Federal Judge: Cuomo Has Power to Shut Down Gun Stores

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the power to shut down gun stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, ruled a federal judge. (Photo: Cuomo/Facebook)

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.”

SEE ALSO: Walmart CEO on Blowback from Customers after Halting Ammo Sales: ‘A little bit. But not much’

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.  

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • John July 17, 2020, 5:26 pm

    The company should definitely appeal the decision all the way – perhaps the Supreme Court will get off its ass and address the Second Amendment finally !! At least we will then know where we stand.

    • Stephen C July 27, 2020, 7:17 pm

      The people need to have a process by which bad judges, especially political appointees can be reviewed and if enough people complain they can be forced to resign.

  • Vincent Brady July 15, 2020, 1:11 pm

    The judge brings shame to the court system and is justice denied!

  • Mott July 15, 2020, 7:18 am

    These people need to get their act together! A Judge elseware said that they CANNOT force closed Gun stores, Yet NY seams to be able to make up or change rules anytime it will help them, Come November I hope the people are “Woke” enough to say we’ve had enough and can these wannabe Kings…..

  • Jim West July 14, 2020, 10:55 pm

    Cuomo is nothing but a wanna gangster but in reality is nothing more than a punk ass bitch.
    How come liquor stores are deemed essential in New York? Is that because of his mobster buddies?

  • Ray July 14, 2020, 8:52 pm

    A Federal judge in Boston ruled in a very similar case with the gun store owners – saying that the alternatives like Walmart are not interchangeable and that Second Amendment rights were denied. Strange how the same level of Court could come out with decisions exactly opposite to one another. . .

  • Darrel Martin July 14, 2020, 2:14 pm

    I would like to know where New York police departments ( yes, plural ) are going to get ANY of the firearms and ammunition they would need? The last time I actually checked ( two minutes ago ) there were NO police departments listed as licenced firearms dealers. New York’s law enforcement just lost their BEST means of supply.

  • WillieB July 14, 2020, 9:29 am

    Another lesson here. This will end. Guns and ammo will become available again at reasonable prices. Don’t allow yourself to be in this position again. I stocked up when it looked like Hillary was running for president. As a result, I’m still going to the range with ammo i bought in 2016. When this ends, prepare for the next one. Good ammo stored indoors is good for 50 years. Heck, it could even be a retirement investment!

  • Brian July 11, 2020, 12:38 pm

    The time has come for the law-abiding citizens to say the hell with it and become criminals. Then they will be a protected class of people just like BLM, ANTIFA and the rest of the gangbanger’s and ghetto thugs to the GD Democrats who can do as they please!

  • jp July 10, 2020, 9:49 pm

    I unfortunately live in upstart ny and can’t stand it anymore but there’s no way I can move due to work and family..I am not giving up shit to this tyrant…I’ll fight the best I can…the city is a swamp of liberals just look at what’s going on down there…absolutely disgusting…

    • Give Me Freedom July 13, 2020, 1:05 am

      I left New York over eight years ago. Many guns I own now would make me a felon in that State. I have over twenty standard capacity magazines that hold twenty to thirty rounds when fully loaded and semi automatic rifles. These items are still legal in about 38 States but New York is not one of them.

      Thank goodness we left New York as there is no 2nd Amendment in New York anymore with all the restrictions that are on common citizens. Eastern New York people and Buffalo have voted in tyranny and ruined the whole State.

  • Frank Furillo July 10, 2020, 5:48 pm

    “U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn (a Bill Clinton appointee).” What else do we need to know about this Constitutionally bereft ruling. Federal Law supersedes local law. The Constitution supersedes Federal Law. This judge should be arrested for intentionally violating The Constitution, tried for sedition, convicted of treason and hung.

  • ray July 10, 2020, 4:18 pm

    The COMMUNIST have spoken!!!

  • JD July 10, 2020, 12:03 pm

    Now we’ll see permanent emergencies throughout various parts of the country, requiring some business not be open.

  • Robert July 10, 2020, 10:01 am

    Gun owners, Republicans, independents , need to move out of these states in mass.. let the liberals have them… it won’t take long before they become like the movie “Escape from NY”… that would also increase the percentage of gun friendly people in states like NH, Maine , Texas and others to prevent the liberals from spreading the anti constitution policy throughout all the US

    • JD July 10, 2020, 12:01 pm

      Have you considered those escaping New York are the ones who have for decades voted for the cuomos and de blazios, and now that their taxes are too high, they’re running to Tampa, Orlando, Austin and Dallas. They just bring their stupidity along with them. Texas and Florida will soon go the way of New York because these people will never figure out they were the cause of what chased them away.

      • ray July 10, 2020, 4:20 pm

        We should set up parameters around liberal cities not let anything come out alive.

      • Lawrence Greenberg July 14, 2020, 8:45 pm

        I have been saying exactly that for a long time. That is why a Communist whose clearly-stated policies would have completely destroyed the economy of the state of Florida almost managed to steal the gubernatorial election in Florida in 2018.

    • Give Me Freedom July 13, 2020, 1:10 am

      I left California and then New York and I only vote for candidates that support liberty and the Constitution. You want to bring trash Democrat tyranny with you then stay where you are. Enjoy the chains of high taxation and no freedom.

      Someone else I know left California for Texas just recently and he will only vote for the Constitution and liberty as well.

      Not all of us are drone left supporters that want “free” bread and circuses.

  • lefty July 10, 2020, 8:52 am

    SOSO: Cuomo tyrant/thug and his minions.They all need to beimpeached/disbarred/lose their pensions/be permanently deported to NYS.and NYC made a walled off foreign country

  • Jim Parker July 10, 2020, 8:07 am

    Another dangerous fool. They keep liquor stores open, pot dispensaries stay open, but kids cannot go to school. That’s a virus news story.

    Closing gun shops with a swipe of the governor’s pen—That’s a declaration of war on gun owners.

  • Steve July 10, 2020, 7:24 am

    Once again, another liberal jackass doesn’t understand the definition of “infringed.” Let me rephrase that: Another traitor to America and her Constitution is playing dictator from behind a bench and enabling another jackass to “infringe” on our rights!

    • Jake July 11, 2020, 8:50 am

      This would never happen if we get rid of QUALIFIED IMMUNITY. Judges, prosecutors and cops believe they are God’s with no limitations.
      We need more accountability for the people who have power not less(or none in this case)

  • Paul July 10, 2020, 7:11 am

    Heil Hitler….ummm….Cuomo………. Never let a tragidy go to waste!

  • Chuck July 10, 2020, 7:08 am

    Can’t buy a firearm in the store? Then buy it on the street. So screw you Cuomo.

  • skipNclair July 10, 2020, 6:57 am

    Wrong the governor has no power, the people have power, he like any and all public servants is a representative of the people. So the judge is saying that if he wanted he could stop any type of business he wished? Like no doughnut shops, no liquor stores, etc. judge is wrong another public servant with a problem.

  • Hydguy July 9, 2020, 4:19 pm

    This judge is a traitor to his oath and should tarred, feathered, end permanently removed from his position as a judge.

    • Jake July 11, 2020, 8:54 am

      But you love qualified immunity for your buddy’s the cops… and judges save the cops from being held responsible for the actions against the constitution so judges should have it to so they can never be held accountable.
      Yay oppression.

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