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NRA suing Cuomo and New York after gun stores closed

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  • The NRA filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday over his closure of gun stores in the state as part of his “PAUSE” order. 
  • The order, in place until at least April 15, allows a list of essential businesses to remain open, though gun stores were not included in the list.
  • The Department of Homeland Security last week guided states to allow gun stores to remain open even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • “I wish I could come immune to this virus the way I am immune to NRA lawsuits,” Cuomo said at a press conference Saturday.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The National Rifle Association, the leading gun-rights advocacy group in the US, has filed a lawsuit naming New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — both his capacity as governor and a private citizen — over the closure of gun stores in the state as part of ordered non-essential business closures. 

“As a result of the government’s overreach, most New Yorkers have no legal way to exercise the constitutional right to purchase arms or ammunition,” the NRA lawsuit alleged. “The current public health emergency does not justify impeding the exercise of Second Amendment rights, especially during a time when many New Yorkers have valid concerns about the ability of the government to maintain order—and criminals are being prematurely released from jails.”

As part of Cuomo’s “PAUSE” order, which last week he extended through at least April 15, non-essential businesses were ordered to close as the state directed the non-essential workforce to stay at home. The order is meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. New York has been hardest hit by the virus within the US, with more than 103,172 infections and 2,935 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

“I wish I could come immune to this virus the way I am immune to NRA lawsuits,” Cuomo said when asked about the lawsuit at a press conference on Saturday. Cuomo’s office did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Many businesses have been allowed to remain open according to a list from Cuomo’s office. Places like grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, research laboratories, hardware stores, laundromats, and banks have been permitted to remain open. While restaurants and bars can remain open, they can only serve food and drinks by take-out or delivery. 

States across the country have enacted various “stay at home” orders, which order the non-essential workforce to stay at home unless for essential reasons, like grocery shopping and picking up medication. 

Regions around the country have also announced drastic measures to reduce populations in jails in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example, announced around 300 at-risk inmates over 70 would be selected for release. The release did not include inmates who had domestic violence or sexual offense charges, de Blasio said.

The NRA last week filed a similar lawsuit targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom over his state’s “stay at home” order, which likewise has closed gun stores. The Trump administration on March 31 said states should consider gun stores an essential business, though the Department of Homeland Security said it was only issued as guidance and not a mandate.

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