“No matter what gun-control advocates claim, public-health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic do not give governments carte blanche to trample on the constitutional rights of their citizens. Mandating the closure of all firearm retailers across an entire state or locality would do just that. State and local governments have a duty to protect their citizens from public-health emergencies, but the Constitution requires them to do so in ways that are respectful of those citizens’ fundamental rights.”
The Constitution is being trampled on all over the place in the name of “staying safe”.
In order for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to remain meaningful, law-abiding citizens must have the ability to acquire a firearm — even during a pandemic. In fact, the right to self-defense is especially vital during national emergencies, when police forces may have additional responsibilities or limitations that make it harder for them to respond to every call for help. Americans have recognized the gravity of the current situation; firearm sales have skyrocketed since the crisis began. Unfortunately, a small minority of states and localities — supported by gun-control advocates — have sought to deny Americans their right of self-protection by closing gun stores, effectively preventing non-gun-owners from acquiring a firearm. These measures are unconstitutional and must be reversed.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has created an unprecedented national public-health emergency. Many states and localities have taken dramatic action to mitigate COVID-19’s spread. These emergency orders — including requiring non-essential businesses to close — have imposed restrictions on citizens’ liberties and disrupted daily life. Some of these temporary restraints are likely constitutionally permissible given the severity of the pandemic. However, even during a crisis, the government cannot completely ignore citizens’ fundamental rights.
As the Supreme Court recognized in its landmark Heller decision, the Second Amendment protects “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” Therefore, the Second Amendment “necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” A federal appellate court recognized that one such “untenable” policy choice is “prohibiting the commercial sale of firearms.” The Second Amendment must protect, at a minimum, the right of law-abiding citizens to acquire at least some firearm for use in the home for self-defense.
By HOWARD SLUGH