RICHMOND, VA, 15 JANUARY 2020: Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), and Senate Republican Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham) today issued the following statement regarding Governor Ralph S. Northam’s (D) plan to prohibit weapons on Capitol Square from January 17 through 21, 2020:
“On Monday, thousands of Virginians – many of whom have already addressed their local governments – will come to the Capitol to ensure their elected representatives to state government appreciate, understand, and respect their concerns. That is their right as Virginians and as Americans.
“We are grateful to the Capitol Police and the Virginia State Police for all they have been doing to ensure the safety of all who visit Capitol Square. And, we understand the desire of the Administration to do everything possible to ensure that safety. However, we are concerned that the events of the last week, including the sudden and unannounced banning of firearms by the Joint Rules Committee and today’s announcement regarding Capitol Square, may be serving to heighten rather than assuage tensions.
“Moreover, we are not confident Governor Northam is adhering to the limitations placed on the governor’s authority under the Code of Virginia. Specifically, the enactment of House and Senate bills from 2012, for which then-Senator Northam voted, would appear to prohibit, not permit, his actions today.
“The thousands of Virginians who plan on rallying at the Capitol on Monday are decent, law-abiding citizens. They plan on utilizing their First Amendment rights to defend their Second Amendment rights. That strikes us as being a very American – and very Virginia – exercise.”