Right now, we have millions upon millions of new gun owners in this country. As COVID-19 concerns started sprouting up, many people picked up a firearm for self-defense. It was a major shot in the arm for an ailing firearm industry.
However, that means you also have a significantly large number of new, untrained gun owners. You also have some who have undergone some form of training years previously but haven’t touched a gun in ages. Shooting is a perishable skill, after all, so while they might be safe enough, they still aren’t necessarily able to hit the broad side of a barn.
They need practice.
The situation may be even more dire in Virginia. After all, with Northam’s push for more gun control, there’s been a surge in gun sales since well before the ‘Rona was an issue.
Yet Northam’s ordered indoor gun ranges to be closed, which has one range taking the issue to court.
On Friday, David Browne, an attorney representing SafeSide Tactical Lynchburg, several indoor gun ranges across Virginia, and gun right advocates like the Virginia Citizens Defense League pleaded before a Lynchburg judge through a virtual hearing.
The gun right advocates say Governor Ralph Northam crossed the line when his executive order shut down indoor gun ranges last month.
The group wants to overturn a part of Executive Order 53 that prohibits people from using indoor gun ranges.
Browne said the order violates the Second Amendment and indoor ranges should be allowed to stay open and operate during the state of emergency.
Toby Heytens represents Northam. He said the ban is temporary, outdoor gun ranges are still open and people can still buy a firearm if they want to.
The problem is that indoor ranges are often more convenient to where people live and work. It doesn’t require an all-day excursion just to squeeze in a bit of practice.
Especially since, as Heyten points out, gun stores are still open. So are a lot of other stores, to be sure. There’s really no reason to keep gun ranges closed, especially since the ventilation systems in such ranges are meant to keep people from breathing in lead, which means it’ll probably make it less likely anyone will catch COVID-19 at an indoor range assuming proper social distancing is observed.
Hell, it’ll probably do it even if people aren’t a full six feet apart.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about public health. It’s not about COVID-19 or trying to prevent people from getting sick. It’s simply a matter of Governor Ralph Northam hating guns and the people who use them. Believe me, if he thought he could get away with shutting all ranges down permanently, he would. He can’t and he knows it and likely thought leaving outdoor ranges open would be enough to placate judges.
I sincerely hope he thought wrong.
As it is, people need to be able to practice with their weapons, to become proficient with them so that can be safe while using them. The Four Rules are fantastic, but they only go so far. You need to know what you’re doing if you need to deploy a firearm in a defensive situation and that means range time.
Northam is getting in the way of people’s right to bear arms anyway. Let’s hope the judge sees reason.