Just how bad is the decision by U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte to allow Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to shut down gun stores in his jurisdiction if he chooses? The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co to discuss the specifics of Birotte’s order denying a temporary injunction against the sheriff sought by Second Amendment organizations including the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation. and she’s unimpressed with the logic, or lack thereof, in the judge’s order.
Birotte claims that the closure of gun stores for an unspecified period of time doesn’t rise to the same level as Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller case, but he never even attempts to explain why he believes that to be the case.
Assuming without deciding that the County and City Orders burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment by “affecting the ability of law-abiding citizens to possess [a handgun], intermediate scrutiny is warranted because the County and City Orders are “simply not as sweeping as the complete handgun ban at issue in [District of Columbia v. Heller].
That’s it. That’s the judge’s entire reasoning.
As Swearer notes, there’s a strong case to be made that the order shutting down gun stores under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff is even more sweeping than D.C.’s handgun ban. After all, we’re not just talking about a locality banning an entire class of firearms (handguns), but a locality banning the acquisition of every class of firearm, and ammunition as well. The sheriff’s original order to close gun stores came with no expiration date, though we’ve been assured that it’s only a temporary measure, but those assurances mean absolutely nothing to residents of Los Angeles County who want a firearm for self-defense now, or at least after the mandated 10-day waiting period has passed.
As for the standard of review used by Judge Birotte to reach his decision, Swearer says the reliance on “intermediate scrutiny” allowed the judge to rule that Sheriff Villanueva can order gun stores closed if he wishes, despite the fact that millions of residents have now been told they cannot exercise their rights unless they already purchased their guns. Swearer points out that other lower courts have also used intermediate scrutiny to uphold all kinds of gun control laws, though several U.S. Supreme Court justices like Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have expressed concern that those lower courts are simply misreading the Heller decision in order to keep gun control laws in place.
Swearer is hopeful that the 9th Circuit may reverse Birotte’s decision, but there’s a good chance the emergency order will expire before that happens. It could be weeks or months before a three judge panel issues any sort of decision once the case is appealed, and in the meantime, Sheriff Villanueva is free to once again order gun stores to close if he desires.
Also on today’s show we have the story of a man arrested, charged, and then quickly released on armed robbery charges in New Mexico (where gun stores have also been ordered closed), an armed citizen in St. Charles, Missouri, and some officers in Ames, Iowa who are getting creative in order to connect with kids in the community while the students are stuck at home.
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