By: Teresa Mull

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that forcing gun stores to close during COVID was unconstitutional.

Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld declared firmly in his opinion that, “Neither pandemic nor even war wipes away the Constitution.”

According to the Associated Press:

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.

Some background: In March 2020, guns and ammo stores, as well as shooting ranges, were deemed “nonessential businesses” and forced to shutter for 48 days. U.S. Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke wrote forcing these stores to close  “wholly prevented law-abiding citizens in the County from realizing their right to keep and bear arms.”

The AP further reports that VanDyke wrote:

“[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.”

In a noteworthy and unconventional move, Vandyke “said any firearm-related regulation could be upheld under the circuit’s ‘exceptionally malleable’ approach to Second Amendment challenges,” reports Reuters. “To prove that point, he authored an ‘alternative draft opinion’ favoring Ventura County to ‘demonstrate just how easy it is to reach any desired conclusion under our current framework.’”

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.