UPDATE 9/10: Gun Owners' Suit Is Dismissed

From Saturday's Metro section:

The Virginia Citizens Defense League's lawsuit against Fairfax County was dismissed yesterday by a judge who ruled that the plaintiff, which was seeking to hold a gun raffle, had sued the wrong defendant.
County officials told the gun owners group in May that holding a raffle with guns as prizes constituted illegal gambling. The raffle was intended to raise money to assist two gun shops that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) targeted in a lawsuit. So the league sued Fairfax in July, seeking a court's declaration that the raffle did not violate state law.
Assistant Fairfax County Attorney Erin C. Ward argued that the county did not write the law and that the commonwealth's attorney, who would decide whether to enforce it, is not a county employee. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Marcus D. Williams agreed and dismissed the case. Richard E. Gardiner, the league's attorney, said he would file suit promptly against the Fairfax commonwealth's attorney, in part because raffle participants are still holding tickets they were given when they purchased $100 or more of merchandise from the two gun shops.
-- Tom Jackman

Updated 8/3

The Virginia Citizens Defense League has asked a Fairfax County judge to rule on the legality of a gun raffle it wants to hold in the county. Tickets would be given to anyone spending more than $100 at specified gun shops in the state.

The gun owners' group tried to hold such a raffle May 17, but county officials said it was illegal and threatened to charge the group with illegal gambling. The group got around the county's objections by giving a ticket to anyone who showed up for the raffle.
The league wants to hold the raffle as originally planned to help gun shops that have been targeted by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who claims they have lax supervision of firearms sales. The lottery was designed to encourage sales at the gun shops to help them pay legal fees.
The league argued in papers filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court that such a raffle would not constitute a gambling operation because tickets could not be bought and that participants would effectively receive a "gift" for spending more than $100 at the shops.
-- Fredrick Kunkle

Updated 5/18
A report from the scene of last night's weapons giveaway at the Mason District Government Center is in today's Metro section.

Updated 5/17
A news analysis piece on the gun raffle is in today's Metro section. Read it here. The Virginia Notebook column has a look at the political implications of the controversy.

Updated 5/16
According to information contained in an email obtained by The Washington Post, both the County Attorney and the Commonwealth's Attorney have stated that the gun giveaway was quite possibly illegal. The news is here.

Originally posted 5/15
Fairfax County officials along with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine are criticizing as poor judgment the raffle of weapons and ammunition by a gun rights group at the Mason District Government Center. Today's Metro section has the details.

By Focus on Fairfax |  September 10, 2007; 9:59 AM ET  | Category:  Government , Public Safety
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