- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2020

Young Americans for Liberty president Cliff Maloney has sued a Florida official for stymying his attempt to obtain a firearm amid social distancing restrictions in response to coronavirus.

Mr. Maloney filed a lawsuit on Friday against Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried stemming from her decision to suspend online applications for concealed weapons licenses amid the coronavirus outbreak. Open carry of firearms in the Sunshine State is only permissible in specific instances, such as for hunting and target shooting.

“Nikki Fried thinks that your right to self-defense is negotiable. She’s wrong,” said Mr. Maloney in a statement. “This is a blatant disregard for the rule of law, and I will not idly sit by while Nikki Fried uses this crisis to enact her gun-grabbing agenda. I encourage all Americans to join this fight for our rights. We either believe in liberty in times of crisis or we do not believe in liberty at all.”

Ms. Fried did not respond to request for comment and her office was closed on Friday amid coronavirus restrictions on her workplace.

Florida Consumers First, a political committee registered in Florida, distributed an email in Ms. Fried’s name to supporters this week claiming gun rights supporters were coming after her. Ms. Fried appears to reference Mr. Maloney’s earlier threat of a lawsuit against her in the mailer, which Mr. Maloney included in his lawsuit.

“[N]ow, an obscure right-wing fringe group said I could expect a lawsuit for “infringing” on Floridian’s rights,” reads the mailer in Ms. Fried’s name. “They can’t handle that we’ve brought full accountability and background checks to Florida’s 2 million concealed weapons licenses, while making the program more efficient. It doesn’t fit the narrative of the out-of-touch, out-of-control [National Rifle Association] and its cohorts.”

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