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Middleborough Gun Shop Owner Defies Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Order To Close, Cites Second Amendment

April 24, 2020

A Middleborough gun shop owner is defying Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s ban on gun shops during the coronavirus emergency, instead offering curbside service to customers similar to the way restaurants are offering takeout food to customers.

“This thing with the governor, all the rest of the country, most gun shops are open. This governor, his plan is to shut down the gun shops, not because the spread of the pandemic, it’s all about taking away our rights. It’s all about preventing the sales of guns,” said John Costa, owner of The Gunrunner, of Midddleborough, according to MassLive.com.

Costa, a Trump supporter, said Baker’s order is unconstitutional, and he used vivid, earthy language to suggest that Baker is being manipulated by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat who has sought to restrict gun rights in the state.

The governor has declared gun shops nonessential, and has ordered all nonessential businesses to cease operations.

Costa is not among a group of gun shop owners and others challenging the governor’s executive order in federal court.

On Thursday, April 9, gun shop owners in Fall River, Woburn, Westport, and Barnstable filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston asking a federal judge to overturn the governor’s executive order banning gun shops from opening, arguing that it violates the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the complaint, on Thursday, April 2, town of Westport police officers blocked off the parking lot of a gun shop called Shooting Supply “and refused to allow it to conduct any additional transfers to waiting customers” because of the governor’s executive order.

Plaintiffs in the case also include individuals unable to obtain guns during the shutdown and gun-rights organizations.

“The need for personal self-defense is most acute during times of uncertainty and crisis — when law enforcement services may not be available or may not be reliably available, and when (as now) criminal offenders may be released from custody or may be less likely to be taken into custody in the first place,” the plaintiffs’ complaint states. “It is precisely times like these that the Plaintiffs and the Plaintiffs’ members need to be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”

A hearing on the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order has been scheduled for Monday, May 4.

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