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Order Forcing Mass. Gun Shops To Close During Coronavirus Infringes On Second Amendment, Judge Rules

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.

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