Ninth Circuit rules LA pandemic shut down of gun stores unconstitutional in big 2nd Amendment win

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(Video Credit: CBS Los Angeles)

Second Amendment advocates and business owners are cheering over the 9th Circuit Court ruling that Los Angeles County and Ventura County’s closing down of gun stores during the pandemic is unconstitutional, paving the way for lawsuits.

The California counties violated the Second Amendment by mandating the shut down of gun ammunition stores in March of 2020, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Those stores were deemed to be nonessential by progressive leaders at the time, according to Fox 11.

“The court today rightfully recognized that Los Angeles County violated Second Amendment rights when it shut down gun stores and ranges in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Michael Jean, NRA’s director of the Office of Litigation Counsel, remarked in a statement. “This is an important decision. It ensures that California — or any state — cannot use a crisis to trample on the Constitutional rights of citizens.”

The National Rifle Association’s Office of Litigation Counsel also sued Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties over their restrictions in Northern California, but the last three were dismissed from the lawsuit when they repealed their orders.

The president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, John Lott, asserted that the ruling shows that those counties didn’t even attempt to justify why they shut down the gun stores, which violated the right of citizens to self-defense, according to Fox Business.

“The orders by Los Angeles and Ventura counties closed down gun stores and shooting ranges even while they allowed businesses like bike shops to remain open,” Lott asserted. “Despite rising crime, the counties made it impossible for people to exercise their right to self-defense, to get a gun, or even try to get a concealed handgun permit for protection or even buy ammunition. The judges’ unanimous decision complained that the counties didn’t even try to justify what businesses they decided to close.”

Judge Lawrence Van Dyke, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, wrote in the ruling that the Second Amendment “means nothing if the government can prohibit all persons from acquiring any firearm or ammunition… These blanket prohibitions on access and practice clearly burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment and fail under both strict and intermediate scrutiny.”

“Appellees omit any evidence or argumentation suggesting that the closure of gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges stems the spread of COVID any more than the closure of bike shops, hardware stores, and golfing ranges,” VanDyke noted. He asserted that the counties’ “carte-blanche rationale,” which “has nothing to do with the actual fundamental right at issue,” is “riddled with exemptions and inconsistencies.”

The judge argued that it “ultimately boils down to the government’s designation of ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ businesses—but nowhere has the government here explained why gun stores, ammunition stores, and firing ranges are ‘non-essential’ businesses while bicycle shops, hardware stores, and golfing ranges are ‘essential.'”

If the county were right that its distinctions are not subject to judicial review, he stated that it “could order the closure of Mexican restaurants but make an exception for French restaurants, because the arbitrariness of that distinction would not matter any more than the distinction between bicycling and shooting at outdoor gun ranges.”

Since guns are only obtainable by a buyer going to a gun store in California, Ventura County’s 48-day closure of gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges “wholly prevented law-abiding citizens in the County from realizing their right to keep and bear arms,” he added.

The closure in Los Angeles County was for 11 days and the same reasoning applied there, according to the court.

Gun owners were thrilled with the ruling and were strongly in agreement that the shutdowns were unconstitutional:


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