Today, the National Rifle Association of America and three individuals sued the County of Fairfax, Virginia, alleging that its ban on possessing firearms in parks violates the Virginia Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms. The lawsuit also challenges the prohibition on possession of a firearm in places adjacent to permitted events and events that require a permit but do not have one.
There are 23,584 acres of parks and 334 miles of trails in Fairfax County. Those parks and trails are one of the few places to which people have consistently been able to go during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the County’s park ban infringes on people’s right to bear arms more so than it does in ordinary times.
The suit alleges that the ban on possession in places adjacent to permitted events is unconstitutional as well. This requires law-abiding gun owners to make a snap decision about how close they can get to an event before they are in violation of this ordinance, placing themselves at risk of prosecution.
Finally, the suit alleges that the ban on possession at events that should—but do not—have permits, is unconstitutionally vague under the due process clause. It requires law-abiding gun owners to determine whether an event—that they may know nothing about—legally requires a permit to be held. This effectively punishes gun owners for others’ decisions to hold illegal, unpermitted events.
The case is called LaFave v. County of Fairfax. It was filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org for future updates on this and all of ILA’s efforts to defend your constitutional rights.