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Judge Rejects Efforts From Gun Advocates To Halt Northam's Temporary Weapons Ban On Capitol Grounds

Staff set up barriers around Capitol Square
Staff set up barriers around Capitol Square grounds Wednesday Night. (Crixell Matthews / VPM) 

A Richmond judge has denied a request from gun rights groups to block Governor Ralph Northam’s temporary firearms ban on Capitol Square. 

Gun Owners of America and the Virginia Citizens Defense League filed a complaint Thursday morning, along with private citizens who planned to attend a pro-gun rally at the Capitol this coming Monday.

Northam issued an executive order on Wednesday temporarily barring weapons, including firearms, torches and shields. 

The groups argue Virginia law prohibits the governor from using a state of emergency declaration to ban firearms from the square.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Joi J. Taylor ruled the governor does have the authority to make that call.

Northam said in a statement he issued the ban to protect Virginians from credible threats of violence.  

"I’m grateful to the Circuit Court for recognizing the seriousness of these threats, and for upholding this reasonable, legal action to protect all Virginians, including demonstrators and policymakers," Northam said. "I will continue to do everything in my power to keep Virginians safe."

The ban lasts from 5 p.m. on Friday, January 17 until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21.