The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday evening declined to hear a challenge against Gov. Ralph Northam’s temporary ban on carrying guns during a pro-Second Amendment rally on Monday, leaving the state of emergency ban in effect.
Several gun rights groups involved in the rally sought to overturn the governor’s emergency order after a lower court upheld the motion. Last week, Northam had banned guns on the state capitol grounds from Friday evening to Tuesday, which means that those who were planning to attend the rally would not be allowed to carry guns—unlike previous years the rally was held.
“We ask everyone to follow the temporary Capitol grounds rules,” the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) said to supporters on Saturday, the Washington Free Beacon reported. “There is NO need for an act of civil disobedience to achieve standing for a court fight. We already have standing.”
On Thursday, the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the ban but were blocked by Richmond Circuit Court Judge Joi Taylor.
The state’s Supreme Court wrote that under the circumstances, they were not able “to discern whether the circuit court abused its discretion.” The court also noted that the decision rendered by the Richmond Circuit Court was made in less than a day, and the court records in the case are limited. There were no written statements or transcripts, the state’s highest court said.
On Wednesday, Northam said he would declare a state of emergency to ban all weapons, not just guns, in light of reports of militia groups threatening to storm the capitol during the gun rally.
“We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday,” Northam told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. “Intelligence shows the threat of armed militia groups storming our capitol,” he added.
Northam said authorities received reports of “out-of-state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence” and added that they may be “are coming to intimidate and to cause harm,” it was reported.
But Virginia Citizens Defense League organizer Philip Van Cleave, the organizer of the rally, told news outlets that while the event will still take place, “the governor and leadership in the Democratic Party have declared war on law-abiding gun owners, and they’re tired of it.”
Northam “has touched the third rail” and “has motivated people to drive across the state and from other states to come protect our rights,” he remarked.