RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a temporary weapons ban on Capitol Square ordered by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) ahead of a planned gun rally during Monday’s Lobby Day.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America, aimed to block Northam’s executive order temporarily banning firearms and all other weapons from Capitol grounds. A Richmond Circuit Court judge denied their injunction request on Thursday.
The VCDL and Gun Owners of America filed their appeal late Thursday night, arguing the Circuit Court judge erred when she denied their request to overturn Northam’s temporary ban on guns on Capitol grounds. Their lawyer said the judge disregarded a Virginia code that prohibits the governor from using a declaration of emergency to ban firearms.
On Friday, Attorney General Mark Herring urged the Virginia Supreme Court to help prevent tragic violence and reject any effort to overturn Northam’s executive order. Herring pointed to credible threats noted by the governor earlier in the week.
“There have been individuals on Capitol Square that have had surveillance operations looking at our entry and exit points,” Northam said during a Wednesday press conference where he announced the weapons ban.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary Settle said their intelligence supported Northam’s claims of security threats.
“The potential threats associated with the particular event do cause us concern as a unified command and heightened our awareness,” Settle explained.
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.