va capitol gun rights VCDL
The Virginia state Capitol building is surrounded by fencing in preparation for Monday's rally by gun rights advocates. (Dean Hoffmeyer/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
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[ED: Yesterday a Virginia Circuit Court judge denied the VCDL’s request for an injunction to block Governor Northam’s emergency gun ban executive order. The judge based her denial on the Heller decision’s ruling that gun rights are not unlimited and that prohibitions of firearms in “sensitive places such as schools or government buildings” is reasonable.]

By Denise Lavoie, AP

A gun-rights group has filed an emergency appeal of a judge’s ruling upholding the Virginia governor’s ban on firearms at a pro-gun rally that’s expected to draw thousands of gun activists to the state Capitol on Monday.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America sought an injunction against the ban, but Judge Joi Taylor ruled Thursday that Gov. Ralph Northam has the authority under state law to take action related to “the safety and welfare” of the state. The group’s lawyers then turned to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

“Without relief from this court, petitioners and thousands of other rally participants will be irreparably denied their right to bear arms,” the groups’ attorneys argue in their appeal.

It was not immediately clear when the court would hear the appeal.

In her written decision, Taylor cited rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts that found the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not unlimited. Because of that, she wrote, the gun-rights groups would not “suffer an irreparable harm” sufficient to justify the injunction.

The judge’s ruling came hours after the FBI in Maryland announced the arrest of three men who they said were linked to a violent white supremacist group. The three men were believed to be planning to attend the rally in Richmond, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation.

Virginia’s solicitor general, Toby Heytens, argued at Thursday’s hearing that the governor was well within his authority to declare the state of emergency and ban weapons after law enforcement identified “credible evidence” that armed out-of-state groups planned to come to Virginia with the possible intention of participating in a “violent insurrection.”

David Browne, an attorney for the gun-rights groups, argued that prohibiting rallygoers from carrying guns would violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms and their First Amendment right to free speech. Browne said carrying guns is a form of symbolic speech.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League — the gun-rights group sponsoring Monday’s rally — called the judge’s ruling “mind-boggling.”

Northam applauded the ruling in a statement.

“I took this action to protect Virginians from credible threats of violence,” he said. “These threats are real — as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms.”

Virginia senators were debating a package of gun-control bills as the court challenges developed.

The Democrat-led Senate advanced legislation limiting handgun purchases to once a month, requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, and allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas. The measures largely passed along partisan lines and will now go to the House for consideration.

Democrats said they were reasonable measures that would improve public safety while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. They said the public had made clear by voting for Democrats in recent elections that new gun laws were needed.

“The citizens in this last two elections have spoken,” said Democratic Sen. Dave Marsden.

Republicans decried the legislation as an assault on the Second Amendment. They said the bill was aimed at appeasing special interest groups and donors such as Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg. GOP senators said the new laws would entrap innocent people and do nothing to stop bad actors.

“This may be what you think is safety, but it is not,” said Republican Sen. Bill Stanley.

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    • OK to ignore the law so long as the tyrant claims it’s necessary for public safety, apparently.

      • By Northam’s standard and this activist judge, he can cite a Tweet from a single Antifa soyboy as reason to declare a state-wide emergency and issue a blanket gun free zone.

        The judge didn’t even address the law that specifically forbids him from doing exactly what he is doing. She just rationalized his actions.

        If the appeal fails, everyone at the rally should demand blankets, food and beds, as Governor Blackface declared the 14 acres as a “shelter” for purposes of avoiding the law. Make him pay for his crime.

        • Heckler’s veto. Using this tactic it would be possible to shut down just about any event.

          Of course in practice the events the governor wanted to proceed would still proceed because he’s not even going to pretend to be intellectually consistent about it.

        • I doubt this is even his plan. More like its Bloomburg’s plan and Northam is just his puppet.

        • Because decisions claiming that the Second Amendment rights are not unlimited, we now have a kinda-sorta, sometimes Bill of Rights. That’s why the founding fathers did not put exceptions on inalienable rights. that would defy the meaning of inalienable.

      • “OK to ignore the law so long as the tyrant claims it’s necessary for public safety, apparently.”

        Very true.

        “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants;
        it is the creed of slaves.”

        – William Pitt (the Younger), speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783

  1. Judge in government kourts: But guys, he used the word shelter in the declaration, it’s all good. Man, waaayyyy overdue for some peaceful, armed disobedience. The states are kneeling in front of the ditch while the anti s but a bullet through the back of the head down the line.

  2. Am I the only one who finds it oh so “convenient” that the FBI just “happened” to arrest these guys at this very moment?

    • You’re implying there is a conspiracy at play, but the less complicated explanation is that the FBI arrested these guys right now because they were on the move to his event with intent to cause harm. The event and the arrest are related, sure, but for pretty obvious and aboveboard reasons. Personally, I’d rather not have drugged out illegal aliens show up at a peaceful 2A demonstration to undermine the cause and make everyone else look bad, so I’m glad they stopped this crew.

      • But they still made pro 2A supporters look bad before the event even started. Its likely a case of selective enforcement steming from political pressure from up top.

      • Perhaps, but keep in mind that they were watching this guy when he was at a gun range and fired a full auto weapon. He is quoted as saying something like “oops looks like I accidentally made a machine gun.” Why didn’t they arrest him on the spot? Not trying to be a conspiracy nut here but it smells.

        • I’m having a hard time buying that. “accidentally making a machine gun” is not a likely result of any AR build. I help young and inexperienced people build AR’s as often as I can.

          • I understand. I’ve built a couple myself. Can’t “accidentally” make a machine gun. I know how to do it but never have. My point was that the news report said that he said it. If the FBI was watching him why was he not arrested on the spot. Smells bad.

  3. Scalia screwed up. Every leftist judge quotes his line “it’s not unlimited”. Heller was supposed to preserve the 2A but instead it’s allowed a bunch of leftist judges to rule against it time and time again.

    • Scalia also cited Miller, and then violated the Miller precedent that Military grade weapons were specifically protected by falsely claiming M-16’s and the like were not protected.

      • Let’s see what remedy ‘The Thomas-nator’ has for us in a few months.

        EDIT – If Roberts lets him…

        *mutter* 🙁

  4. So under a dubious “credible threat” theory it’s ok for a Gov to suspend the Constitutional rights of everyone in the entire nation (yes, that is what he did) but POTUS cannot authorize a strike against the world’s most wanted terrorist?

      • Funny how Trump is talking about other countries while his is clashing and tensions are rising. But he did say white nationalism should be taken care of with rapid due process and the death penalty. Also speech that sounds like white identity politics should be considered hate speech and punished.

  5. “…Shall not be infringed…”
    Seems pretty clear to me. I guess we need to sort this out the old fashioned way…

  6. “I took this action to protect Virginians from credible threats of violence. These threats are real — as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms.” — Virginia Governor Northam

    Someone who will commit assault-and-battery or murder will surely violate Governor Northam’s Emergency Order prohibiting firearms.

    Therefore, Governor Northam’s Emergency Order does absolutely nothing to protect Virginians.

    Rather, Governor Northam’s Emergency Order increases the vulnerability of rally participants and actually endangers Virginians.

    • That’s why he has asked many agencies to be there to surround the area with guns and lock down the area.

      There is even implication the feds are going to be sneaking around the area anticipating an attack. They did just do a bust on some of the people they have been monitoring for this event. Trump seems to have green lighted the operations.

      • “Trump seems to have green lighted the operations.”


        • The fact the feds are monitoring white supremacists and accelerationists as domestic terrorists. And how Trump passes executive orders to limit their speech. He has ordered FBI to red flag them if they can. He setup a squads to go into the states to enforce gun control and immigration laws. Then there is silence on the issue of Virginia. Remember when he called for the death penalty for white supremacists? It goes on and on.

          The FBI and ATF are now under Trump’s control. What they do is because of Trump. Like when they listened to Trump’s order to reclassify gun related items that Obama’s ATF allowed to be sold lawfully.

          You don’t see Trump campaigning in opposition to gun control and the take over of Virginia. He is more busy talking about Iran’s protests, foreign nation politics and his personal affairs with impeachment.

          Even the NRA doesn’t feel the need to do anything against the Democrats.

          So Americans are fighting the NRA, Trump, FBI, ATF, Democrats, billionaires, the supreme court, corporations, etc. And you wonder why you haven’t made America great again?

  7. The Virginia governor’s targeting of law-abiding gun owners by wanting to pass laws to control and confiscate their firearms to control crime is directed at the wrong group of citizens. After all, it is not the gun owners who are breaking laws or committing crime. In fact, law abiding gun owners are a powerful and solid deterrent against crime in every community in our country.
    If he and his judges truly want to reduce crime in their communities as they claim, they will target the criminals committing crime, arrest them by enforcing the laws that are already in place, and prosecute them. By doing this, this governor and other governors would form a solid platform to govern because this makes sense and is what people want.

        • WHY they did it is hardly a mystery. The fact that they CAN do it without a ballot measure is a bit shocking. And I dunno about your state, but wouldn’t put it past the Republican majority in mine to do the exact same thing if they felt threatened.

          Neither party is a friend to the people.

  8. Democrats said [their bills infringing on our inalienable right to keep and bear arms] were reasonable measures that would improve public safety while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. They said the public had made clear by voting for Democrats in recent elections that new gun laws were needed.

    Suppose that a political party ran on a platform that included decriminalizing “minor” sexual assault. They claim that groping and fondling women does not violate a woman’s bodily rights. And legalizing this kind of activity is a reasonable measure which will ensure the safety of men and free them from “frivolous he said-she said” legal actions which is good for society.

    If they win their election, does that mean they are right to declare that groping and fondling women is okay and is no longer a crime? After all, groping and fondling women is no big deal and nowhere close to full-blown rape.

    • The NRA can normally contribute *votes*, up to 5 million and even more. They do not have the *money* to compete with a billionaire, particularly after emptying their coffers to defeat Hillary in 2016. Question is, how many votes can a billionaire buy, and how many still listen to the NRA. People are making their bets.

  9. There was no mandate. More Republicans voted than democrats, 17 seats were unchallenged, and there was last minute redrawing of districts.

    Marsden was looking extremely smug and displeased at the NRA event last Monday. Always had two capitol police with him when he was walking around the lobby.

    • Naw, an old guy from Cali helped orchestrate the gerrymandering. Made it harder to vote out the Dems

      • But there is supposed to be so many Republicans in Virginia that there is no way the Democrats can take over through legal means.

  10. Elections have consequences folks. Maybe the next election maybe people will actually see the need to vote.

    • Some Libertarians advise not to vote because it legitimizes the system and it’s immoral. I disagree with them. I think they are saying that because they don’t want things to change course.

      Voting can be pragmatic strategy if you don’t vote down party lines. That’s a long game affair.

      • I’ve never met a libertarian with this attitude. Maybe one or two of the infantile writers at Reason think that but in my experience, they’re largely socialists and not classical liberals.

        I never miss an opportunity to vote, even if I have to write in candidates

        • Libertarians are not socialists, they are for freedom for the people as stated in the Constitution and BOR. They are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. They do not believe in handing out money to people, corporations, other countries, etc. They do support people that want to help themselves and fight legislation(designed to keep monopolistic companies on top). They are pro-competition and believe in free trade.

        • Thanks for the classroom time. I’m pretty well-versed, however…

          Read the post you were responding to again

  11. Since Antifa has declared that they will be there and we all know that violence always follow them where they go, the governor can meet them at the edge of the capital and turn them away.

      • That would be dumb because that puts people outside police protection in more risk of attack.

        Are you working with Antifa? Are you trying to get disarmed people to walk through Antifa to get to the restricted zone?

        They did that last time. The result was a failed event and a bunch of people getting beaten while police stood where ordered to.

  12. Ye Olde gov sounds like a Chavez or some old eastern European dictator declaring a non-existent emergency in order to declare some kind of martial law against disgruntled law-abiding citizens. He should be reminded that he is messing with the U.S. Constitution.

    • He already knows that. He is doing the bidding of his Masters, Soros and Bloomberg in their efforts to negate the Bill of Rights. He, and they, are rank traitors who need to be charged with treason, tried and if found guilty, hanged.

      • More correctly hung, drawn and quartered. It was still legal in 18th century British Law (in fact the last use of this form of punishment was in the 19th Century in Canada). Wasn’t that the punishment risked by those in the Colonies who rose against the Crown? Since we have no monarch and recognize no sovereign other than “The People,” by the principle of “Lèse-majesté,” any affront to the people is a capital act of treason against the ruler, the People.

  13. West Virginia has invited you to join their state, do so and let Mr. Blackface run a state that is about the size of DC.
    Dems. don’t like to pay taxes with their money. The tax base will be reduced and services will as well.

  14. As is the case with Second Amedment Rights, the power of elected officials is not without limits either.

  15. If this was about the “safety and welfare” of the state it would not be happening. Clearly the judge has no idea of the number of DGUs in the US or doesn’t care. Things like this should be based on facts and not emotions….

    • “…simply shut down the roads leading to the capital.”

      That can work, providing you have hundreds of people willing to get their vehicles impounded and then the drivers likely charged with something trumped-up.

      Break out your Rolodex and start making calls…

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