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Charlie T Waite

Ventura County Caves in Face of Injunction Hearing, Re-Opens Firearm and Ammunition Retailers

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LOS ANGELES (May 15, 2020) ­— Just days before a hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction against orders banning gun stores from operating, lawyers for the County of Ventura, California, have filed documents with federal District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall saying that the defendants, including the County, Sheriff Bill Ayub, and Dr. Robert Levin, the County’s Public Health Officer, have issued a new order to re-open firearm and ammunition dealers throughout the county. Key filings in McDougall v. County of Ventura, including the County’s latest order, can be viewed or downloaded online at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/mcdougall.

Ronda N. Baldwin-Kennedy, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said that the County’s latest filing was a move to avoid losing the case early. “The defendants were obviously wrong on the law and had no constitutional support for their frivolous arguments, so it makes sense for them to change course now. We are delighted that this lawsuit moved the County to issue another order so that our clients and the people of Ventura County can exercise their constitutional rights.”

“The facts are that the Ventura County defendants made it a crime for individuals to patronize and operate firearm and ammunition retailers, and worse, these government officials banned travel for firearms and ammunition as ‘non-essential’. Those are precisely the kinds of actions our Constitution was designed to protect against, so we look forward to the next phase of litigation in this lawsuit,” said the plaintiffs' co-counsel, attorney Raymond DiGuiseppe.

Ultimately, they have already admitted in court that they violated constitutionally enumerated rights,” noted FPC Director of Legal Strategy, Adam Kraut. “Especially because there may be a second or third wave of COVID-19, we will seek an injunction so that they cannot do this again should cases spike.”

“This legal action was and remains about winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time,” explained SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The county choosing to re-open firearm and ammunition transactions rather than face our motion in court is a victory for gun owners and the Second Amendment.”

“Onerous California laws make access to operating gun stores a requirement to exercise your Second Amendment rights,” explained CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman. “The right to self-defense is only more important during times of crisis, so Ventura Health Officer Dr. Levin appropriately changed course and issued a new order. Just as we have required of governments around the nation, gun stores in Ventura are now able to re-open.”

The individuals in the case were backed and joined by Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF). Defendants in the case include Ventura County Sheriff William “Bill” Ayub, William T. Foley, the Director of the Ventura County Public Health Care Agency, Robert Levin, the Public Health Medical Director and Health Officer for Defendant County of Ventura, and the County of Ventura, California.

“County of Ventura officials were either outrageously ignorant or arrogant to think they had the authority to redline fundamental, individual rights,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “They should remember that they are just local officials on a power trip, not dictators, and we will continue to seek justice for their abusive constitutional violations.”

Individual firearm or ammunition purchasers, retailers, and ranges affected by ‘stay-home’ or shutdown orders are encouraged to report their concerns and potential civil rights violations to FPC’s COVID-19 Issue Hotline at www.FPChotline.org.  

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.

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