Massachusetts gun stores will be reopening this weekend following a judge’s decision to block the governor’s order which closed them during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Plaintiffs in the case, known as McCarthy v. Baker, argued that Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency order shuttering FFLs statewide eliminated “all lawful channels of access to constitutionally protected arms and ammunition by mandating the closure of all businesses that sell firearms and ammunition to the consumer public. These actions amount to a ban on obtaining modern arms for personal defense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Those plaintiffs included the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition, and Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc.
“We are delighted at the decision by U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock and the swiftness with which it was reached,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
“Constitutional rights are never put on hold because of an emergency, including the outbreak of a virus. Too many elected officials think otherwise, and we’re having to deal with them one lawsuit a time, same as we’re taking on Governor Baker,” Gottlieb continued.
Judge Woodlock in his decision said “There was no justification here” for forcing the gun shops to close. He further noted that store owners can get back to business starting at noon this Saturday, May 9.
“When Governor Baker lumped gun shops in with thousands of other businesses deemed ‘non-essential,’ he obviously didn’t consider the exercise of a fundamental right to be essential,” Gottlieb observed. “We can think of nothing that is more essential than exercising a right protected by the Constitution, especially during a declared state of emergency.
“Gun shops in other states have remained open,” Gottlieb added, “and those stores have come up with creative strategies to serve the public without endangering anyone. We’re confident Massachusetts retailers will be equally ingenious in their compliance with social distancing and sanitation requirements. We will continue pressing these cases wherever they’ve shown up because we’re not just talking about business here, we’re talking about rights.”
As GunsAmerica previously reported there were only four remaining states that had continued to close FFLs under emergency orders: New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington.
With Massachusetts now set to reopen its stores, only three remain. No doubt SAF is hard at work to ensure these holdouts fall in line. As mentioned, we’re not talking about just a business here but a fundamental, Constitutionally-protected right.