Gun Rights Group Looking For Plaintiff To Challenge Gun Store Ordinance

Gun rights groups are often credited with challenging various gun control laws at pretty much every level of government, but many times they’re merely funding a lawsuit that is technically filed by an individual or individuals. After all, one of the criteria for a lawsuit is that the plaintiff has to have standing. In other words, they have to show that the law they’re suing over has a negative impact on them.

For example, if you want to sue over a California gun control law, you have to show that you’re impacted by it. You have to live there, for one thing, unless you travel there and are challenging their refusal to reciprocate permits from other states or something.

I think you can kind of see the issue.

So, a gun-rights group in Wisconsin is looking for a plaintiff to challenge a local ordinance.

A nonprofit gun rights group still plans to sue the city of Baraboo for an ordinance requiring surveillance cameras at gun stores, but first it needs to find a retailer that has a problem with the law.

Wisconsin Carry Inc. President Nik Clark said the group believes the ordinance violates a state statute that does not allow any type of regulation on gun sales put in place by local governments.

“The problem is you have to have standing,” Clark said Tuesday. “You can’t just sue because you want to sue.”

That standing would be provided through support by a gun seller in the city. However, neither of the two facilities that currently sell firearms have been willing to join the lawsuit as plaintiffs, something Clark said the group’s lawyers would want to pursue legal action.

I get the desire. I really do. However, I think they’d lose this one.

You see, the reason is that the ordinance could easily be argued to not be an attempt at gun control. After all, it doesn’t regulate who can buy or sell a gun, how weapons can be used or stored, none of the things we normally consider to fall within the realm of gun control.

In reality, this is more akin to local laws that require convenience stores to have surveillance cameras or the same with liquor stores. Such a law wouldn’t be argued to attempt to control beer sales or whiskey sales, so I doubt a court would find that such a measure falls into the realm of gun control.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like ordinances like this in the least. They drive up the cost of doing business and make it more difficult for new startups to enter the market. Further, they’re coercive dictates from the government on how a company should spend their resources which may impact future growth.

The issue, though, is that I just don’t see a court determining this is a gun control attempt.

Wisconsin Carry is free to try, should they find a plaintiff, but they might also be better off digging in for far more pressing gun control fights down the road.

Dec 02, 2021 7:30 PM ET