The COVID-19 pandemic is slowly drawing to a close. Fortunately, few precedents were set. Most governments recognized that the right to keep and bear arms was essential. And most governments that tried to shut down firearm stores quickly relented.
Still, courts in California and New York were content to treat the Second Amendment as a “second-class right.” These decisions were abetted by Chief Justice Roberts’s South Bay framework, which treated the Free Exercise Clause as a second class right. Subsequently, the Supreme Court interred South Bay. But the lower-court precedents concerning the Second Amendment remain.
As the pandemic fades in our rear-view mirror, legislatures should become proactive. They should define the sale of firearms as essential. And states should prohibit governors from restricting sales of guns during declared emergencies.
The laws from Kentucky and Nevada should serve as models. The COVID19 pandemic has illustrated once again that in times of crisis, the government is content to stand between people and their arms. The people must be vigilant to protect this essential right.
— Josh Blackman in The “Essential” Second Amendment