May 24, 2022

Court rules gun store shutdown during COVID was unconstitutional

The Ninth Circuit federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that the forced shutdown of gun stores in Ventura County, California, during the pandemic was a violation of constitutional rights.

Judges Lawrence Vandyke and Andrew Kleinfeld on the three-judge panel reversed the lower court’s decision in the new ruling.

“When a government completely bans all acquisition of firearms and ammunition by closing gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges, it’s one of those off-limits policy choices squarely contemplated by Heller. See id. at 630. The Orders cannot satisfy strict scrutiny, the two judges said in the ruling.

The ruling overturned a rejection at the lower court level last year.

A similar case in 2020 led to New Jersey’s governor reversing his gun store shutdown after former President Donald Trump labeled them as essential businesses.

The case makes no new precedent, but upholds the right of gun stores to be open during a pandemic. The gun store owners hope to not face a similar situation again, but now have the court on their side if so.

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