A group of gun rights orgs, US Law Shield, a local gun store and four individuals have sued the city of Winchester, Virginia over an ordinance that limits where gun owners can carry firearms in the city. Virginia used to have a preemption law that prevented local governments from enacting their own gun control laws. But that ended last year when the Democrat-controlled legislature allowed localities to ban the “possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof,” even by concealed handgun permit holders in many locations.

The commonwealth’s anti-gun blackface-wearing governor was only too happy to sign the change into law.

From the VCDL’s press release . . .

For many years, all of Virginia’s gun laws were enacted by the General Assembly to apply to the entire Commonwealth.  That way, Virginians and visitors could live their lives and travel freely without worrying about violating a crazy quilt of city and county restrictions.  

All that changed on July 1, 2020, when Virginia empowered localities to ban firearms in certain locations. In response, a handful of left-leaning cities and counties, including the City of Winchester, have imposed such restrictions, which place Virginians at risk of spending up to a year in jail for violation of obscure, vague, and confusing ordinances.  

In those localities, firearms restrictions are being imposed at or near a wide range of public events where permits were or should have been issued, including parks. It is almost impossible to know where the law bans possession of firearms, but it even applies to a business that is open to the public from having its owner possess a firearm in the store at certain times. The Winchester ordinance contains no exemption for those with valid Concealed Carry Permits, or even for state judges.  

That’s what’s prompted the plaintiffs to file suit.

Now, Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation, U.S. Law Shield of Virginia, Stonewall Arms, and several individuals have filed suit against the City of Winchester and its Chief of Police. This suit asks the Court to enjoin Winchester from violating the constitutional rights of Virginians to “keep and bear” arms so they can defend themselves when living, working, and traveling within the city of Winchester. 

They complaint argues that the City of Winchester’s new ordinance violates the commonwealth’s constitution.

The suit alleges that the Winchester ordinance violates no fewer than four provisions of the Virginia Constitution — those protecting:  (i) the right to keep and bear arms; (ii) the right to be afforded due process of law by being given clear notice of what a criminal law prohibits; (iii) the right to free speech and assembly; and (iv) the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  

In addition to violating the Constitution, this ordinance puts residents of and visitors to Winchester into danger. The overwhelming number of mass shootings occur in “gun free zones,” where criminals know they will meet little resistance, and thus this ordinance increases the danger to every person who lives, works in, or visits Winchester.  

Other cities in the state have enacted similar ordinances since the legislature gutted the preemption law, so if this action is successful, expect the effort to be expanded throughout the state.

18 COMMENTS

    • If he didn’t weep when he banned firearms from the University of Virginia in 1824, then I’m pretty sure he’d get through this just fine.

      • Did he? Or was he merely present at a meeting where the ban was decided, w/o evidence of whether he supported the ban or opposed it but was outvoted?

  1. Since Gun Control is rooted in racism and genocide what does that make the people who pass Gun Control laws? Duh.

    Frankly this conceal carry permit holders that permits you to “wear a coat” is used way too much in such lawsuits for who gets to go where and do what. The 2A is as clear as the nose on your face, no permit or poll tax required.

  2. GFZ looks to me to be the steepest hill to climb.

    There are 3 alternative slopes to climb:
    1. – US Supreme Court
    2. – Congressional politics
    3. – local (state or municipal) politics

    The last ground I expect SCOTUS to explore will be the power of states and their municipalities to declare GFZs. If they are reluctant to resolve gun-carry under a May-Issue regime they wouldn’t touch GFZs ever.

    Congress is inclined to push gun-control, not to bar the states, or their municipalities, from gun-control.

    It is precisely local jurisdictions where the problem is created. When a municipality can create a checkerboard of red and black squares of prohibited/permitted zones they can make it impractical to carry anywhere. When 80% of your journeys will cross a “red” square you will decide to not carry at all.

    We need a strategy. And, I think this might be it. We need to lobby our states’ legislatures to remove the force-of-law from a private property owner’s GFZ sign. Yes, we respect the property owner’s right to ask a “trespasser” to leave. However, we won’t go so far as to empower a private property owner to invoke the power of government to create a crime out of the exercise of a right.

    Imagine a state law that makes it a CRIME to enter a private property posted: “No rosaries allowed” or, “No religious dress allowed”. What does it say about the rule-of-law when a private property owner can CREATE a crime out of exercising a right.

    It’s bad enough that a private property owner can invoke the police to eject a rosary carrier or a person in religious dress from his property. This alone offends one’s sense of the boundaries between power of the state and private property rights. Why should our state legislators empower property owners to go farther?

    This is a position I think might be pursuasive.

    • Piffle.

      All of that rhetoric crumbles when I decide to invite myself over to, oh I don’t know, let’s think of something outlandish, but still on point. How about shoot a live action porn movie in your living room? Or just on your driveway? Freedom of speech and all. So much for private property rights….

      Really, all you have is your desire to carry a gun wherever you want. You wrap it up in your rights, but that’s all it really is. If you gave a crap about rights, you would recognize the private property owner’s right to exclude others from his property. Instead, you blow right past his freedom of association and demand that government tip the scales in your favor by imposing bearing arms on property owners as the default. I know, I know, a shop is a public place. So F’ing what? It’s only unconstitutional court rulings that set that threshold as the standard in the first place. You want to use that as the basis for further unconstitutional infringements? Destroy the Constitution to save the Constitution?

      Your actual argument is, what, timing? After the fact instruction for armed trespassers to leave is ok, but pre-established communication via signage is not? C’mon, man….

      • “I know, I know, a shop is a public place.”

        What would be the expected result of a private business posting a sign on the door stating “No ni**ers allowed”, and when asked admitted they felt strongly about it?

        Are basic civil rights something a private property owner should be able to deny?

      • An individual shop owner displaying a sign that they don’t want firearms in their place of business is one thing. A local/state/federal law that outright bans firearms in those places for everyone, including the owner, is a violation of everyone’s rights. Now, the shop owner who doesn’t care, or encourages firearms in their place of business is legally prohibited from doing so. You’re missing the difference b/t individuals making a rule for their property and the gov’t mandating the rule for everyone with criminal penalties involved. Also, I personally think there is a difference in what could be considered reasonable depending on whether the place is your residence or a place of business.

        Even with letting individual business owners make their own decisions, you can still get into some iffy territory about what does and doesn’t violate the rights of others. Is someone within their rights to ban black people from their business? What if they demand that you consent to a search before entering? Can they ban entry based on religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation? If they can’t, why can they ban entry based upon whether or not you carry a firearm? Like it or not, the right to keep and bear arms IS a basic human right and should be honored and protected just like the others in the BORs.

        When you’re a business who openly invites in, and relies on customers entering your place of business, then I think you should not be able to deny them their various rights in order to maintain fairness and impartiality. If it was your home, then I think you should have complete control over that domain. If you want to deny entry based on race, sex, religion, age, etc then by all means, do so.

  3. I thought there were all these sanctuaries in Virginia? What happened to them?

    Probably as I thought being so useless as to make it a waste of time.

  4. I am still waiting for those gun control laws that will work with gang bangers who get their stuff via the black market, theft, or other means that do not require a background check, as well as with nutjobs who aren’t yet officially known to be completely nuts, those who are simply “known by the FBI” like 90% of the recent active shooters. I guess I am not going to hold my breath.

  5. I’ts not taking away your second ammendment rights. We’ve got to put a stop to the gunm epidemic in America. Banning AR’s, AK’s and other assault weapons, along with high capacity magazines is a step in the right direction.
    Lucky for us theBiden is president, now all the governors who were cowed down by Trump can do their thing to put an end to this gunm epidemic.

    • Can you tell me how many people are killed each year by rifles of all kinds and then tell me how many people are killed by hands/feet/blunt force objects and which one is greater? After you tell me how many people are killed by rifles of all kinds, can you then breakdown out of those how many were “assault weapons”?

      • I don’t recall the source, but so-called ‘assault weapons’ are a small fraction of all rifles…

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