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NRA sues California officials over forced closure of gun shops amid outbreak

'Shuttering access to arms necessarily shutters the Constitutional right to those arms'

(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

The National Rifle Association has joined forces with other Second Amendment advocates to sue several California officials over the forced closure of gun shops in the state amid shut-down orders imposed during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

What are the details?

The NRA and its fellow plaintiffs sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva, and two other state officials, arguing that "firearms licensees are essential businesses that provide access to constitutionally protected rights. Full stop."

"Californians cannot exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms without such businesses," the filing continued. "Shuttering access to arms necessarily shutters the Constitutional right to those arms."

"The circumstances posed by the Novel Coronavirus ('COVID-19') outbreak are noteworthy," the claim acknowledged, "but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom."

The plaintiffs added, "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."

Last week, Gov. Newsom issued a statewide dictate ordering all "non-essential businesses" to close temporarily in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Villaneuva ordered all gun shops closed in Los Angeles County, but reversed his decision after the county's legal counsel and health department determined that such stores were considered essential under the county's own stay-at-home order, The Associated Press reported.

KTTV-TV reported that "the governor later stated that sheriffs do have the authority to make such closures under the given circumstances, which once again led to Villanueva ordering that gun shops close to the general public."

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