A former police officer turned fire academy owner is suing the state of Massachusetts over a COVID-19 grant program designated for specific races, sexes and sexual orientations.
“It goes against everything we stand for as a nation. It’s blatantly unconstitutional. There’s no defense to this,” New England Firearms Academy owner Brian Dalton said on “Fox & Friends First” Friday.
Dalton moved to take legal action against Massachusett’s “Inclusive Recovery Grant Program,” which offers up to $75,000 in relief to small businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. The program stipulates that funds are available to specific demographics only.
“This program targets businesses that focus on reaching markets predominantly made up of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups, underserved markets, and those owned by minorities, women, veterans, immigrants, first-generation immigrants, disabled individuals, or those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community,” an overview of the program says.
Dalton says the relief would have been a “godsend to start off with” as his company struggled like many small businesses due to lockdowns.
“That money was crucial in an unprecedented time during COVID,” Dalton said. “I had to float the company on my own. What we did is we had to come up and pay every bit. I didn’t defer rent to where the academies were located. I didn’t do any of that. I paid that because I felt everyone was due their money.”
Dalton defended his business as all-inclusive, adding he’s not receiving help “because I’m a straight white male.”
“To have this happen was really just a kick. It was a pretty good kick to me and to us at the time, and I just can’t see how it went through.”
The lawsuit reasoned that the program is in violation of the 14th Amendment. Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Andrew Quinio joined Dalton on “Fox & Friends First” the further explain details of the suit.
“The Constitution as has been noted abhors racial classifications. Sex discrimination is presumptively invalid under the Constitution. The bottom line is the government, including Massachusetts, cannot treat individuals as mere components of race or sexual class or gender classes. They have to treat us and Mr. Dalton as individuals,” Quinio said.
According to Quinio, other states are also pushing programs like the one in Massachusetts that “push the envelope.”
“The different jurisdictions try and get away with this because they consistently push the envelope unless there’s someone pushing back,” he said. “Thankfully, folks, hardworking folks like Brian are helping push back.”
“These things are patently plain, plainly unconstitutional.”