Judge denies attempt to overturn Gov. Northam’s gun ban; plaintiffs file appeal challenging ruling

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jan 16, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. - A judge has denied an attempt by pro-gun groups to overturn Gov. Ralph Northam's temporary gun ban at the Capitol grounds.

Governor Northam issued the executive order on Wednesday as law enforcement gear up for a major gun rally at the State Capitol on Monday.

Later Thursday, CBS6 reporter Cam Thompson reported that the plaintiffs in the case filed an appeal challenging the judge's ruling.

According to WTVR, the lawsuit was filed by Gun Owners of America, Inc. (GOA), the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and citizens Kenneth VanWyk, Erich Pratt and John Velleco, all of whom are planning to attend Monday’s rally on Capitol grounds.

Of the three people who are filing the lawsuit, two are executive members of the GOA and the third is a member of the VCDL.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue the firearm ban infringes on their First and Second Amendment Rights and that the governor doesn’t have the authority to issue such a ban.

However, the solicitor general, arguing on behalf of the government, said Northam does have the authority and that the ban doesn’t infringe on First or Second Amendment rights.

Northam’s emergency order will ban weapons of all kinds, including firearms, from the Capitol grounds starting Friday because of potential violence during the gun rights rally.

Click here for full coverage of the Richmond gun-rights rally on Lobby Day

The gun rights groups tried to overturn the ban, saying Northam doesn't have the authority to implement it, but the judge disagreed.

Gov. Ralph Northam

"This is the right decision. These threats are real—as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms," Northam said in a statement following the ruling.

Northam's statement references the arrest of the three men accused of being part of a white supremacist group called The Base. Investigators say the three had weapons. Reports say the group had discussed attending the rally on Monday.

Locally, busloads of people from Hampton Roads will be attending the rally. Among them is Jimmy Frost from Virginia Beach. He plans to respect the ban. "My goal is to just go up and use the first amendment to defend the Second Amendment. If I have to go up there unarmed to do it, then I have no problem with that," Frost told News 3.

Click here for full coverage of Second Amendment sanctuary city efforts.