(KGET) — The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the sheriff of Los Angeles County over the forced closure of gun shops during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The circumstances posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are noteworthy, but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom,” the suit says. “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.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered the shops closed Tuesday, but soon afterward, the Associated Press reported, county counsel and the health department said the shops are considered essential businesses that can remain open during the county’s stay-at-home order.
However, on Thursday Villanueva, citing Newsom’s executive order closing most businesses, issued the closure order and said gun stores may no longer sell to the general public, the AP reported.
“California’s attack on fundamental rights in times of emergency must be stopped in its tracks,” said Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in a release. “This case is part of our mission to win firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”