NRA sues California officials for closing gun stores amid coronavirus outbreak

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-gun groups filed a lawsuit against California on Friday after the state forced gun stores to close under Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomTwitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why White House says Trump's intent is never to lie FEC commissioner: 'No basis' for Trump claims voting by mail leads to fraud MORE's (D) shelter-in-place order amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Under Newsom's order, these stores are considered nonessential. The complaint demands that gun shops in California be deemed essential and reopened.

The suit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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“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," Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.

"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," he said.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), California Gun Rights Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition are also the involved in the lawsuit. 

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

He 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.”

Brady, one of the leading gun violence prevention groups in the country, told CNN that the lawsuit was 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," Kris Brown, Brady's president, told the network.
 
"There is no constitutional right to spread coronavirus while shopping, for guns or anything else," she said.