The National Rifle Association (NRA) teamed with three Virginia residents and filed a lawsuit on Friday, Jan. 29, against Fairfax County for its unconstitutional ban on firearm possession in parks and in areas adjacent to certain events.
“The ban on firearms in parks and on trails in Fairfax County is dangerous and unconstitutional,” said Amy Hunter, spokeswoman, NRA. “While all of us hope that parks are safe and beautiful havens, the reality is that assaults, sexual assaults and other violent crimes can and do occur at parks. Furthermore, parks are some of the few places people can go during the COVID-19 pandemic, and law-abiding people should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones should the need arise. These parks are vast and have isolated locations. Because Fairfax County cannot guarantee individual safety, people should be able to take the necessary precautions.”
There are 23,584 acres of parks and 334 miles of trails in Fairfax County. Since 2014, there have been many crimes in Virginia parks, many of them gang-related. Some of the more serious headline-grabbing crimes include murder, kidnap, sexual assault, assault and a horrific decapitation.
The lawsuit, LaFave v. County of Fairfax, also challenges the prohibition on possession of firearms in places adjacent to permitted events and events that require a permit but do not have one. Examples of such events include a concert or a protest held in Fairfax County. Currently, if a person carrying a firearm comes upon one of these events, they are banned from carrying that weapon anywhere “adjacent” to the event. The term “adjacent” is unclear and leaves otherwise law-abiding gun owners unclear on where they can and can’t be, and where the line is that puts them in danger of prosecution.
“The bottom line is that Fairfax County is placing the burden of their laws on law-abiding residents and not on criminals,” concluded Hunter. “This needs to change.”