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Democratic Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam in preparation for a guns right rally planned next week declared a state of emergency and put a ban on individuals from being able to carry weapons on the grounds of the state capitol
On January 15th Northam made a statement to reporters, “Law enforcement intelligence analysts have identified credible threats of violence surrounding the event, along with white nationalist rhetoric and plans by out-of-state militia groups to attend.”
All weapons including guns have been banned from the Capitol Square starting at 5pm on Friday until 5pm Tuesday due to this emergency declaration
Democratic leaders convened on Friday to utilize a special rules committee to vote to ban guns at the state capitol. They believed that this move was imperative to protect the safety of the public
However, only the governor has the power to change the gun policy on the Capitol Square, where gun enthusiasts will rally on Jan. 20.
Democrats attempted to divert the blame from themselves and put it on the Capitol Police
“I just have to say that this is something that’s been recommended by our Capitol Police,” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring said before the vote. “And I think there are times when we sort of have to trust what our law enforcement officers are telling us.”
However the police chief for the Capitol Police was not about to take on the responsibility for the most unpopular policy change so far this year
Anthony Pike, Capitol Police Colonel, never advised legislators to ban guns in the state house, but rather answered their question about how to implement a ban after the vote had occurred.
Republican became enraged after they learned the truth regarding the role the Capitol police played in making the new policy
“That was a deliberate misrepresentation,” said Republican Virginia State Delegate Kirk Cox said. “There’s just no way around that.”
Multiple Republican lawmakers carry concealed weapons while they are at the legislature.
Virginia law prohibits the arrest of legislators during legislative sessions except for egregious crimes.
Despite the gun ban Colonel Pike stated that they would not arrest Republican lawmakers who carry concealed weapons during that time period
Gun Owners of America, Inc. (GOA), Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), and citizens Kenneth VanWyk, Erich Pratt, and John Velleco, filed a lawsuit and are all planning to be in attendance at Monday’s rally on Capitol grounds.
Of the three individuals filing the lawsuit, two are executive members of the GOA, and the third is a member of the VCDL.
The plaintiffs argue in their lawsuit that Northam does not have the authority to issue this type of ban and that it infringes on their 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights.
A Richmond Judge denied a motion challenging the ban and Northam’s executive order to temporarily ban all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a pro run rally is upheld. Which means that the ban will go into effect Friday through Tuesday