nations gunshow

Courtsey Nation's Gun Show

A gun-show promoter on Thursday morning lost a lawsuit filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court seeking an exemption to state COVID-19 gathering restrictions for a large gun show this weekend at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly.

The "Nation's Gun Show," held by Showmasters Inc., was set to open tomorrow and continue through Sunday at the expo center. In its lawsuit, Showmasters argued it should be considered a brick and mortar business, for which there are no capacity limits enforced. The show is instead being considered an entertainment and amusement business, which limits crowd size to 25 people. In year's past the gun show has attracted up to 23,000 attendees, court documents state.

In his ruling, Judge Brett A. Kassabian noted that the country is "in the throes of a national pandemic we have not seen in over 100 years" and that "a person can unwittingly spread a virus to others with devastating results based on its asymptomatic nature."

Kassabian found the gun show is not in the public interest, but the private interest of the show's organizers.

"To allow thousands to roam unchecked during the middle of the most serious health crisis this county has suffered in the past one hundred years is not in the public interest," he said.

In a Facebook post, Showmasters said the show is canceled. 

"We are very sorry for the incredible financial burden and terrible inconvenience this is inflicting on all involved," organizers said.

Organizers had already received a go-ahead from the Fairfax County Health Department, which said the show could operate as a brick and mortar, and therefore not curb attendance. But state Attorney General Mark Herring stepped in to close "all similar venues in the state."

"We fought back and went to court at great expense and lost. We respectfully disagree with the judges opinion," organizers said.

The show's organizers say they stand to lose between $600-700,000 in gross sales. They also argued that the gun show is the largest event held at the Dulles Expo Center and was handled successfully under less restrictive Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions this August with more than 12,500 attending.

“This enormous gun show could have very quickly become a superspreader event and this win will help keep hundreds if not thousands of Virginians safe and healthy,” Herring said in a statement after the court hearing. “I’m pleased that the judge agreed that putting thousands of Virginians at risk for contracting COVID just so people could buy and sell guns at a gun show was not worth it and could have led to disastrous consequences."


(35) comments


Why does the cancellation of the gun show have anything to do with politics? I'm independent, although I lean more to the left than to the right, I was really disapointed that the show was cancelled, but there is a pandemic that has killed over 300 thousand Americans. I think that has more to do with the cancellation than a plot by either Democrats or Republicans. Let's get off this crap, can we please? There will be a fabulous gun show when this pandemic is over, you can believe that.Let's all stay safe and live for the day when we can get back to "normal". (Whatever that is)

Lynne June

I don’t know if there’s a political agenda to Herring shutting down the gun show this weekend. I do know that the annual Craftsman Christmas show was held just last weekend through Sunday at the Expo; plenty of cars and people wearing masks there. I also know that this will hurt employees of the Expo Center and the nearby businesses that rely on steady income from the people attending the shows.

Tom Manson

That show occured before the new crowd limits were put in place.


it has less to do with coronavirus and more to do with the fact that Herring doesn't like guns and he found a way to cancel it

Ralf Bee

Outstanding ! They should cancel this unneeded gun show forever !


@ralf27 we get that you don't like guns but all you have to do is not go. its not your decision to decide what is or isn't needed for the rest of the people

Tom Manson

Sure it is. That's exactly what public health related closures are all about. Same with mask wearing, which much of rhe right bitched and moaned about affecting their personal liberties.

Much of the right now seems to believe that they have no duty to help their community stay safe. 98% of the population won't die from COVID, but 2% could - thats 6 million people. We are doing better at preventing death, but new studies are showing major consequences for those that catch it, have symptoms and survive. Changes in the brain and in the heart.

Canceling stuff sucks in many ways, financially, socially, you name it. I think they couldnhave held tbis show with social distancing and mask requirements with limited attendance, but is it worth the risk? Look at the multiple 'safe' Trump events or Sturgis which was a super spreader. Totally unnecessary by bullheaded folks. "You can't tell me what to do!"


Just curious how many people you know "on the right"...the people that you believe have no duty to help their community stay safe? Funny that every person I know on the right, including myself, wears masks in public, washes their hands, uses hand sanitizer, stays home as much as possible, social distances when in public, everything you obviously think we don't do.

John Dutko

Nah. Just wait it out.

Showmasters are a business. Firearms are in hot demand, driving prices up as inventory is down. Hell, you can barely find ammo.

This isn't and shouldn't be about guns. It is about public safety and a business trying to reclassify themselves in order to skirt mandates. If Showmasters really cared about 2A and facilitating firearm purchases, they can give a list of the vendors who would have been there in person and post that online. If a person was interested, then they could contact that vendor directly. It isn't hard. Other types of conventions have done exactly that.


They should allow it to happen if the vendors and attendees all agree to wear hazmat suits and go through a decontamination upon exiting at the promoters expense. Anything less isn't safe because these people don't like to follow rules and won't follow social distancing guidelines.

While I wouldn't put a lot of stock in a study by the University of Granada, I suspect that dog walkers that don't pick up after their dogs aren't likely to follow any kind of social distancing guidelines.


Derek005 - you seriously need to seek some mental health counseling!

Change Craford

This all Trump's fault. He hid the virus from us and called it a hoax virus. How soon you deplorables forget. This country could have been under control if that lazy idiot would have done something. Ever since he lost, he has done nothing or hardly mentioned anything about the virus. He has had a meeting in five months because he don't give a crap about us. He has you deplorables not wearing masks because it is a political statement for him. You ignorant to true facts deplorables better wake the hell up and quick, cause this is no hoax and is getting worse everyday. Trump is doing everything to hinder the transition process to president elect Biden on purpose. This is how a child and immature, 5-time draft dodger and racist behaves.


Is it Trumps fault that countries around the globe are seeing a major increase in cases.

John Dutko

Disseminating disinformation early on is his fault. Making the states have bidding wars for PPE was his fault. Downplaying the severity was his fault. NOT TAKING THE VIRUS SERIOUSLY was his fault.

Other countries brought down the cases through a combination of lockdowns (where the people were paid a portion of their wages by the govt) and testing (and not just testing "sick" people, but everyone). All the Asian countries wear masks and have bounced back.

Trump has not faithfully executed his duties in protecting the American people. If he gave a damn, he would have been attending the meetings he hasnt been going to for the last 4 months.


The truth is our country's cases, hospitalizations and deaths all went down under Trump too. And a vaccine is clearly on the way, under Trump. And cases in Europe have risen again well before ours. Like Jane Fonda said, "Covid is God's gift to the left" since it could be used as yet another tool to bring Trump down.

Lynne June

I guess it’s legal under the 10th amendment as part of police powers to protect the health of the populace.

Lynne June

Is it legal for the government to obstruct private enterprise or close private businesses like this? I know that the attorney general and the judge have ruled this way, but is it constitutionally legal?


They are clearly targeting the second amendment and want the NRA out of VA. If they really are concerned about "super spreader" events and "following the science" like Mark Warner is, they would crack down on dog walking right now. A study was released out of University of Granada showing dog walkers have a 78% higher risk of getting COVID. Talk about super spreader. I see people walking dogs all the time. Has the governor commented on this? It is clear they are using COVID to target those who they want to control and to push their leftist agenda.

Tom Manson

They didn't target this event, they set a general limit on gatherings. This wasn't a 2a targeting, take your tinfoil underwear off


Iwouldntgiveabean - I have the same reaction and response when the blm and antifa riot pillage and loot.

I guess the goober is just following the orders of his masters.

John Dutko

This should be a good lawsuit. If they win, other types of conventions could reclassify as "brick and mortar" to evade the public health cap.

I may be stereotyping, but the people who go to a gun show in the midst of a pandemic tend not to practice the safest hygiene standards that mitigate the transmission of the virus.


You are stereotyping, just as me saying people that enjoy locking themselves up in their homes are germaphobes.

Popular Misconception

Uh - yeah - you are definitely stereotyping there. You think gun sellers want people putting their oily, grubby hands all over the merchandise? No. It could possibly be one of the safest environments in terms of touching items, wiping them clean, etc. As for the crowds of people - supposedly masks and social distancing works like a charm, so what's the problem as long as everyone wears a mask and stays 6 feet apart? (We all know that's dumb, but still it's what our benevolent overlords tell us - so they may as well be consistent every now and then.)

Now here's a question: If this were an event that the ruling party favored (let's say some sort of protest rally inside the event center), do you think the same rules would apply?

John Dutko

The same rules would apply as it would be against the public interest to have an indoor event that would exceed the health directive.

"The judge disagreed with the gun show hosts’ argument that rules to limit their attendees are an overreach of authority and a violation of the Second Amendment. He also criticized a recent show in August that drew nearly 13,000 people, which the hosts said was “safely and successfully executed even while being severely limited by” pandemic restrictions.

“[J]ust judging on what occurred in August, tens of thousands are allowed to gather over the course of three days and then leave, the risk of an unprecedented superspreader event infecting not only those persons but third parties that those persons come into contact with is substantial,” Judge Kassabian said."

A smart organizer would watch the news, analyze trends, and predict when and if a drop would happen.


Yes, you are definitely stereotyping based on lies and misinformation.

Tom Manson

I enjoy going to the gun show once or twice a year, but events like this are unnecessary and far more difficult to control the spread. Fairfax has over 27k cases and a 2.3% death rate. Stopping the show will certainly hurt the small businesses that rely on table revenue, in addition to the organizer. Very unfortunate.


Holding a non-essential gun show is a covid-19 spreader event and must be cancelled.


"They also argue that the gun show is the largest event held at the Dulles Expo Center and was handled successfully under less restrictive Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions this August with more than 12,500 attending." How many deaths (or even cases) have been traced to their last show in the same place held just last August? The article doesn't say, so probably none or it would have been included.


How many deaths attributed to all the riots throughout the country? Nobody is counting that either.


Dont go!


The Dulles expo center is less then 10 minutes from the NRA headquarters.


Way to go Fairfax, not only destroy hundreds of small businesses, but also infringe on its citizens god given second amendment rights at the same time. Oh well, that’s what happens when you allow Democrats to control you.

John Dutko

Or, they could find a list of vendors who were going to set-up shop there, submit orders online, and do curbside pickup.

Showmasters should not have booked the event.


Should they not book anything else until Northam allows it? You think these are planned overnight?

John Dutko

Given the current climate where cases are spiking due to people not adhering to health mandates, organizations should expect to close at the governors discretion.

Here is the Dulles Expo Center Covid advisory:

Mandatory COVID-19 Facility Measures:

As a private assembly facility we are taking all measures to protect guests, exhibitors, and staff. We do have the right to refuse entry or remove individuals if the following is not adhered to.

Masks must be worn inside the facility at all times, covering your nose and mouth, except when eating or drinking at designated areas.

If you are unwilling or unable to wear a mask for any reason including health, you will be asked to leave; please stay safer at home.

10' Social Distancing inside building, 6' distancing outside building in entry lines.

No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days is permitted in the facility. We reserve the right to take temperatures of our guests.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. ~ Dulles Expo Management

So, can you safely space people 10 feet apart at an event that was supposed to attract over 20k people (per the show organizer)?

It is unfortunate that the cases nationwide are going up. Expect other businesses that rely on social interaction to follow downward trends.

Just wait a month for the next showmaster event:

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