Two California counties violated the Constitution's right to keep and bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
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 rejected both lower court rulings.
The Second Amendment “means nothing if the government can prohibit all persons from acquiring any firearm or ammunition. But that’s what happened in this case," Judge Lawrence VanDyke wrote.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — named plaintiffs in the case — did not immediately comment, nor did Ventura County officials.
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