A federal judge has ordered Massachusetts state and local officials to allow gun stores to reopen by noon Saturday, handing a win to Second Amendment supporters in the state.
In a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock in Boston ruled that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's order forcing gun stores to close during the coronavirus pandemic placed an "improper burden" on the constitutional rights of citizens in the state, Reuters reported.
The decision came after gun-rights advocates filed a lawsuit against the Baker administration early last month after the governor ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses in the state without an exemption of gun stores.
An updated executive order issued April 10 exempted gun retailers and shooting ranges from the list of nonessential businesses, but after the move was criticized by gun control advocates, their exemption was removed hours later, according to MassLive.
Woodlock, during the video-conference hearing, said that the matter was likely "a small corner of a large issue that the governor is grappling with and undoubtedly has not been at focus of his attention."
But he added that "individuals who have rights under the Constitution find those rights burdened and without explanation means that they have a day in court."
A lawyer for the state indicated that the Baker administration may seek an appeal, Reuters noted. The state's lawyers argued the crisis justified temporarily closing gun retailers and that residents could still buy guns through other means, like private sales.