va gov ralph northam
Virginia governor declares temporary state of emergency
01:33 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A judge has upheld Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to temporarily ban firearms and other weapons on state Capitol grounds in Richmond ahead of a gun rights rally.

The rally organizers, pro-gun group Virginia Citizens Defense League, requested on Thursday a temporary injunction against the governor’s temporary state of emergency set to start Friday evening and go through Tuesday evening, court records show.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Joi J. Taylor said the plaintiffs “will not suffer an irreparable harm sufficient to justify the injunction,” according to the ruling.

“Governor Northam is behaving like the royal governors who long preceded him. He has arrogantly and brazenly tried to restrict the rights protected to Virginians by the First and Second Amendments,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president for Gun Owners of America, a gun advocate group also challenging the governor’s ban, said before the judge’s ruling.

In a statement released Thursday, Northam said the court’s ruling was “the right decision.”

“I’m grateful to the Circuit Court for recognizing the seriousness of these threats, and for upholding this reasonable, legal action to protect all Virginians, including demonstrators and policymakers. I will continue to do everything in my power to keep Virginians safe,” the governor said.

On Wednesday, Northam said he was temporarily banning firearms and other weapons after law enforcement learned of “threats of violence” surrounding the rally that out-of-state militia groups and hate groups are expected to attend Monday.

Philip Van Cleave, president of VCDL, told CNN on Wednesday that the group has been going to Lobby Day since 2003 to advocate for gun rights and hasn’t had any incidents of violence or issues.

Earlier on Thursday, three alleged members of a white supremacist group, who authorities believe were planning to attend the rally in Richmond, were arrested by the FBI.

The men are charged with multiple firearms and immigration-related offenses, according to the Justice Department.

They were members of the international white supremacist group known as The Base, the Justice Department said.

The state of emergency in Richmond will be in place from Friday evening to Tuesday evening. The ban includes open and concealed firearms and other weapons like sticks, bats and chains, according to the emergency declaration order.

CNN’s Connor Spielmaker, Ryan Nobles, Leslie Holland and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.