US pro-gun lobby groups sue California for closing gun shops amid coronavirus pandemic

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of NRA's Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre (Photo by AFP)

The powerful US pro-gun lobby group, National Rifle Association (NRA), and other like-minded groups have filed a lawsuit against California after the west coast state forced the shutdown of gun shops under Governor Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order in face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The legal action was filed on Friday with the US District Court for the Central District of California, demanding that gun stores in the state – which were deemed nonessential under the official order -- should be considered essential businesses and reopened.

 “Municipalities who target lawful gun stores for closure aren’t promoting safety—by weaponizing their politics to disarm you and your loved ones, these shameless partisans are recklessly promoting a gun-control agenda that suffocates your self-defense rights when you need them most," said a statement issued by executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet.

The statement by the traditionally right-wing group further emphasized, "NRA members recognize these unlawful power-grabs for what they are, and the National Rifle Association is proud to stand and fight alongside fellow Second Amendment groups who recognize it, as well."

However, one of the leading gun violence prevention groups in the country, Brady, described the lawsuit by the pro-gun lobby groups as off-base.

"In this time when we all need to sacrifice to flatten the curve and stop this pandemic, it is disturbing that the NRA won't budge from its overriding purpose -- to increase gun industry profits at any cost," said Brady's president, Kris Brown, during an interview with CNN.

"There is no constitutional right to spread coronavirus while shopping, for guns or anything else," she emphasized.

Other right-wing organizations joining the NRA in filing the legal complaint against the state of California were The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), California Gun Rights Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition, according to the Washington-based news outlet The Hill

“California’s attack on fundamental rights in times of emergency must be stopped in its tracks,” said SAF's executive vice president Alan Gottlieb, as quoted in the report.

Gottlieb further added, “This case is part of our mission to win firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time. And more, the lawsuits we are filing across the country are making a large number of other states, counties, and cities think twice before closing down essential gun stores.”

The development came as pro-gun groups across the US have been lobbying local and federal officials to consider gun stores as essential businesses that should remain open along with pharmacies and supermarkets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is while many gun shops across the country have reported increased sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

Gun-control advocates, however, have protested decisions by some state governors to exempt gun stores from closure orders, insisting that the move only helps the corporate gun lobby to sell more guns.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku