Update (1/18 9:21 AM): The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to overturn Governor Northam’s gun ban at the capital because, according to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, “they did not have enough information on the stay denied by the lower court to issue their own stay.” The VCDL is urging 10,000 rally-goers to “take one for the team” to fill the gun-free zone with Second Amendment supporters. Those who wish to attend armed can still do so, but they must stay outside the fence on 9th street.
Update (1/17 7:12 AM): The Virginia Citizens Defense League released the following statement regarding their lawsuit against Governor Northam:
… the legal teams of both VCDL and Gun Owners of America (GOA) sought an injunction against enforcement of Northam’s Executive Order No. 49 (EO-49). Unfortunately, the Circuit Court denied our request for an injunction. Both VCDL and GOA believe the court erred in it’s decision and our legal team immediately filed an Emergency Petition for Review with the Virginia Supreme Court.
The news from Virginia is coming in fast, but we have the latest.
First up, in response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s state of emergency declaration banning firearms in downtown Richmond, the Virginia Citizens Defense League announced a plan to take legal action against Northam’s administration.
“VCDL believes that this gun ban is illegal,” said the group’s president, Philip Van Cleave. “Our legal team is looking at our options and we will keep you advised as soon as we have a definitive plan.”
Grounds for the suit would stem from a 2012 Virginia law that restricts how the governor can limit gun rights during a state of emergency. The law prohibits the governor from limiting the rights of the people to keep and bear arms except “to the extent necessary to ensure public safety in any place or facility designated or used by the Governor… as an emergency shelter or for the purpose of sheltering persons.”
SEE ALSO: Everytown Slams NRA for ‘Outrageous’ 30-Round Mag Giveaway At Virginia Statehouse As Committee Advances 4 Gun-Control Bills
Northam’s executive order banned firearm possession on a 14-acre plot in downtown Richmond, which he attempted to designate as a “shelter”:
To provide for the shelter and safety of state employees who work on or near the Virginia State Capitol and those who come to peacefully assemble… no weapons, including firearms, may be carried or possessed on any land, real property, or improvements owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia within the area bounded by Broad Street, Ninth Street, Bank Street and Governor Street in the City of Richmond, Virginia.
Former Virginia Delegate Mike Watson called out Northam’s blatant attempt to get around the law.
So the Governor has declared the Capitol Grounds a “Shelter” in order to get around the law. I’m curious how many times a 14 acre plot of land has been designated an emergency shelter?— Mike Watson_Virginia (@MikeWatson_VA) January 15, 2020
Northam’s case appears weak, but the VCDL might not have enough time to secure the injunction they need. The rally is scheduled for Monday, which means they’ll likely need to secure a hearing today or tomorrow.
Speaking of timing, Virginia delegates have until Friday to propose new gun control legislation, and several delegates are trying to sneak their proposals under the pro-gun media radar.
One bill, for example, would impose a 10 percent tax on guns and ammunition, minus the other sales taxes levied by the Commonwealth. In other words, since Virginia has a 5.3 percent sales tax, the bill would add an additional 4.7 percent tax in most locations.
SEE ALSO: Virginia Watch: Bill Would Shut Down Non-Gov’t Owned Shooting Ranges, Including NRA Facility
The money collected by the tax will be used to fund a new Student Mental Health and Safety Fund, which will be used to help public schools pay for full-time school counselors.
While gun owners frequently support efforts to fund mental health care, it’s unclear why they should be the only demographic to foot the bill.
Plus, given the anti-gun stance of the bill’s author, Mark Levine, the legislation appears to be geared more towards restricting access to guns and ammo than funding school counselors.
The muskets of our founding fathers also did not contain 30-bullet magazines. And if you think your AR-15 will do diddly against the full might and power of the United States military, you need to talk to someone who has served there. https://t.co/BNRiIYEmhX— Mark Levine (@DelegateMark) January 14, 2020
More to come. Stay tuned.