BREAKING: PA Gov. Wolf Adds Firearm Retailers to List of Approved Businesses Following Emergency FPC Legal Action
HARRISBURG, PA (March 25, 2020) – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf added gun stores to the list of businesses allowed to stay open during COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions following emergency litigation filed by FPC Law and Joshua Prince of Civil Rights Defense Firm, Firearms Policy Coalition announced today. The Governor’s revised order and related case documents are available at FPCLegal.org.
On March 19, 2020 Governor Wolf released an Order, requiring the closure of all “non life-sustaining businesses.” Included in the list of businesses to be closed were firearms retailers, as apparently Governor Wolf doesn’t consider the Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms ‘life-sustaining’. Firearms Policy Coalition’s Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut, along with well-known firearms attorney Joshua Prince, immediately challenged Gov. Wolf’s order directly at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, invoking the Court’s King’s Bench jurisdiction.
While the State’s Supreme Court denied the King’s Bench petition on Sunday, Justice Wecht, joined by Justices Donohue and Dougherty, filed a strongly worded opinion in favor of protecting the right to keep and bear arms. The forced closure of gun shops throughout the entire Commonwealth, they said, was an “impermissible intrusion upon a fundamental constitutional right,” and that local gun shops could make accommodations in the name of social distancing just as other necessary, life-sustaining businesses have done.
Following that guidance, Governor Wolf reversed his gun store ban and published an updated “Industry Operations Guide” which now makes clear that firearms retailers are considered ‘life-sustaining’ and may remain open as long as they practice common public health measures.
“We appreciate that the Governor heard the voices of Justices Wecht, Donohue, and Dougherty and will now allow gun stores to remain open and serve the public,” said Kraut. “The right and ability to protect yourself and your family, particularly in times of crisis, is the very definition of ‘life-sustaining’ and unquestionably protected by both the Second Amendment and the State’s constitution.”
“As we have said before, there is no ‘except in emergencies’ clause in the Constitution and the government cannot shut down the People’s right to keep and bear arms,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Our FPC team will continue to fight for the rights of individuals and work to ensure that the People can continue to access and exercise their human rights.”
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.