Northam's Capitol Square Gun Ban Upheld By Court, Appeal To Follow

A Virginia judge Thursday afternoon denied a request by the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the Gun Owners of America to block Governor Ralph Northam’s ban on firearms in Capitol Square during Monday’s Lobby Day activities and rally that’s expected to bring tens of thousands of gun owners to the capitol.

Speaking to Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. shortly before the suit was filed, Van Cleave said Virginia statutes are clear that the governor only has the power to ban firearms from emergency shelters during a state of emergency, and the 14-acre Capitol Square is a public space, not an emergency shelter. You can read the entire filing here, but it’s worth noting that according to the filing, both Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring voted in favor of limiting the governor’s ability to regulate firearms during a state of emergency when the law was changed during the 2012 session.

In Judge Joi Taylor’s ruling late Thursday afternoon, she failed to address the 2012 law cited by the VCDL and GOA, simply stating that during a state of emergency courts must give deference to those tasked with making “complex, subtle, and professional decisions.”

Taylor did file her response early enough for an appeal to take place, and hopefully the appeals court will pay more attention to the section of Virginia law that expressly forbids the governor from enacting a gun ban during a state of emergency, except in “emergency shelters”.

On today’s show Van Cleave also discusses some of the logistics for Lobby Day, and it’s important to note that even if the governor’s ban on firearms is ultimately blocked by the courts, all other weapons will still be legally banned from Capitol Square. That means the security procedures will still be in place Monday morning; one entrance with multiple magnetometers to screen those who want to participate in the Lobby Day activities and rally from the capitol grounds. Van Cleave also notes that areas adjacent to the capitol grounds will be open to those who want to legally carry.

The Capitol Police will allow 10,000 individuals onto the capitol grounds, but we really have no idea how many folks to expect on Monday. Governor Northam is doing his best to drive down attendance, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 20-30,000 people in downtown Richmond Monday morning, and there’s a distinct possibility that we’ll see a far larger crowd.

Be sure to check out the entire interview with Phillip Van Cleave above, and don’t forget to subscribe to the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and the podcast page. Thanks as always for watching and listening, and be sure to tune in tomorrow when my guest will be West Virginia Del. Gary Howell, who’s one of the sponsors of a resolution that offers to annex any Virginia county, city, or town, that wants to leave their current state and align themselves with a more 2A friendly government.

Thanks as always for watching, listening, and spreading the word!