Gun-Rights Groups Sue N.M. Gov. for Closing ‘Non-Essential’ Firearm Stores

‘That right does not correspond to a right to congregate in a store … amid an unprecedented global pandemic…’

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Michelle Lujan Grisham / IMAGE: Bloomberg Politics via Youtube

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Gun shops and Second Amendment groups joined to file a federal lawsuit against New Mexico’s Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials for the unconstitutional order to shut down firearm stores and shooting ranges.

“By arbitrarily, capriciously—and unconstitutionally—targeting those who lawfully sell firearms and ammunition, New Mexico is depriving citizens of their natural and fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit. “Uncertain times are precisely when fundamental rights—like the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense—must be protected.”

In response to the coronavirus crackdown, Grisham employed her emergency powers to close what she deemed to be non-essential businesses, which included gun stores and ranges.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action is a party to the lawsuit. The language used in the complaint bore strong similarities with recent suits filed by gun-rights groups in other areas, including Los Angeles,California, and Raleigh, North Carolina, both of which saw local sheriffs attempting to close or delay gun rights as a result of the health crisis.

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“Politicians imperil our families by declaring our fundamental right of self defense ‘non-essential’ while they free criminals,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of NRA-ILA, in a press release.

“As always, the NRA and its membership will continue to fight every hypocrite who enjoys armed security while denying American families their essential access to firearms, he said.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked the federal court to declare that Second Amendment-related businesses are essential, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Other Democratic governors, including Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, have determined that gun stores and rangers are essential, and they have exempted them from business closure decrees, NRA-ILA reported.

Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett responded to the lawsuit in an email to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

She said New Mexico “has taken and will continue to take an extremely broad view of what is considered non-essential to public health amid this pandemic.”

As of April 12, New Mexico had 1,245 confirmed cases and 26 deaths, KOB4 reported.

“While we as an administration unequivocally support the constitutional right to purchase a firearm, we recognize that right does not correspond to a right to congregate in a store and infect neighbors and workers and public safety officers amid an unprecedented global pandemic,” Sackett said.