A Massachusetts Federal Judge issued a temporary injuction against enforcement of Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order that stopped Massaschusetts residents from purchasing a firearm. Gov Baker’s order relegated gun stores to the “non-essential” category.
U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock said there was “no justification” for keeping gun stores closed and ruled that the state must allow the gun stores to reopen by noon on Saturday, May 9. He specifically said that closing them was a violation of the Second Amendment.
“We don’t surrender our constitutional rights. These plaintiffs have constitutional rights that deserve respect and vindication, and it becomes necessary for a court to do that rather than the executive when the executive declines… I don’t have anything like a substantial fit between the goals of the emergency declared by the commonwealth and the burdening of the constitutional rights.” Judge Douglas P. Woodlock
Administration lawyers took the position that the limited time frame for the closure was enough to prove fit as well as alternatives such as private person-to-person purchases for guns and the availability of some ammunition at Walmart stores. Assistant Attorney General Julia Kobick told the court that the particular rationale for the gun store closures was to “stop chains of transmission” of the virus.
Woodlock noted that even the ammunition reportedly available at Walmart isn’t the “kind of core ammunition” designed for personal protection inside one’s home, the core Second Amendment right designated in 2008 by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.
The explanation wasn’t convincing for Judge Woodlock, who said he didn’t see in them “anything other than mere implication of generality” and found the order didn’t substantially fit the situation whereas other retailers like liquor stores were allowed to remain open.
So for a minute let’s think about this: during this pandemic, power-drunk Governors have ordered a lot of things that are conflicting and foolish. In some states, pot and liquor stores were left open as “essential.” In some states gun stores were shuttered as “non-essential.” Originally, Gov Baker put gun stores down as essential, but in early April he removed them from that list. We wonder how much pressure the anti-gun lobby exerted.
The judge has not yet ruled on gun ranges just from a sheer lack of information. It is likely the businesses will provide that information before the Judge’s next ruling. The injunction was temporary, but a win for the Second Amendment community.
“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…
…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. We can think of nothing that is more essential than exercising a right protected by the Constitution, especially during a declared state of emergency.” Alan Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation
Featured photo: File – Massachusetts Gun Store, Yahoo News