McClure: State Senate bills won’t change the fact that gun stores are not essential

McClure: State Senate bills won't change the fact that gun stores are not essential

Cate McClure (Photo: Courtesy photo) Amid pictures of gun-toting protesters at Michigan’s Capitol, nationwide complaints by the National Rifle Association that gun stores are not included in “essential services” under stay-at-home orders, and sky-rocketing gun sales since the pandemic started, the Michigan Senate Republicans recently joined the fray by introducing two bills, SB 859 and SB 860, which would prohibit any Michigan governor from banning the sale or purchase of firearms during a disaster. In the pandemic-driven disaster we currently face, despite NRA allegations to the contrary, there are no legal or public policy reasons to include gun stores as essential services in any of the stay-at-home orders in existence across the country. The NRA and their affiliates have filed multiple lawsuits – against New York, New Jersey and California among others – alleging that mandatory gun store closures amount to a violation of the Second Amendment. Yet U.S. constitutional law has always allowed for the curtailment of Bill of Rights guarantees where necessary to protect public health and where the restrictions are of general applicability and neutral, such that they do not single out a particular activity or organization. The numerous state and municipal stay-at-home orders currently in place, including ours in Michigan, of necessity impact many of the rights we cherish; the right to assemble, to practice religion and the right to free speech among the most obvious. They correctly do so in order to limit the spread of the virus to a level our public health […]

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