California's pandemic gun store closures get new 9th Circuit review

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Of the many sins the government committed in response to COVID-19, one of the most egregious was the closure of gun stores throughout the nation, but particularly in states like California.

Previously, the 9th Circuit ruled that the closure was unconstitutional since due to other laws in the state, it effectively barred people from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Now, it seems that court is going to take a new look at the case.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday said it would reconsider a decision by a panel of three Republican-appointed judges holding that a California county’s mandates forcing gun shops to close to combat the COVID-19 pandemic were unconstitutional.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to rehear the case was predicted by the author of the court’s January ruling, who in an unusual move had penned an “alternative” opinion to prove his criticisms of the court’s approach to the 2nd Amendment.

U.S. Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, at the time wrote that orders Ventura County adopted at the pandemic’s onset in March 2020 barred people from realizing their right to keep and bear arms.

He reached that decision in a lawsuit by would-be gun owners and gun-rights advocacy groups including the Second Amendment Foundation which said the county’s rules violated the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.

VanDyke, a frequent critic of 9th Circuit’s precedents, in a concurring opinion to his own ruling acknowledged that most judges in the liberal-leaning circuit would disagree with his decision and predicted the court would take the case en banc.

VanDyke also illustrated how ridiculously easy it is to make any case you want one way or another.

However, the panel ruled correctly and I honestly don’t see how any jurist could rule that no one’s Second Amendment rights were violated by closing gun stores–the very place you have to visit to lawfully buy a gun in California.

If you close them all, how does anyone get to exercise their Second Amendment right?

That’s another drawback of universal background checks, one few of us actually foresaw in quite the way things materialized.

The truth is that much of the Ninth Circuit really doesn’t value the Second Amendment. They don’t see an issue with closing gun stores during a pandemic and negating the right to keep and bear arms for a time because they’re really rather that right be negated for all time.

We’ve long called it the Ninth Circus for a reason, folks. The court has had fifty opportunities to overturn a gun control law since the Heller decision was handed down in 2008, and fifty times the Ninth has declared those gun control laws are just fine and dandy.

However, the good news is that there’s a higher court and they seem to be open for Second Amendment cases. I’m quite sure that SCOTUS would be more than happy to show most of the Ninth Circuit how important gun stores are in the state of California and shouldn’t be closed.

Of course, California brought this lawsuit on themselves. Had they not passed universal background checks, none of this would have happened. They likely could have made the argument that gun store closures didn’t stop people from conducting face-to-face transfers, thus it wasn’t really a restriction on gun rights.

But they can’t. They wanted universal background checks–the very things that have clearly worked so well in Los Angeles–so now they lost that potential defense.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer state.