Mass. Gun Shops Allowed to Reopen as Judge Overturns Governor's Order

Gun shop owners "have constitutional rights that deserve respect and vindication," a federal judge said

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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 background checks in New Hampshire have more than doubled over this time last year, as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold.

Christopher Kielty, the owner of Precision Point Firearms in Woburn, said he felt attacked by the Baker administration's initial decision.

"We don't know why the governor made that quick decision to shut us down and why he singled us out," Kielty said.

Attorney Jason Guida, who represents the gun shop owners, said the state never answered why gun shops were being treated differently than other businesses such as liquor stores.

With shops now being allowed to reopen, Kielty says his job will be to enforce social distancing and other safety restrictions to ensure customer safety.

"I feel great. A little bit at ease about paying my bills next month," Kielty said.

NBC10 and Associated Press
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