The lawsuit was filed April 9 and the case is known as McCarthy v. Baker. In reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Baker issued an emergency order that, according to the federal complaint, eliminated “all lawful channels of access to constitutionally protected arms and ammunition by mandating the closure of all businesses that sell firearms and ammunition to the consumer public. These actions amount to a ban on obtaining modern arms for personal defense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
“We are delighted at the decision by U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock and the swiftness with which it was reached,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Constitutional rights are never put on hold because of an emergency, including the outbreak of a virus. Too many elected officials think otherwise, and we’re having to deal with them one lawsuit a time, same as we’re taking on Governor Baker.”
Speaking from the bench during the virtual hearing, Judge Woodlock said, “There’s no justification here” for mandating the closure of gun shops. He specified that gun shops will be free to open at Noon Saturday, May 9.
“When Governor Baker lumped gun shops in with thousands of other businesses deemed ‘non-essential,’ he obviously didn’t consider the exercise of a fundamental right to be essential,” Gottlieb observed. “We can think of nothing that is more essential than exercising a right protected by the Constitution, especially during a declared state of emergency.
“Gun shops in other states have remained open,” Gottlieb added, “and those stores have come up with creative strategies to serve the public without endangering anyone. We’re confident Massachusetts retailers will be equally ingenious in their compliance with social distancing and sanitation requirements. We will continue pressing these cases wherever they’ve shown up because we’re not just talking about business here, we’re talking about rights.”