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NRA files first lawsuit after illegal orders to close gun shops around the country; feds step in

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Thanks to a last-minute move by the Trump administration, gun owners throughout America have just saved bundles in legal costs.

Last Friday the National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit against California over a “shelter-in-place” order instituted by Gov. Gavin Newsom that allows local officials to forbid gun shops from operating during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The suit was joined by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the California Gun Rights Foundation and the Burbank-located gun retailer Gun World.

It cited a March 19th order issued by Newsom in which he decreed that all “non-essential” businesses must close but left the decision of whether to classify gun stores as “essential” up to local officials.

Four days later, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, a Democrat, deemed gun stores “non-essential” and ordered them shuttered.

“Soon after that, the county council and the health department said the shops are among those considered essential under the county’s stay-at-home order that closed many businesses and urged all residents to stay home as much as possible,” the Associated Press reported.

But two days later on Thursday, Villanueva reissued the gun store ban, reportedly saying that “the shops may no longer sell to the general public but may still supply security guard companies.”

A day later, the NRA filed suit.

Read its legal complaint below:

“The circumstances posed by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak are noteworthy, but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom,” the complaint states.

“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.”

In a statement, NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Jason Ouimet described Villanueva’s shuttering of gun stores as an “unlawful power grab.”

“Municipalities who target lawful gun stores for closure aren’t promoting safety — by weaponizing their politics to disarm you and your loved ones, these shameless partisans are recklessly promoting a gun-control agenda that suffocates your self-defense rights when you need them most,” he said.

“NRA members recognize these unlawful power-grabs for what they are, and the National Rifle Association is proud to stand and fight alongside fellow Second Amendment groups who recognize it, as well.”

Of course, gun-control zealots disagreed, including Kris Brown, the president of the infamous Brady Campaign.

“In this time when we all need to sacrifice to flatten the curve and stop this pandemic, it is disturbing that the NRA won’t budge from its overriding purpose — to increase gun industry profits at any cost,” she said to CNN early Saturday. “There is no constitutional right to spread coronavirus while shopping, for guns or anything else.”

However, hours later that same day, the Department of Homeland Security released new guidelines concerning “essential” businesses, and those guidelines disagree strongly with the gun-control zealot’s hysterical rhetoric.

According to the new guidelines, “[w]orkers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment and uniforms for law enforcement, public safety personnel, and first responders” are now deemed “essential.”

So are “[w]orkers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”

In other words, gun stores are now “essential.” And naturally, gun rights activists such as those at the Second Amendment Foundation couldn’t be more pleased.

Every freedom-loving American owes President Donald Trump and his administration a very big thank you for protecting our Second Amendment rights,” SAF founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “This is another Trump promise made and promise kept.”

Thanks to the Trump administration’s last-minute move, it appears the NRA’s lawsuit is moot. Unless of course Villanueva or some other Democrat official tries to supersede the federal government’s authority, a prospect which seems quite unlikely.

Vivek Saxena

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