Portland, Maine has failed to learn some important lessons from other jurisdictions that have tried to close gun stores during the COVID-19 outbreak. Last week the city council passed a revised State of Emergency Order.
3. The business, production and service sectors identified in Exhibit A are hereby designated as “COVID-19 Essential Services.” All of Exhibit A shall be applicable within the City of Portland, except that the following more restrictive requirements shall be applicable to the essential businesses and services identified below:
C. Gun shops shall not be considered an essential business or service within the City of Portland; and
Lest you think a gun store might continue to provide online services…
All businesses with a facility in the City of Portland that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services, shall close their physical workspaces and facilities (“brick-and-mortar premises”) to workers, customers, and the public as of the effective date and time of this proclamation
Maine, however, has a state preemption statute.
Title 25: INTERNAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Part 5: PUBLIC SAFETY
Chapter 252-A: FIREARMS REGULATION
§2011. State preemption
2. Regulation restricted. Except as provided in subsection 3, no political subdivision of the State, including, but not limited to, municipalities, counties, townships and village corporations, may adopt any order, ordinance, rule or regulation concerning the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration, taxation or any other matter pertaining to firearms, components, ammunition or supplies.
3. Exception. This section does not prohibit an order, ordinance, rule or regulation of any political subdivision which, with the exception of appropriate civil penalty provisions, conforms exactly with any applicable provision of state law or which regulates the discharge of firearms within a jurisdiction.
One hopes that the Portland Mayor and city council will take note of this provision in particular.
B. An individual aggrieved by a violation of this subsection may seek relief in an action at law or in equity for redress against any person who subjects that individual, or causes that individual to be subjected, to an action prohibited by this subsection.
The city council and mayor have put Portland taxpayers (and themselves) on the hook for lawsuit payouts over their blatantly unlawful action. All it takes now is a citizen to file suit and press the matter in court.