A gun store owner in Massachusetts said in a report Friday that “enraged” residents in the state are going to flock to gun dealers after a federal judge ruled that they should be reopened.
“Even if they didn’t want one, they’re going to come out and buy a gun just to stick it up that a**hole’s a**,” Vinny Cedrone, the owner of Shawsheen Firearms in the town of Billerica, told WBUR.com. He was reportedly referring to Gov. Charlie Barker, who was criticized for an earlier order closing the businesses.
A U.S. district court ruled on Thursday that Barker’s office infringed on residents’ Second Amendment rights when he ordered them shut down during the coronavirus outbreak. An attorney representing gun shop owners who sued the state said it was never made clear why gun stores were closed while liquor stores remained open, NBC Boston reported.
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Baker’s order called for gun sellers and shooting ranges to be added to the state’s list of nonessential businesses. Masslive.com pointed out that Maura Healy, the state’s attorney general, tweeted at the time, “Gun shops and shooting ranges are NOT essential businesses during a public health emergency. We cannot undermine the safety of our police officers, first responders and domestic violence victims.”
“There is no justification here,” U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, said, according to the Boston Globe. “These plaintiffs…have constitutional rights that deserve respect and vindication. And it becomes necessary for a court to do that.”
Woodlock said that the state failed to explain why gun stores needed to be shuttered during the outbreak. Masslive.com reported that Baker was told about the ruling at a press conference and said the state will “comply with whatever he says.”
The FBI reported earlier this week that there were 2.9 million background checks in April—including one week that is among the top 10 highest ever. Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting estimated that 1.7 million guns were sold in April, which would indicate a 71 percent increase from 2019.
Gun store owners in the state told local media about the inherent challenges their businesses faced while being shut down. Most owners said they tried to keep paying their staff and had them perform tasks like rearranging stores and preparing for social distancing orders once they were reopened.
“There’s no way we’ll recoup what was lost,” one gun store owner told Masslive.com. “It’s just mathematically not possible.”