Judge says SafeSide gun range may reopen, despite COVID-19 business closures

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 12:34 PM EDT
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A Lynchburg judge has granted a temporary injunction, saying a Lynchburg gun range is exempt from

regarding businesses that should be closed during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the range can operate.

The entire ruling on a PDF file is attached to this story.

A lawsuit was filed by Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America and SafeSide Tactical, saying the governor's Executive Order (EO) to close non-essential businesses, specifically indoor gun ranges, is unconstitutional.

The suit alleged EO53 exceeds the governor’s authority as a matter of state law and that it violates the right to keep and bear arms protected by state constitution. "There is no pandemic exception to the fundamental liberties that the Constitution of Virginia Safeguards," argued David Browne, the plaintiff's attorney.

The judge agreed.

The ruling issued Monday by Judge F. Patrick Yeatts says, "The Governor, the Department of State Police, and all law enforcement divisions, agencies and officers within the commonwealth, are hereby enjoined and prohibited from enforcing, in any manor, the prohibition on public access to Lynchburg Range & Training, LLC (SafeSide)."

Gun ranges are specifically mentioned in the governor's order regarding non-essential businesses.

At his

, Governor Northam said the commonwealth is reviewing options in response to the ruling.

The ruling says Safeside still needs to follow social distancing and sanitizing guidelines set forth by health officials, and that nothing in the order should block enforcement of any other aspect of EO53.

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