BOSTON (AP) — Gun shops in Massachusetts will be allowed to reopen, a federal judge said Thursday after a group of owners sued the governor over his decision to include them in non-essential businesses shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said during a virtual hearing that the governor’s order infringed on residents’ Second Amendment rights and must be overturned, The Boston Globe reported.
“There is no justification here,” the judge said. “These plaintiffs . . . have constitutional rights that deserve respect and vindication. And it becomes necessary for a court to do that.”
The judge said he will impose restrictions on gun shops for when they do reopen, like requiring them to operate by appointment only.
Gun shop owners, like Toby Leary of Cape Gun Works, say they have been hard hit by the governor’s order.
“We came off the best month ever in the history of our store in March and then literally hit a brick wall on April 1st, April Fool’s Day,” Leary said.
Precision Point Firearms in Woburn also isn’t open yet.
“We’ve been closed. No business, there’s been no money coming in, there’s no revenue to pay our bills,” Christopher Kielty said on Thursday.
Leary said the constitution was suspended when the governor issued his order in regards to gun stores and the judge agreed.
“The courts agreed with us that by closing firearm dealers they’re in fact infringing upon a constitutional right,” defense attorney Jason Guida said.
Gun stores are set to reopen on Saturday at noon.
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