NRA Sues California Officials Due to Gun Store Closures During COVID-19

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and affiliated parties are suing the governor of California along with a number of Los Angeles area and other government officials in response to the decision to close gun stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs, which include individuals, nonprofits, and a gun retailer, allege that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s decision to order gun retailers to close because of their “non-essential” business status violates the constitutional right to bear arms. The suit also claims that current county and state-wide orders affecting gun store operations are unconstitutionally vague.

Following the implementation of shelter-in-place mandates across the country due to the coronavirus emergency, gun sales have spiked in many areas. States have been divided over whether gun retailers should be considered essential businesses, with California’s governor giving discretion to local officials to make this determination. Lawsuits have also reportedly been filed in states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where gun rights organizations are disputing what kinds of entities should be considered essential businesses.

Additional Reading

Complaint, Brandy et al. v. Villanueva et al., filed March 27, 2020, via Justia Dockets

Photo credit: / Logan Bush