A bit of a primer for those of you who have never been to a gun show: First, it’s a bit like calling Whole Foods a “grocery show” or the flea market an “old books and Sega Genesis games show.”
This isn’t to say shopping can’t be entertainment, but you’re not there to be entertained. You’re there to peruse or purchase guns, ammunition or firearm-related items. There aren’t going to be any small group meetings, no “Rocky Horror Picture Show”-esque hecklings of “Bowling for Columbine,” no conga lines with women dressed as anthropomorphic Kalashnikovs and dancing along to a bossa nova version of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” — nothing like that.
My assumption is that Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring knows this, and I also assume he doesn’t care. Virginia’s taken a lurch to the left in recent years, given the growth of the suburbs outside of Washington, D.C. It’s seen some of the Democrats’ biggest victories on gun control in the past decade thanks to a shifting state legislature.
And now, it’s effectively shut down a gun show under its COVID-19 restrictions by insisting the convention center the show was set to be held in is an “entertainment venue” and shouldn’t be classified as a retail establishment under the state’s guidelines.
According to WTOP-FM, the Nation’s Gun Show was blocked by a judge from having any more than 250 people at the event, set to start Friday at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, after Herring and the state went to court to argue the convention center should be treated under the stringent guidelines for entertainment venues.
The gun show’s organizers argued the center should fit under the less stringent guidelines for brick-and-mortar retail. In addition to the fact the state’s guidelines didn’t account for the size of the venue — the Dulles Expo Center is a 130,000-square-foot building — they said the decision was an infringement on Second Amendment rights.
Attorney General Herring countered by saying the show “would most certainly become a superspreader event and could infect hundreds if not thousands of Virginians with COVID.”
Judge Brett Kassabian expressed sympathy with the fact the show and its vendors could lose millions but said that “[t]o allow thousands of people to roam unchecked in the throes of the worst pandemic in 100 years is not in the public interest.”
Do you agree with this judge’s ruling?
Afterward, Herring declared victory on Twitter:
“I have successfully BLOCKED a massive gun show from operating at full capacity this weekend in NOVA,” he tweeted. “Putting hundreds or even thousands of Virginians at risk for the sole purpose of selling guns is just not worth it and I’m pleased that the Judge agreed with me.”
🚨BREAKING🚨I have successfully BLOCKED a massive gun show from operating at full capacity this weekend in NOVA.
Putting hundreds or even thousands of Virginians at risk for the sole purpose of selling guns is just not worth it and I’m pleased that the Judge agreed with me.
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) November 19,