Saturday, July 20, 2024

9th Circuit Rules Calif. Violated 2nd Amendment By Closing Gun Stores

'The county has simply neglected to make a record that could justify its actions. Neither pandemic nor even war wipes away the Constitution ... '

(Headline USA)  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that two California counties violated the Second Amendment by forcibly shutting down gun and ammunition stores during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court said in its opinion that California officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties had no right to deem gun stores unessential, noting that the Second Amendment “means nothing if the government can prohibit all persons from acquiring any firearm or ammunition.”

California’s shutdown “wholly prevented law-abiding citizens in the county from realizing their right to keep and bear arms, both by prohibiting access to acquiring any firearm and ammunition, and barring practice at firing ranges with any firearms already owned,” the court said. “These blanket prohibitions on access and practice clearly burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment and fail under both strict and intermediate scrutiny.”

The three-judge panel went on to argue that California’s shutdown of gun stores made no sense since other recreational stores, such as bicycle shops, were allowed to continue operating at that same time.

“The county provided no evidence and no justification for why bicycles could be purchased and delivered, for example, but firearms could not even be picked up at the storefront, or for why such outdoor activities as walking, bicycling, and golfing were allowed, but acquiring and maintaining proficiency at outdoor shooting ranges was not,” the court wrote. “The county has simply neglected to make a record that could justify its actions. Neither pandemic nor even war wipes away the Constitution.”

The court opinion also cites a recent Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled against California for shutting down churches. As Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the Supreme Court, “Even in times of crisis — perhaps especially in times of crisis — we have a duty to hold governments to the Constitution,” the 9th Circuit ruling states.

The ruling overturns lower court decisions that upheld the counties’ lockdown orders.

Ventura County spokeswoman Ashley Bautista said in a statement that county officials are “disappointed with the three-judge panel’s decision” and are “evaluating our options and next steps.”

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