Nova Armory Sues Lawmakers For Conspiracy To Shut Them Down
Owners of a gun store right outside Washington D.C., have filed a lawsuit against state lawmakers and other individuals for conspiracy to destroy the business.
Nova Armory – just a mile inside the Virginia state line in Arlington – opened its doors last month, but the conspiracy to destroy them began before they opened for business.
The most egregious violation is a letter to the owners of the strip mall where Nova Armory operates. On official state letterhead, it is signed by seven state lawmakers and urges them to cancel the lease on the store before it even opened. In the letter, the lawmakers claim the store would be a “magnet for robbery” and create a “black market” for cash, guns and drugs, guns.com is reporting.
One of the lawmakers is Arlington Democratic Delegate Mark Levine. He has spent hours of time on social media vilifying the store, its owners and the Second Amendment.
It got so bad that the Nova Armory’s business manager’s 16-year-old daughter received death threats after their home address and telephone numbers were made public.
That’s when they filed the lawsuit. The suit was filed last week in Richmond City Circuit Court against Levine, the other lawmakers and others who posted on social media. The allegation is that these 64 people committed “Conspiracy to injure another in his trade or business” a common-law crime and defamation. They are asking for more than $2 million in damages.
Rather than being “protesters” as they claim, the lawsuit contends they’re “disruptors,” whose tactics are coordinated to shut the business down.
Further, they contend the lawmakers abused their official authority in trying to interfere with a commercial relationship between the store and their property owner.
“That’s considered malfeasance in office which is a common law crime,” said Nova attorney Daniel L. Hawes. “This has absolutely nothing to do with their legislative abilities, but they sent it on official Commonwealth of Virginia letterhead underneath the seal.”
Supporters of Nova Armory have begun an online petition protesting the intolerant bullying by those members of the community who, for the second time, intend to interfere with lawful commerce and impede the exercise of Constitutional Rights of others.”
Delegate Levine said he has a right as an elected official to conspire to shut down a legal business, saying the lawsuit has no merit.
“It’s frivolous! I think I have an absolute First Amendment right to comment any way I want to and to represent my constituents in the way that they want to be represented,” Levine said. “The store complains that we 64 have criticized their business and singles me out in particular, because I have urged people not to shop there,” Levine posted Monday to Facebook. “I will not be intimidated by this flagrant attack on your and my First Amendment rights.”