VA Governor Running Scared Moves Gun Range Shutdown Challenge to Federal Court

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam nra-ila image
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam nra-ila image

Richmond, Virginia-( Virginia Governor Ralph Northam used the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to shut down shooting ranges in the Commonwealth. Virginia law explicitly prohibits the Governor from using a state of emergency to infringe on the right of the people to bear arms.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) specifically list gun stores and ranges as critical businesses, but Northam has decided to ignore the advisory. Also, during the Pandemic, Northam signed several Bloomberg championed anti-gun bills into law, ignoring the will of the people. Over 96% of the state’s localities have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.

Northam’s move to close down gun range forced the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) to sue in state court to reopen the ranges.

The two organizations were very explicit in their lawsuit to explain that the groups were not suing the Governor for violating the Second Amendment, but for violating Article One, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution.

Northam seems to be afraid of having challenges to his emergency orders heard in state court. Several churches filed suit in state court over the Governor’s order to shut down their services. These churches argued that Virginia was violating their First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Northam moved these cases from state court to federal court, where he would have a better chance of victory because of the liberal makeup of the court.

Foreseeing Northam making the same move against a lawsuit dealing with ranges, the gun groups only sued the Governor for violating the Virginia State Constitution.

The court case still referenced other Second Amendment cases from around the country as persuasive cases because a Virginia Governor has never tried to use emergency powers to shut down shooting ranges. The lawyers from the gun rights organizations did not cite these cases as a binding authority. By citing them as persuasive means that the courts could use them to help craft their ruling, but the judgments do not require the judge to use them. They are more of a guide than a requirement.

One day before a Virginia State court was due to hear the case to reopen gun ranges in the Commonwealth; the Governor moved the court case up the federal level where it would be heard by a Clinton appointed judge. Gun rights advocates believe that the Governor is terrified of state courts. By the afternoon, attorneys for the groups filed an emergency to remand, meaning the judge should send back the case to the state level.

“Northam is gaming the system and is clearly afraid of the suit being heard in a Virginia court under Virginia law,” VCDL President Philip Van Cleave told AmmoLand News.

The Virginia Solicitor General argued that this lawsuit is a Second Amendment case in disguise. The state claims since the law that the groups accuse Northam of violating states that the Governor cannot use a state of emergency to violate the Second Amendment or the Virginia Constitution that it must be heard in federal court since it includes language about the Second Amendment. The suit filed by the gun-rights groups does not include an accusation that the Governor was violating the right Second Amendment rights of Virginians.

The Solicitor General argued that if a Virginia Court would be allowed rule on what the Virginia Constitution means, then it would be binding on the federal level concerning the Second Amendment. The point was stated twice and left legal experts scratching their heads as to how the state came up with that line of reasoning.

If the federal court accepts the state’s argument, it would mean all state-level Second Amendment cases would be federal cases.

This decision would expand the powers of the federal courts. The state also argued that since Article One, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution shares a similar language with the Second Amendment that federal courts should have jurisdiction over all cases involving the state’s right to bear arms provision. This interpretation would mean any state’s constitution that shares language with the US Constitution would fall under federal jurisdiction. This ruling would be a significant expansion of power for the federal courts.

Instead of ruling and letting today’s hearing go forth, the judge gave Virginia until 5 PM Wednesday to file a brief. Council for VCDL and GOA will have until 5 PM Thursday to file a counter brief.

About John CrumpJohn Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at

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UNITED STATES CODE TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE PART I – CRIMES CHAPTER 13 – CIVIL RIGHTS § 241. Conspiracy against rights If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder… Read more »


Obviously the state attorney general is not going to charge a fellow democrat. So what other mechanisms are available to the 2a organizations to bring charges. Why haven’t they?

Some guy

Oh,Lord…. You fools really think the courts will come to the rescue? There is no political solution, you either fight now, or go to the camps later. As one German(democrat) said to a jew(American), “See that smoke? That’s your family”

Wild Bill

@Some, There are so many judges, in so many courts, at so many levels, in the US that you could not have reviewed them all. Oh, and courts are not political. Courts are judicial.
I think that you are just trying to manipulate people to actions that you yourself would not be willing to go to prison for.

jack mac

WB: Members of the courts are political. The Judicial Branch is equal to the other political Branches and is equally corrupt. “Some guy” is not being manipulative in remaining people of this reality. Our governing, through the courts, by many pretext, are denying the right to arms from individual citizens. Individual ‘private’ ‘free’ citizens are being disarmed at an accelerating rate. This while the right to arms of all private citizens is being suppressed. Our rights and liberty are already under successful attack and is threatened with more assaults. There are private citizens, living and dead, that have been violently… Read more »


I have to disagree that courts are not political. they have been filled with activists for years, now with Trump in office many are being replaced.

Wild Bill

@Gentlemen, The courts were designed to be separate and apart from politics. If individual judges let politics interfere with measuring the facts against the law, then that individual judge is corrupt, not the entire judicial system. See the difference?


And that is exactly why we need to ARM UP AND CARRY ON because it’s only going to get worse.


Doszap . . . Thank you for your post. However, do not hold your breath until Northam and his Communist Democrap Minions are brought to just under the law!!! About the only place . . . other than court . . that you will get satisfactory redress in these matters is at the polls! Get really organized, go vote, and do NOT vote for anyone with a (D) or an (I) behind their name!!!


This is one of those interesting historical things where the US Bill of Rights copied the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Our rights in Virginia are actually better protected:

Section 13. That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state [snipped the rest to make it shorter]

Wild Bill

@Road, I don’t think that it was a copy, but rather, the same author!


Hi Bill; I believe you’re correct, James Madison if I’m not mistaken.


George Mason did most of the writing for the VDR, I know he is considered the
“Grandfather of the BOR.” 🙂 I think Madison riffed on his ideas. Good point.


This going to the courts? Then we have nothing to worry about. //SARC//

Some guy

You didn’t fight, now you will die. Get on the cattle cars American


Very true!! If you are not prepared to fight [right now(!)], you will indeed die when you hear the words, “get on the cattle cars!” – and without a fight, you certainly will unquestionably hear them.


I hope that the Plaintiff’s kick Communist Northam’s AZZ in these cases! I also hope that the citizens of Virginia COME TO THEIR SENSES and vote ANYONE with a (D) or an (I) behind their name OUT OF OFFICE!!!


Taken from “The amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states” rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights that cannot be taken away by law. The Supreme Court of the United States could and should put this issue to rest. As the Second Amendment is in the Bill of Rights and are not to be… Read more »


Only one way to stop TYRANTS!!!

Rebel VA

Notice the racist hand gesture?


This guy is a snake and should be removed along with his deputies. VA voters, this is what you have allowed with your complacency. Remember this next election.


RECALL the whack!


No ID to vote in VA elections….but to enter and vote at the DNC as a delegate, you better have your ID on you.


Tar and feather him.


Holy Moley Batman is Virginia lost? Are there not enough ‘semi-sane’ people in VA to get this Northam RECALLED?? If so, WHEN are they gunna git-er-dun?


Funny thing about that, when the Dems took control of Virginia, they seriously raised the thresholds for recall. It is dang near impossible now. They knew exactly what they were doing, pretty sure Governor Blackface and Bloomberg worked out the strategy together.

Mike Crognale

This is my surprised face. Ralphie, baby-killer, Northam is a democrat. He toes the party line on all these issues. Party uber alles.


We need a judge in Ralphy’s case to be another Roy Bean. Upon conviction, Judge Bean pulls out his hogleg and shoots Northam in the balls first and then through his head, in a safe manner, that is.


Advisories are governments way of saying you can ignore them if you want.


And here I was thinking that this was just a delaying tactic because VA discovered they needed more than 24 hours to get all of their ducks in a row.