FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — The National Rifle Association (NRA), along with three other Virginia residents, are suing Fairfax County.
The lawsuit is against an ‘unconstitutional’ ban that prohibits firearms on trails and parks.
“We feel strongly that this law is unconstitutional. It limits peoples’ ability to practice self-defense and exercise their second amendment rights,” said Amy Hunter, Director of Media Relations for the NRA.
The NRA states that parks are one of the few places people can go during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of violent crimes.
The lawsuit, LaFave vs. County of Fairfax, also challenges the prohibition of possession of firearms in places adjacent to permitted events, saying that the law is unclear.
“When there are bans or laws, a reasonable person needs to know when they’re breaking one. To have it say that guns are banned anywhere adjacent to an event that requires a permit, it’s just confusing to the everyday person,” said Hunter.
While the NRA says the ban is unconstitutional, the county says otherwise. The Virginia General Assembly granted cities and towns the option to ban guns on public buildings or parks in April 2020.
In a statement, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay defended the ban.
“After decades of advocacy at the general assembly, we received the authority from the state to ban firearms on county property. This action was a commonsense decision that limits firearms on county property and makes us all safer,” he said.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to pass the county gun ban back in Sep. 2020, which was met with mixed reviews from residents.
“Men pretending to be in a militia carrying firearms into crowds is dangerous and can be deadly,” said Fairfax County resident Peggy Highmore during a Sep. 15th board meeting.
Other residents were opposed to the ban.
“The onus is on you, our elected board members, to ensure a new ordinance is actually addressing a problem, and not just taking away the rights of citizens,” said Michael McCarthy, Fairfax County resident.
Arlington County, Falls Church, and Alexandria also voted to ban firearms on city and county property.