Lynchburg gun range, advocates plead case against Northam’s executive order

Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 53 closed indoor gun ranges

LYNCHBURG, Va. – On Friday, David Browne, an attorney representing SafeSide Tactical Lynchburg, several indoor gun ranges across Virginia, and gun right advocates like the Virginia Citizens Defense League pleaded before a Lynchburg judge through a virtual hearing.

The gun right advocates say Governor Ralph Northam crossed the line when his executive order shut down indoor gun ranges last month.

The group wants to overturn a part of Executive Order 53 that prohibits people from using indoor gun ranges.

Browne said the order violates the Second Amendment and indoor ranges should be allowed to stay open and operate during the state of emergency.

Toby Heytens represents Northam. He said the ban is temporary, outdoor gun ranges are still open and people can still buy a firearm if they want to.

Heytens argued that closing indoor gun ranges could help stop the spread of the coronavirus, especially in places where people are in close range and there’s same surface touching.

"OK, our bays are separated by essentially walls and so one person per lane. We could close every other lane. We already have daily cleaning procedures to disinfect all of the surfaces in there,” said Mitch Tyler, owner of SafeSide Tactical.

The judge said he’ll have his written opinion in by noon on Monday.

SafeSide said regardless of the outcome it’s looking forward to the May 8th reopening date.