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Case challenging Virginia red flag law dismissed in federal court

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Virginia’s new red flag law passed its first legal challenge today, with a federal judge dismissing a suit brought by a Charlottesville man who had argued that the law was unconstitutional.

Judge Glen E. Conrad skirted ruling on constitutional issues, instead focusing on the lack of standing of the plaintiff, Joseph Draego, whose suit argued that he had been forced to curb his exercise of free speech on matters involving politics and policy out of fear that he could be subject to an emergency substantial risk order under terms of the red flag law that would restrict his access to his legally purchased firearms.

“Virginians voted overwhelmingly for gun violence prevention last November and the General Assembly delivered by passing proven-effective measures, like this so-called ‘red flag’ law,” Herring said. “In Virginia, we have already seen how this ‘red flag’ law has been used to save lives by keeping firearms out of the hands of someone who could use it to harm themselves or others.

“Too many Virginians have lost loved ones at the end of a gun and I am proud that my team and I were able to successfully defend this important law that will continue to save lives and keep communities safe.”