Tumultuous Court Review Preceded Virginia Gun Rally — But No One Hurt

Virginia has been somewhat of a hotbed for Second Amendment rights activism lately. We’ve heard a lot about militias forming or calls for creating “sanctuary cities” for those who want to keep their guns. Of course, no one is really threatening to take guns away from Americans anywhere. But as calls for universal background checks and increased restrictions are on the rise (along with mass shootings), the fear is there.

Before the recent gun rally, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made a tacit response to an attempt by gun rights activists to overturn a temporary ban on firearms because of the rally. He asked the court to deny their appeal.

The appeal was made in the Supreme Court of Virginia by gun rights groups, including Gun Owners of America, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, etc.

The temporary ban on weapons (restricting all weapons, including sticks and stones) was filed after Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency after he received “credible, serious threats” from militia groups. Northam said that some of the threats described “weaponized drones” and “storming the Capitol.”

The appeal argued that Northam had no right or authority to enact the ban (fact check: he’s the governor, he absolutely has the authority).

Regardless, the rally occurred without violence.

But gun rights activists will be up in arms about the Virginia “red flag” law that just passed through the state senate. The law provides police with the option to “temporarily” seize firearms from those who are deemed a threat to the rest of society. Gun rights advocates object to the new law, which was part of the reason they held a rally in the first place. 

Still, the law isn’t so different from restricting firearms from those who are convicted of violent crimes. The only difference is now a person can have their firearms taken away for making blatant threats, too.

Senator Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield) said, “Each legislator that votes in favor of this bill in my opinion is a traitor to Virginia, a traitor to the Second Amendment and a traitor to our constitutional freedoms.”

Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) responded, “I am deeply offended.” She threatened to make a formal complaint against Chase for allegedly violating Senate rules that govern how members can speak to one another.

Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham) said, “I’m not going to invoke any highflying rhetoric. I think we’re all about trying to keep Virginia safer. However, we have very differing views.”

But highflying rhetoric seemed to be par for the course. Senator A. Benton Chafin Jr. (R-Russell) said, “Bloodshed…will occur as a result of this bill.”