The producers of one of the nation’s largest gun shows have canceled the event after losing a legal challenge to newly imposed pandemic restrictions in Virginia. The Nation’s Gun Show is held several times a year at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside Washington. A three-day show expected to draw thousands had been scheduled to start Friday.
The show filed for an emergency injunction this week in Fairfax County Circuit Court after it was told that tightened restrictions imposed last week by Gov. Ralph Northam would limit the event to 250 people. The lawsuit offered theories as to why the order exceeded the governor’s authority, but Judge Brett Kassabian rejected them all at a hearing Thursday morning. While he said he was sympathetic to the fact that show organizers and vendors stand to lose millions of dollars, Kassabian said, “To allow thousands of people to roam unchecked in the throes of of the worst pandemic in 100 years is not in the public interest.” The gun show has the ability to appeal the ruling but posted a message on its website Thursday saying the event is canceled and that “We respectfully disagree with the judge’s opinion.” The show normally attracts roughly 25,000 attendees who each pay as much as $23 to gain access to hundreds of exhibitors and firearms dealers. [full article]