Virginia judge blocks gun show where upwards of 25,000 were expected to attend

Posted at 1:23 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 16:17:23-05

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. -- A Virginia judge has blocked upwards of 25,000 people from meeting for an indoor gun show at the Dulles Expo Center this weekend.

Organizers of The Nation's Gun Show filed a lawsuit against Governor Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver, requesting an emergency injunction that would allow their show to take place despite a recent executive order limiting large gatherings due to COVID-19.

The organizers argued that their event constitutes as a “Brick and Mortar" retail business under Northam's executive order, thus not subject to capacity limits on attendance.

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Brett Kassabian disagreed, ruling the organizers can not operate the gun show at full capacity.

In his ruling, Judge Kassabian highlighted that the country is "in the throes of a national pandemic we have not seen in over 100 years" and that "a person can unwittingly spread a virus to others with devastating results based on its asymptomatic nature."

He concluded by saying the injunction to allow the event is not in the public's best interest.

"I find that it is in the private interest of the plaintiffs. To allow thousands to roam unchecked during the middle of the most serious health crisis this county has suffered in the past 100 years is not in the public interest."

Attorney General Mark Herring released a statement Thursday saying he is pleased with the judge's decision.

“This enormous gun show could have very quickly become a superspreader event and this win will help keep hundreds if not thousands of Virginians safe and healthy,” said Attorney General Herring. “I’m pleased that the judge agreed that putting thousands of Virginians at risk for contracting COVID just so people could buy and sell guns at a gun show was not worth it and could have led to disastrous consequences. If we have learned one thing over the past few months, its that we must all work together and abide by the COVID safety measures to keep ourselves, our families, and our loved ones healthy.”