On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re highlighting a couple of stories about the growing discontent with stay-at-home orders and how they’re impacting the Second Amendment rights of Americans. We begin with a West Coast story, where Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney says he has no plans to enforce the state’s stay-at-home order against county residents, arguing that the order by Washington governor Jay Inslee is violating the constitutional rights of Washingtonians.
In a lengthy post on Facebook on Wednesday, Fortney acknowledged the severity of the coronavirus, which has killed 97 people in his county. Still, the sheriff said that residents “have already shown and continue to show they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe and healthy.”
Fortney wondered why landscapers are still working outside the Snohomish County Courthouse, while home builders have been ordered to stay at home instead of remaining on the job, and why gun stores were ordered closed when marijuana outlets have been declared “essential businesses.”
As I have previously stated, I have not carried out any enforcement for the current a stay-at-home order. As this order has continued on for well over a month now and a majority of our residents cannot return to work to provide for their families, I have received a lot of outreach from concerned members of our community asking if Governor Inslee’s order is a violation of our constitutional rights.
As your Snohomish County Sheriff, yes I believe that preventing business owners to operate their businesses and provide for their families intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am greatly concerned for our small business owners and single-income families who have lost their primary source of income needed for survival.
As your elected Sheriff I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion. We have the right to peaceably assemble. We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to attend church service of any denomination. The impacts of COVID 19 no longer warrant the suspension of our constitutional rights.
In Massachusetts, meanwhile, gun store owner John Costa is defying a cease-and-desist order from his local government declaring that he must shut down his shop. Despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s order that declares gun stores to be non-essential businesses and warnings from Attorney General Maura Healey promising sanctions against those shops that don’t follow the governor’s order, Costa’s Gunnrunner store in Middleborough remains open.
The order has already drawn legal challenges from a group of marijuana businesses and consumers, unsuccessfully challenging the decision to close recreational marijuana shops, and from a coalition of gun shops, advocacy groups, and would-be gun owners who sued in federal court in a bid to allow shuttered firearm dealers to open.
But that attempt to keep sales flowing for some has also become an ideological fight elsewhere, with The Gunrunner serving as a local symbol of conservatives’ protest of the restrictions.
On Tuesday, it drew Dianna Ploss, a Republican activist and talk radio host, to Costa’s store for the makeshift rally, where Costa, Ploss, and others gathered in a small group, none of them wearing masks while they sometimes draped their arms over each other.
“We’re not social-distanced. Are you worried?” Ploss asked Costa at one point.
“I’m not worried at all,” he said.
It’s Costa’s right not to be worried, but if I were a prospective customer, I’d feel better knowing that the store’s owner and employees were taking both my rights and my health seriously.
Also on today’s show we have the stories of a Bronx teen arrested for the brutal assault of a 52-year old man at a McDonalds who was just released from jail over coronavirus concerns, the Chicago woman who defended herself against a home invader, and a good Samaritan able to lend a helping hand to police officers and take a wanted man into custody.