Indoor Gun Ranges Are Not Places of Amusement: Virginia Judge Overturns Gov. Northam’s Order

A Virginian Judge used a law that Gov. Northam supported to overturn his order that directed indoor gun ranges to close down with other non-essential businesses during the emergency period. SafeSide Lynchburg, Virginia Citizens Defense League, Association of Virginia Gun Ranges, and other gun rights groups had filed the lawsuit against Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 53 issued March 23 and amended on April 15, 2020. The ruling will take effect immediately and remain in force until the expiry of the Executive Order 53 in May 2020 or unless the court issues another order.


In his ruling, Judge F. Patrick Yeatts declared that the Virginian constitution provides for the Second Amendment rights that include the ability for trained people to bear arms. According to the judge, this right consists of the ability to shoot guns at a range as well as training through target practicing. The ruling, therefore, concluded that indoor gun ranges were protected by the Second Amendment.


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Because the rights to bear arms are protected by Virginia’s constitution and the Second Amendment, the court ruled that the governor cannot limit or prohibit the rights of people to bear arms. Gov. Northam, while serving as a senator, supported the law that limited the powers of the head of state to limit Second Amendment rights during an emergency.


The court also debunked Gov. Northam’s argument economic concerns were not enough to force reopening of the indoor gun ranges. Judge Yeatts also agreed with the plaintiffs that indoor shooting ranges would suffer irreparable damage if not allowed to reopen.


Gov. Northam’s argument that there were alternatives to indoor shooting ranges also went up in smoke. The judge noted that the Virginia constitution prevents people from shooting outside of designated areas. In places without outdoor gun ranges such as Lynchburg, the judge argued that shooting firearms for practice should not be exclusive to the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.


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