Martinsville Va Wants To Play Hardball with Unlawful Gun Ban

Martinsville Va Wants To Play Hardball with Unlawful Gun Ban

Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA –-( On Tuesday night I addressed the Martinsville City Council on their unlawful gun ban that covers their entire municipal building.

Up until last year, they had their metal detectors only in the access points for their court-related areas. Then, at the request of the Sheriff, the judge declared the whole building a courthouse! The metal detectors were moved to the only public entrance, providing a complete gun ban.

I started by telling City Council that VCDL prefers to work its way up the ladder to see if a problem can be solved amicably rather than resorting to a lawsuit right out of the box.

I advised them that their ban on guns in the entire Municipal Building was unlawful under Virginia law and needed to be rescinded.

Since City Council was expecting my comments, they had a prepared rebuttal, which was read by a council member and also provided to me in written form:

“The policy banning weapons possession in this building was set out by a court order. The order was requested by the Sheriff, who is a state constitutional officer. The order was entered by a state circuit court judge. The judge found that this entire building is a courthouse–there is no reasonable way to separate the local and court functions. State law says that no weapons are allowed in courthouses. Until there is a court order directing otherwise, the ban will remain in effect.”

They also threw in that under DC vs Heller, a government building is a “sensitive place” that can ban guns.

I told City Council that:

  1. The judge did not have the authority to declare that entire building a courthouse, when only part of it was used by the courts. So that particular order isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
  2. Up until two years ago Martinsville had separated the security for the courts from the local government areas quite nicely – so the argument that there is no reasonable way to do so is specious.
  3. The fact that the Sheriff is a constitutional officer is true, but has nothing to do with the issue at hand. The Sheriff and the judge cannot ban guns in the parts of the municipal building that are not directly court-related.
  4. While the DC vs Heller decision said that government COULD ban guns in government buildings without violating the Second Amendment (don’t get me going on this), THIS IS VIRGINIA and the General Assembly made a conscious decision NOT TO DO SO!

Martinsville is showing the same bad governmental choices that we are seeing elsewhere in the country. During the City Council meeting there was a lot of hand-wringing over how they were going to come up with the money to fix their aging buildings and schools. Yet they seem ready and willing to waste a lot of that same money defending against a lawsuit that they are intentionally bringing upon themselves and one that they will surely lose.

The VCDL Board of Directors will now decide its next move. The two main options that come to mind are

  1. To bring a lawsuit against Martinsville City Council (they signaled they want to play hardball, we would simply grant their wish)
  2. Have a legislative remedy introduced in the General Assembly in January.

I will let you know what path we are going to take in a future alert.

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit:

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Daniel Hokanson

Just more push by "big gov", they need to get a grip and actually read the Constitution.


Beat this one and we all win against the oppression that municipal govt's think they can suppress State and Fed law to suit their own agenda's.

It all starts with "We the People"