Washington D.C. – A trucking group sent an emergency request to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday urging leaders to take immediate action to help interstate truckers better protect themselves.
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) says urgent action is needed to ease restrictive state and local gun laws amid the unprecedented statewide orders arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down and all non-essential travel to be restricted under threat of civil penalties.
The “stay at home” order came only hours before New York governor Andrew Cuomo, on Friday, issued a similar order to residents and businesses in New York State.
“These provisions will be enforced,” Gov. Cuomo said during a news conference when making the announcement. “These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That’s where we are.”
Also on Friday, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Connecticut governor Ned Lamont joined the others in issuing similar orders.
Truckers are deemed “essential,” so deliveries will continue, but what about the safety of these drivers now operating in a much different and unknown environment?
Citing the statewide “stay at home” orders, the SBTC contends the safety of truckers is now being further jeopardized as the “crisis worsens.”
In an emergency email sent to DOT secretary Elaine Chao, James Lamb, president of the SBTC, argues:
With four states now having issued stay at home orders causing metropolitan areas to now be desolate, and with cities like New York and Los Angeles releasing criminals from jails, now more than ever are there significant life threatening dangers to the men and women who drive trucks as America’s supply chain first responders.
The 15,000-member SBTC is calling on federal authorities to preempt state and local laws regarding the right to carry a firearm.
Therefore, in accordance with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, we hereby request the U.S. Department of Transportation please issue a preemption order nullifying any and all state and local laws that restrict truck drivers from carrying firearms across state lines throughout America in order to enable them to protect themselves and their cargo as they engage in interstate commerce.
As this is now a matter of life and death, please issue same forthwith.
“The SBTC through its TRUCKER LIVES MATTER campaign has sought the unfettered ability of drivers to carry firearms for self protection nationwide since its inception in 2014,” Lamb tells Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “We have pointed to Department of Labor statistics that show the unusually high rates of murders on the road for workers in interstate transportation.”