Federal Judge Denies NRA Suit Against Los Angeles County for Gun Sales Closure

The NRA and other activists sued the County of Los Angeles and the Governor of California for closing gun shops.

The NRA and a group of other activists recently sued the leadership of the city and county of Los Angeles. At issue is the government’s declaration that firearms dealers are “non-essential” and must be closed. The suit was filed on Friday, March 27.

The plaintiffs hold that closing gun shops is unconstitutional because it infringes on citizens’ 2nd and 14th amendment rights.

“The circumstances posed by the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak are noteworthy,” they wrote in their suit, “but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom. In fact, the importance of maintaining the ongoing activities of essential businesses for the safety, health, and welfare of Californians makes Plaintiffs’ point: The need for enhanced safety during uncertain times is precisely when Plaintiffs and their members must be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”

They go on to say that the orders for closure enacted by the governor, the department of health, and the sheriff are “unconstitutionally vague, arbitrary and capricious and violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Plaintiffs and similarly situated Californians.” They call these orders “fiats,” as a dictator would issue and are seeking a preliminary injunction.

On March 28th, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum identifying “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” This document describes all the industries that should remain open as well as identifies employees who should continue attending to their jobs during quarantine conditions. They emphasize that this list is advisory.

Under the section for “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders” it addresses those who support the firearm industry.

Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.


Although this was an advisory document, not a federal order, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva allowed gun shops to reopen on March 30. Does that make the lawsuit moot?

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte doesn’t think so. On April 6th he denied the NRA’s suit for a temporary restraining order.

“The closure of nonessential businesses, including firearms and ammunition retailers, reasonably fits the city’s and county’s stated objectives of reducing the spread of this disease,” the judge said in his decision.

Kris Brown, president of the anti-gun group Brady, applauded the Judge’s decision.

“The court has upheld that, in response to public health and safety emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic, state and local governments may take emergency actions to protect citizens, including restricting certain rights and activities,” she said.

Brown continued, “The Second Amendment is not absolute, and it does not entitle people to spread coronavirus while shopping for guns.”

Meanwhile, the NRA has indicated that it will continue to appeal the ruling all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Gun stores may be back open in L.A. but the precedent of declaring gun stores “non-essential” is a dangerous one and must be blocked.

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Steve Corry May 17, 2020, 1:28 pm

    Nill, I liked your point, as sad as it is. More babies will be killed, not by legal gun carriers but by would be moms. What is essential? Is it a baby’s life or a place that will equip citizens to protect themselves in a pandemic that will bring out more of the lawless. This is not an either or question but rather a both and question. I joined the NRA about 3 months ago so that I could have a voice, and this was my first attempt
    and a lot of people are not going to like it. Not my purpose but so be it.

  • Chained April 11, 2020, 6:49 am

    What would they do if all gun owners, gun shops and parts and ammo mfr’s just ignored this fascist judge, guvnas and mayors. TIME TO RESIST AND DEFY.

  • Chester Burak April 10, 2020, 1:39 pm

    And Good Old Massachusetts followed suit.

  • Aleric April 10, 2020, 1:19 pm

    Another 2nd gen Mexican doing his best to push America into just another NARCO state.

  • alan Leonard April 10, 2020, 1:01 pm

    I am taking money & biss. OUT of the state of

  • Nill April 10, 2020, 10:38 am

    Taking human life through abortion is essential, but saving lives in self defense is not in California.

  • Winston April 10, 2020, 8:16 am

    Peaceful separation of this country into self-governing regions is the answer for such fundamental ideological differences, but it will not be allowed.

    • Jack April 12, 2020, 11:50 am

      You are an idiot. Separated self-governing regions? Each with their own interpretation of the US Constitution? That is not a “United” United States under the same rules of law. It certainly is not sustainable. Why don’t you move to another country so I don’t have to be insulted by the existence of your ignorance. Preservation of the United States and its Constitution! Get your head out of the sand.

  • Christopher Chason April 10, 2020, 6:23 am

    OF COURSE! What did they expect? Packs of Blood-Sucking Vampires in black robes have been killing this Republic, slowly bleeding it dry, for a LONG TIME! Did they think they had a “Constitution” on they’re side??? HA! That was killed by the Vampires long ago! We The Sheeple just have not been officially TOLD that it is dead! But I suspect that announcement is coming soon!
    “Sooooo Sorry that things have collapsed and you can’t feed your’ family! Just sign right here and give-up this idea of “Rights”, and we will take good care of you!”
    Wondering WHY the 2A was so important too our Founding Fathers? I suspect we are ALL soon to get a LESSON!

  • BUURGA April 10, 2020, 2:58 am

    Another Obama appointee doing their usual thing.

  • SuperG April 9, 2020, 10:23 am

    Let’s not forget that while that Sheriff was closing gun stores, he was releasing over 1700 inmates early. He is a traitor to his agency.

  • Will Drider April 8, 2020, 12:58 pm

    Just as I warned when News of this civil suit was filed: the potential damage from an unfavorable Court decision deciding firearms industry (all) and access to buy firearms/ammo (2A) is not essential has occurred. Gun grabbing orgs and politicians now have a legal precedent to anchor their propaganda.

    Even if the NRA/plaintiffs win on Appeal, anti-gun idiots will continue to use it stating other Courts got it wrong. Gun grabbers got a freebie this time.

    • Mark N. April 10, 2020, 12:34 am

      This is a denial of a temporary restraining order, not a final order or judgment. The case continues, but without any restraining order preventing the City or the County from closing gun stores. It has no precedential value except in the Central District of California. Why the NRA would appeal is beyond me; such motions are discretionary determinations that are very rarely overturned on appeal, where the standard is not whether the judge was right or wrong, but whether he abused his (considerable)judicail discretion in denying the motion.

    • BUURGA April 10, 2020, 3:00 am

      And the pro-defense people would have their own anchor with a reversal.

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