A New York gun store and several of their customers are suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his refusal to designate firearm retailers as essential businesses.

Dark Storm Industries argues in its lawsuit that Cuomo’s decision is infringing on the rights of New Yorkers to acquire firearms for self defense.

The provision of rifles, shotguns, ammunition, and other equipment for the defense of homes is a service needed to“maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences,” especially at this critical juncture in history, when unprecedented economic inequalities are likely to develop that will substantially, inevitably and foreseeably increase the rate of crimes as burglaries and robberies committed in homes.

But for the Executive Orders complained of herein and their interpretation as hereinbefore described, Plaintiff DSI would continue to do business following appropriate medical and public health recommendations (e.g., cleaning, social distancing) and would thereby be able to meet the demands (which have increased during the pandemic crisis) of citizens legitimately wishing to purchase long guns, other weapons, and ammunition for home defense.

The federal lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction declaring Cuomo’s emergency order unconstitutional as it applies to firearms retailers, and allow gun stores across the state to re-open for business.

Late Wednesday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released its adjusted NICS figures for March, and reported that across the country, more than 2.5-million firearms were sold last month. That number would have been even higher if stores like Dark Storm Industries were open for business, because New Yorkers are no different from the rest of the country in terms of wanting a firearm for personal protection during these uncertain times. What makes them different is that they’ve been denied the ability to purchase a firearm or ammunition, along with residents of a handful of states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico that closed gun stores. Most states have since lifted those restrictions, but they remain in place in New York.

As we pointed out here recently, the state of New York is not only releasing inmates from jail to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The state’s bail reform laws are ensuring that even some suspects accused of violent crimes are quickly being released after their arrests as well. It’s unconscionable that Gov. Cuomo and state officials are putting criminals back on the streets while depriving law-abiding citizens of their right to acquire a firearm for self-defense.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first lawsuit filed in New York that challenges Cuomo’s executive order. Hopefully Dark Storm Industries will find some relief in the federal court system. Otherwise, by the time Cuomo’s order expires, it and other firearm retailers around the state might not be in a financial position to re-open at all.