Federal Judge OKs California Gun Store Shutdowns

One of the more common battles being fought on behalf of the Second Amendment involves protecting gun stores from closure. While many states, even anti-gun states, have opted to allow them to remain open, not all of them have. One prominent example is California.

Perhaps the most anti-gun state in the nation, California thought nothing of closing gun stores left and right. While some sheriffs are allowing them to remain open, others aren’t.

As a result, a lawsuit was filed to try and overturn the decision. It did not go well.

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request to force Ventura County, Calif., to reopen gun stores forced to close in response to the coronavirus.

Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, a Jimmy Carter appointee, of the District Court for the Central District of California, said she would not grant a temporary restraining order against the county’s shutdown order. Her decision is one of the first in the legal battle over pandemic-related closures of gun businesses. It may indicate the court fights could drag on for weeks and produce mixed results even as Americans buy guns for self-protection at a record pace.

“While the public interest is served by protecting Second Amendment rights, the public interest is also served by protecting the public health by limiting the spread of a virulent disease,” Marshall said in a ruling.

Marshall’s ruling is one of at least three legal opinions that have come out in the wake of the outbreak, though state and federal courts have disagreed about the extent to which the Second Amendment protects against emergency closures. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed Gov. Tom Wolf (D.) to include stores in his shutdown—though the governor later reversed course. Meanwhile, a North Carolina court ordered Wake County sheriff Gerald Baker (D.) to abide by an agreement that reopens the pistol-purchase permitting process in the county.

The problem here, though, is that Marshall’s ruling effectively suspends the Second Amendment for many in California.

Oh, those who have guns will still be able to keep them. Marshall’s ruling doesn’t go that far. However, for those who don’t have guns and feel they might need one now, it’s too late for that.

You see, in California, you can’t buy a gun without a gun store, pretty much. You need an FFL holder to conduct a background check on any transfer, and those are generally found in gun stores. So to legally purchase a gun, you need a licensed gun dealer.

Since all the gun stores in places like Ventura County are closed, for all intents and purposes, the Second Amendment has been suspended.

It should be noted that other locales have found a way to try and balance the public health concerns with Second Amendment concerns. Some allow gun stores to be open by appointment only. Others require limits on how many are allowed in the store at one time. Hell, some don’t require anything because, to my knowledge, the disease has yet to be transmitted via a contact in a gun store.

You’re much more likely to spread it through grocery stores, but no one is closing those down, now are they? Of course not. Instead, they mitigate the risk as best they can.

Why isn’t that part of the discussion in California?

Of course, we all know why. It’s California. COVID-19 isn’t the reason. It’s just an excuse.