Just a day after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva backed off his decision to shutter gun stores in his jurisdiction, a coalition of Second Amendment organizations, including the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition have filed a major lawsuit against several other California cities and counties over similar orders forcing gun stores to shut down for an undefined period of time during the current coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, names Alameda County and County Health Officer Erica Pan; Contra Costa County and County Health Officer Chris Farnitano; Santa Clara County, District attorney Jeffrey Rosen and County Health officer Sara Cody; and San Mateo County and County Health Officer Scott Morrow; plus the City of Pacifica and Police Chief Dan Steidle, the City of San Jose and Mayor Sam Liccardo; the City of Mountain View and Police Chief Max Bosel; and the City of Pleasant Hill and its Police Chief Bryan Hill as defendants in the case, and alleges that these officials are trampling on the Second Amendment rights of residents by denying them the ability to legally acquire firearms and ammunition during the state’s state of emergency.
The complaint targets emergency orders issued in relation to the coronavirus pandemic that prevent citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights by closing retail gun stores as “non-essential businesses.” Because California law requires background checks done by licensed dealers for every firearm transfer in the state, it is impossible for Californians to buy, sell or even loan firearms because no background checks are available in these jurisdictions.
“Local governments in California, or anywhere else for that matter, cannot simply suspend the Constitution, even using a public health crisis as an excuse,” Gottlieb stated. “In this case, they are using the COVID-19 crisis as political cover to put restrictions on a constitutional right they don’t like, and we’re taking action to stop them.
The National Rifle Association’s Jason Ouimet says that the only people impacted by the decision to shut down gun stores are law-abiding residents in these cities and counties.
“Local governments aren’t promoting safety or “common sense” by targeting gun stores for closure; the closures only serve to disarm law-abiding families while criminals roam free,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet. “Because these closures violate our Second Amendment rights when we need them most, the National Rifle Association continues to fight such infringements in court alongside fellow Second Amendment groups.”
It’s great to see all of these Second Amendment organizations working together to restore the right to keep and bear arms in California, and I hope that this lawsuit will lead these California cities and counties to rescind their unconstitutional orders. Defending our rights comes with a financial cost, however, and I know that while times are tough for a lot of Americans right now, any support you can give any of these organizations will be greatly appreciated and will allow for additional litigation around the country in support of our Second Amendment rights during this current emergency.