9th Circuit Says Covid Shutdown of California Gun Store Unconstitutional

Photo from KPEL.

The 9th Circuit reversed a lower court ruling and said that the closure of gun stores in Ventura County was unconstitutional.

During the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many states locked down businesses. Many states, even red states, determined which companies were “essential” and which ones were “non-essential.”

In states like California and other blue states, some gun stores were closed down, not giving Americans who may have needed a gun for protection a chance to purchase a firearm and exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

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Two of the judges on the three-judge panel, Lawrence Vandyke and Andrew Kleinfeld, opined in the ruling,

Ultimately, the issue boils down to the County’s designation of “essential” versus “non-essential” businesses and activities. While courts should afford some measure of deference to local policy determinations, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 636. When a government completely bans all acquisition of firearms and ammunition by closing gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges, it’s one of those off-limits policy choices squarely contemplated by HellerSee id. at 630. The Orders cannot satisfy strict scrutiny.”

The judges clearly understood the monumental impact of closing gun stores, ranges, and ammo shops. So they did the right thing by striking down the prior ruling of a lower court.

Hopefully, your state has what we have in Idaho, which is a prohibition on the governor from being able to close down our gun stores.

If your state does not have such a law, we recommend getting one in place immediately. Unfortunately, the gun control advocates and tyrants who are drunk with power in both political parties seem destined to keep this thing going for years to come.

The only potential downside is that this was a three-judge panel which a larger 9th Circuit panel can overturn in the future. When a full panel comes into play, the results are typically different.

Here’s hoping that the 9th Circuit can be broken up or have much more constitutionally-minded judges put on it in the long term.