In a blow to New York FFLs, a federal judge has declared that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has the power to shut down gun stores.
Dark Storm Industries (DSI), a Long Island-based firearms dealer, sued the state back in March when Gov. Cuomo shuttered gun stores by classifying them as nonessential businesses during the early goings of the coronavirus pandemic.
DSI Co-owner Edward Newman argued in a March press release that the closure order was a “massive blow to the civil rights of New Yorkers.”
Furthermore, Newman said, “The actions of New York State, which amount to effectively, a complete prohibition on the purchase of guns and ammo by the general public are beyond chilling to our Constitutional rights, they are a venerable ice age and cannot be tolerated.”
U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn (a Bill Clinton appointee) this week dismissed DSI’s lawsuit, in part, because while FFLs were closed, retail giant Walmart was allowed to remain open.
Judge Kahn wrote, “the evidence in the record indicates that, even during the height of the lockdown, New Yorkers continued to enjoy access to numerous retailers where they could purchase firearms.”
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Additionally, Kahn stated in the ruling that Gov. Cuomo “made a policy decision about which businesses qualified as ‘essential’ and which did not. In the face of a global pandemic, the court is loath to second-guess those policy decisions. Having found that the burden on plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights is insubstantial, the court has no need to apply any form of heightened scrutiny to the executive orders.”
It should be noted that not every Walmart location sells firearms and even the ones that do have limited options because, as GunsAmerica reported last November, the CEO announced that the corporation would no longer sell handguns, handgun ammo, and .223/5.56 ammo.
What this meant is that during the peak of the crisis the most popular options for self-defense outside the home, i.e. handguns, as well as ammo for America’s most popular rifle — the AR-15 — were unavailable to the law-abiding public.
Judge Kahn also noted that his decisions paves the way for another unimpeded shut down of gun stores in the future should COVID-19 cases spike again.
GunsAmerica reached out to DSI for comment and Mr. Newman sent us the following press release:
Meanwhile, Cuomo senior advisor Rich Azzopardi seemed to brush off the suit when commenting to local media.
“We’ve lost track of the frivolous lawsuits filed against us during this pandemic,” said Azzopardi.