A constitutionally-minded Virginia judge is siding with gun rights groups feeling restrained by that state’s lockdown.
Lynchburg Judge F. Patrick Yeatts ruled that a gun range could stay open, declaring that Governor Ralph Northam (D) did not have the authority to close businesses that are integral to the right to keep and bear arms.
Yeatts explained that protections afforded the Second Amendment outweighed any power provided to Northam. (Daily Caller)
SafeSide gun range and a handful of gun rights groups brought the case against the state over Northam’s stay-at-home order, which ordered residents to temporarily avoid unnecessary travel, large gatherings, as well as closed non-essential businesses which included shooting ranges.
SafeSide, Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America, the Association of Virginia Gun Ranges and the Virginia Citizens Defense League accused the state of violating the constitutional rights afforded by the Second Amendment, the Hill reported.
“The Governor has no such power. He is barred from closing shooting ranges under the Virginia ‘Emergency Services and Disaster Law,’” the groups said in the suit, according to the Hill. “But even more importantly, his closure order infringes on rights recognized and protected by Article I, 13 of the Virginia Constitution and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring filed a motion last week reportedly arguing the governor did possess the “constitutional authority” to take such action in a crisis, and that the Constitution did not afford the right to “operate an indoor shooting range.”