Lawsuit challenges Athens’ Shelter in Place order

The owner of an Athens gun shop files a lawsuit against the 24-7 shelter in place order issued by Athens-Clarke County Commissioners in an emergency meeting held last week: Andrew Clyde, who is also a candidate for Congress, wants an injunction on the order, which does not require gun shops to close but does require other Athens businesses to shut down in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Following is a brief excerpt from the lawsuit…

This is a civil action for declaratory, injunctive, and other equitable relief on behalf of the

Plaintiff, whose business operations have been and will continue to be subject to unduly intrusive

requirements under the Shelter in Place Ordinance. As explained herein, the Shelter in Place

Ordinance violates the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of

Georgia. Accordingly, this Court should hold it as unlawful, enjoin Defendant Drake and

Defendant Williams and their subordinates from enforcing it, declare Plaintiff’s right to carry on

its business operations as an essential business under Georgia law, and award Plaintiff its costs,

including reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b).

The Shelter in Place Ordinance is in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection

guarantees of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Georgia because

there is no rational basis that requires gun stores to cease their business operations. See e.g., Old

South Duck Tours v. Mayor & Alderman of City of Savannah, 272 Ga. 869 (2000).

The Shelter in Place Ordinance’s overly broad and vague language permits Defendants to

arbitrarily interfere with the day-to-day business operations by permitting them to arbitrarily define

which businesses are and are not “Essential Businesses,” which are generally exempt from the

Shelter in Place Ordinance. See Bullock v. City of Dallas, 248 Ga. 164 (1991).

The classification and distinctions created by the Shelter in Place Ordinance are arbitrary

and capricious and bear no rational basis to the purpose of the Shelter in Place Ordinance.

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