BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s order deeming gun shops non-essential during the coronavirus pandemic infringes on the Second Amendment, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. The judge said he will issue an order that will allow shops to reopen.

Related: Middleboro Gun Shop Stays Open Despite Coronavirus Non-Essential Order

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said during a virtual hearing on Thursday there is “no jurisdiction” for Baker to order gun shops to close, saying that doing so infringes on people’s rights to buy a firearm. The ruling goes into effect Saturday at noon.

The order says gun shops may sell firearms by appointment only with no more than four meetings per hour, and can only be open between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The order also mandates that gun shops must abide by social distancing guidelines such as making all employees and customers wear face masks, establishing regular sanitizing measures and making sure people stay six feet apart.

Gun shop owner John Costa of The Gunrunner in Middlelboro said it’s his constitutional right to keep his shop open.

“I knew that all along. I’ve known that since the beginning,” he said. “That’s why I defied the governor. The governor has no right whatsoever to try and change the Constitution.

Costa said he’s not allowing anyone inside the store. He’s using curbside delivery instead.

“You’ve got a mask, I’ve got a mask. Nobody goes in my store. We’re not that close to each other. No I don’t feel I’m endangering anybody,” he said.

Baker was asked about the ruling during his Thursday afternoon press briefing. The governor said he was not yet aware of the ruling, but added if that is the case, the state would comply.

“We would discuss any decision like that with the Attorney General, because they basically represent us in those cases,” said Baker. “But I’m not in a position to comment on it at this point in time. We will certainly comply with any kind of judicial ruling on anything, including that.”

The Attorney General’s office confirmed Thursday that they are reviewing the ruling. It is unclear whether they will appeal the decision.

Comments (7)
  1. Butch Goodwin says:

    This will be overturned on appeal The President,Mr Trump waved federal authority. Gave each Governor the power to act as they saw fit in their state. Since I cannot see how a gun shop can be deemed an essential service. What immediate need would you have for a gun or bullets? You cannot eat them. There is nothing in a gun shop that would be necessary to sustain life. I believe the US attorney will encourage an appeal.Because basically the President giving the Governor’s the power to act in the states best interests. is not valid in this crisis.Has no weight. The judge by his decision has removed any and all executive powers. Judge Woodlock is also saying that the Governor has no authority to mandate and govern his state in a crisis.

    1. OK, here’s what you are missing: SCOTUS has ruled that gun ownership is “essential to our system of ordered liberty” (McDonald 2008). Gun stores must be kept open (with proper safeguards) for the exact same reason abortion clinics cannot be closed – both involve a constitutionally protected right. You may be correct that this is reversed on appeal – many Federal Appeals Courts have simply ignored the two landmark SCOTUS rulings and continued to rule as if they did not exist.

      All of that said, I would point you back to the MA stun gun case, in which a law banning stun guns was reversed by SCOTUS in a summary decision. The vote on that case was 9-0. I think there is a good chance that the vote on this case will not be close either. In any case, we shall see.

  2. Frank DeLorey says:

    The judge is protecting the second amendment. Baker has become a Commie…he tasted unlimited power and is licking his chops for more!!

  3. ginnie milson says:

    Butch, please take a civics lesson on separation of powers, constitutional rights, and the constitution. Then read the ruling:

  4. ScubaKing says:

    I love the 2nd amendment as much as anyone, but if you want a gun, have researched your purchase and go to buy it, good luck. Forget politics and the courts. As a practical matter, there are no great guns or ammo to buy. The shelves are bare…from Florida to California to Maine and Mass. So good luck to the gun shops. I hope they did not spend to much money on lawyers because I (and most people) will wait to make a purchase when the supply is replenished.

  5. 911WASanINSIDEjob420 says:


  6. Jose says:

    It is also in the Massachusetts Constitution for the state: “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.” Also, go here to read more about the gun rights for Massachusetts:

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