STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) – A panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that shutting down gun shops, as well as bars, restaurants, salons and a multitude of other outlets at the outset of the pandemic, was unconstitutional.
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“It’s a ruling that I think is the correct ruling,” said Jonathan Solomon.
Solomon and his wife own Redstone Firearms in Burbank, a training, consulting and education firearms center.
“When it came down to the pandemic, nonessential, essential, that whole thing was kind of convoluted. During the main portion of the pandemic, it’s absolutely important that people had the right to protect themselves, because we had some people who were very desperate,” Solomon said.
At the start of the pandemic, LA and Ventura Counties categorized gun shops as nonessential businesses, which is why they were not allowed to stay open. Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association challenged the categorization in lower courts and lost.
The new decision, however, has gun rights advocates praising the ruling.
“Clearly, both these counties violated second amendment rights of their citizens there by closing the gun stores and denying them access to firearms during a critical period,” Bob Templeton, owner of the Crossroads West Gun Show, said.
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Dan Dement with the Firearms Policy Coalition agreed.
“We are extremely pleased by the court’s decision, you know, a constitutional guarantee that can be eliminated for weeks or months on end at any given time is really no guarantee at all,” he said.
Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson said the ruling showed just how much impact President Trump’s nominees to the federal bench have really had.
“This was a conservative decision. We have a three judge panel. Two judges were nominated by President Trump, one by President Reagan, and what we have is the Ninth Circuit overruling lower court decisions that ruled in favor of the government, saying it is in fact okay to shutdown nonessential places, including gun shops,” Levinson said.
The decision could end up before the Supreme Court.
“Hopefully, we’re not constantly living under a pandemic and we don’t have these questions constantly arising about shutting down businesses, but it raises serious constitutional questions,” Levinson said.
CBSLA reached out to the LA County Health Department for comment, though they have yet to respond. The Ventura County Health Department told Reuters that they were disappointed by the decision and are evaluating which steps to take next.
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