Gun Store Owner Sues Over Shelter-In-Place Ordinance

Written by: Phillip E. Friduss, Esq.

Gun store Clyde Armory has sued Athens-Clarke County, Georgia over its shelter-in-place ordinance. The suit claims that that the ordinance is an overstep of power and violates the equal protection and due process clauses as well as the right to bear arms in both the U.S. and Georgia constitutions.

At first, gun stores were not identified as essential businesses under the Ordinance, only to have the consolidated government add gun stores two days later on March 23, 2020. Fine and dandy sayeth the gun store, only, the changes are alleged to have been made in violation of the State’s Open Meetings Act, the change in designation to “essential” has not been included in the official text of the ordinance, and this causes confusion for the public.

The suit includes a challenge to the local government’s power to even pass such ordinances, arguing that federal and state mandates preempt anything the local government is doing on point. Additionally, the plaintiff alleges that the decision-making in determining what businesses may remain open as “essential” is being done arbitrarily, in violation of the Constitution. More broadly, the suit alleges the local government has no right to require healthy, non-infected residents to remain at home, unless they are seeking matters defined as being essential.

Cases like this are very real, and there are going to be thousands upon thousands of them, regardless of how distasteful we may find them at this time.

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