UPDATE 9:30 p.m. Thursday:
The plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit attempting to block Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order temporarily banning all weapons on Capitol grounds have now filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The Virginia Office of the Attorney General announced the appeal Thursday night and said the office anticipates filed a response Friday.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A lawsuit challenging Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order temporarily banning all weapons on Capitol grounds was denied by a judge in Richmond on Thursday. Northam (D) signed the executive order ahead of next week’s pro-gun rally on Lobby Day.
The plaintiffs in the suit, the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, who did threaten legal action before Northam made his announcement Wednesday, Gun Owners of America, Erich Pratt, John Velleco and Kenneth Van Wyk, were asking for an immediate hold on the governor’s ban.
The lawsuit claimed Northam’s executive order violated citizens’ First Amendment rights.
Chain-link fences being put up around the State Capitol ahead of Lobby Day Monday.
““We have seen before in the Commonwealth that large, heavily armed crowds in a confined space can create an extremely dangerous situation and I want to commend Governor Northam for taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of Virginians,” said Attorney General Herring. “There have been multiple, credible threats of violence and individuals from across the country have expressed their intent to descend on our Capitol, including three white nationalists who were arrested earlier today by the FBI. I am pleased that the injunction has been denied. My top priority as attorney general has always been to protect all Virginians. So to those who would come here intending to incite violence I simply say stay home. Don’t come to Virginia. Don’t come to Richmond.”– AG Mark Herring
“On Monday, thousands of people plan to participate in the democratic process by assembling and petitioning their government in Richmond. This year’s expanded presence is a direct response to the numerous pieces of legislation seeking to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens here in Virginia.”– Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach)
“While I understand the need for safety, I believe these actions deliberately create an unwarranted level of fear and will prevent thousands of law-abiding Virginians from exercising their Constitutional rights as guaranteed by both the First and Second Amendments. These restrictions on weapons only serve to handicap law-abiding citizens, and will do nothing to make us safer.”
“Second Amendment Lobby Day has occurred without incident for as long as I have been a member of the General Assembly. Precautions against potential agitators are appropriate, but Virginians should be made to feel welcome at their Capitol, not unwanted. I wish to thank local, state, and capitol police, who carry the heavy burden of enforcing Governor Northam’s declaration, and extend my sincere appreciation for their commitment to the safety of our visitors.”
“My door will be open on Monday, as it is every day. I look forward to meeting with constituents and fellow Virginians who take the time to travel to Richmond to express their views with their legislators.”