazy this world is becoming.”

“I have no doubt we will soon see how short-sighted (the sheriff’s) decision was,” Malloy lamented.

After learning of the Sheriff’s decision, Olde West Gun & Loans General Manager Rich Howell told SCNS he applauded the decision to allow gun stores to remain open within the county.

“We do provide a certain amount of essential services, not only to Shasta County residents and law enforcement agencies, but surrounding counties and agencies as well,” Howell explained; saying, “Like other businesses being allowed to stay open, we’re exercising restraint and caution and doing everything we can to protect our employees as well as customers.”

Although the popular store is remaining open on a “limited basis” as the COVID-19 crisis continues, management has placed restrictions on how many people can be inside the store at any given time and the store has been closing early each day to conduct a thorough wipe-down and sanitation of every surface within the business, according to Howell.

To learn more about Olde West Gun & Loan visit them on Facebook. The store’s current operating hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.