Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is being accused of discriminating against gun shops in the Bay State, after listing them “briefly” as “essential businesses before quickly doing an about-face and ordering them closed during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) is furious, issuing a lengthy press release that says, in part:
“On March 31, 2020 the Baker Administration held a press conference updating the public on the State’s efforts to fight Covid-19. During that event, the Governor announced that they were releasing an updated “essentials” list after reviewing the recent CISA list. When that new Massachusetts list was released it contained the new federal advisory on firearms word, for word.
“After reviewing the new state essential document, GOAL alerted its members. Retailers who have been denied financial help from the state were now relieved. At least now, it was clear they could conduct business following all the Covid-19 protocols. After GOAL notified our members that the Second Amendment community might be treated fairly, things took a drastic turn back towards discrimination.
“Within, perhaps, an hour after notifying our members the Baker Administration edited their list by specifically removing firearm retailers and shooting ranges. When the Governor’s office was queried about the sudden change, we were given the standard answer about protecting people against the virus. The real reason is obvious, more discrimination against our community.”
GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace told CFL that the Baker administration had earlier discriminated against gun shops by making them ineligible for small business loans. He alluded to that in the statement released Wednesday morning.
“In mid-March, the Baker Administration announced an emergency loan program for small businesses. The program was being run through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC). On the original post on the MGCC website only five types of businesses were declared ineligible for Massachusetts emergency small business loans. Firearm retailers was one of them! Pure discrimination against family owned firearm retailers who have bills to pay and families to raise.”
According to Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Massachusetts is the only state in the entire Northeast that is taking such an action against gun stores during the present crisis.
“This antipathy for the respect of the right of Massachusetts citizens to protect themselves is alarming,” said Keane, in a statement to Ammoland. “Every other governor in New England is permitting their citizens the right to acquire a firearm. Even the governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania have now recognized the limits of their authority to infringe on fundamental American rights and reversed course. Gov. Baker’s using a health crisis to further an anti-gun agenda that denies Americans their rights is inexcusable.”
Gun rights organizations. including the Second Amendment Foundation, have been filing federal lawsuits against various states. Keane told CFL via telephone he would not be surprised to see someone file a complaint against Massachusetts.
It’s all part of the ongoing GOVID-19 crisis, which anti-gunners appear to be exploiting, at least until they are challenged in court.
The anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety legal arm issued a four-page memorandum to state politicians, insisting that it is constitutional for gun stores to be forced to close during the pandemic.
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