California’s COVID gun store shutdowns ruled illegal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal appeals court has found that two California counties violated the Constitution’s right to bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties had separately won lower court decisions saying gun stores were not exempt from broader shutdown orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus early in the pandemic.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected both lower court rulings as violations of the Second Amendment.

The court said the closures "wholly prevented law-abiding citizens … from realizing their right to keep and bear arms."