From the Firearms Policy Coalition:
Today, attorneys for Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF), California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL), National Rifle Association of America (NRA), and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a new federal lawsuit challenging bans on the operation of gun store and shooting ranges imposed by a number of Bay Area governments and government officials. A copy of the lawsuit can be found at FPCLegal.org.
“California’s local governments cannot simply suspend the Constitution,” opens the lawsuit. “Authorities may not, by decree or otherwise, enact and/or enforce a suspension or deprivation of constitutional liberties. And they certainly may not use a public health crisis as political cover to impose bans and restrictions on rights they do not like. . . . The need for self-defense during uncertain times is precisely when Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ members must be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”
The complaint targets emergency orders issued in relation to the coronavirus pandemic that shutters firearm and ammunition retailers and ranges, considering them “non-essential businesses.” SAF, FPC, CGF, and NRA have already filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles area governments and officials enforcing similar bans and orders. And even anti-gun New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently reversed his prior position following a similar lawsuit brought by attorneys for SAF and FPC.
“Local governments in California, or anywhere else for that matter, cannot simply suspend the Constitution, even using a public health crisis as an excuse,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “In this case, they are using the COVID-19 crisis as political cover to put restrictions on a constitutional right they don’t like, and we’re taking action to stop them.”
“In this challenging time, it is critical that common sense and the law prevail,” commented CGF Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “We’re demanding that our local officials set aside their policy preferences and unequivocally follow the Constitution. It is exactly in these sorts of social emergencies where law enforcement response can be severely impacted and individuals need access to the tools and training required to safely defend their homes.”
“Local governments aren’t promoting safety or ‘common sense’ by targeting gun stores for closure; the closures only serve to disarm law-abiding families while criminals roam free,” states NRA-ILA Executive Director, Jason Ouimet. “Because these closures violate our Second Amendment rights when we need them most, the National Rifle Association continues to fight such infringements in court alongside fellow Second Amendment groups.”
“These governments’ contempt for individuals’ enumerated constitutional rights reinforces the need for the courts to step in and prevent government officials from overstepping constitutional bounds,” proclaimed Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy and co-counsel on the lawsuit. “We will continue to work with our friends to bring litigation against governments that refuse to recognize the People’s inalienable right to keep and bear arms, particularly in times where it is most needed.”
“The Bay Area is not exempt from the Bill of Rights, and these outrageous and irrational restrictions on gun stores and ranges is a policy preference that the Constitution takes off the table,” explained FPC President Brandon Combs. “FPC and our partners look forward to reminding these governments and officials that the People’s Constitution is bigger than their personal opinions.”
Individual firearm or ammunition purchasers, retailers, and ranges affected by ‘stay-home’ or shutdown orders are encouraged to report their concerns and potential civil rights violations to FPC’s COVID-19 Issue Hotline at www.FPChotline.org.