A few weeks ago, I wrote about opening day at NoVA armory – a new gun shop in Arlington close to where we live. Rob and I bought a new revolver, browsed the various firearms, and even mocked the clownish hobo someone obviously paid to stand outside the store and bear gawdy signs and balloons condemning the store’s existence. We speculated that maybe if we gave her a sammich, she’d amble over to the concurrent protest over in Lyon Park, where a few quivering, pearl-clutching panty shitters were protesting free enterprise and the unfettered (and I use that word loosely, given all the sturm and drang surrounding the attempts to shut down the store before it even opened) exercise of our rights.
Nonetheless, the histrionics of the gun-grabbers did not stop the store from opening and from hosting hundreds of customers that day. Congrats to Dennis Pratte and his family for a successful, and mostly drama-free opening.
The company that owns a gun store that recently opened in Arlington’s Lyon’s Park community is suing 64 people, saying that by protesting the store’s opening they participated in a “conspiracy to injure another in his trade or business.” Seven Virginia government officials are named in the suit, including Virginia state Delegates Mark H. Levine and Patrick Alan Hope and state Senators Janet Denison Howell and Barbara Favola. The store, NOVA Armory, is asking for $2,101,441.14; it says the damages include lost revenue, physical and personal protection expenses, phone number changes and time lost related to said phone number changes, and damages to the business’ good will and reputation.
The suit says that, first, Howell, Favola, Levine, and Hope conspired between one another to destroy Pratte’s business. They are elected officials. They maliciously acted to defame Pratte and destroy the reputation of his business in an effort to prevent it from opening. These elected public officials discussed strategy about how to best do so on social media, and sent a letter to the store’s landlord – on official government stationery – trying to pressure her into abandoning the lease. That’s right. Elected public officials tried to use their official offices and authority to pressure a landlord to sever a relationship with a tenant! Worse yet, they attempted to malign and defend Pratte and his business by claiming that he had opened his business “in order to conduct criminal activities, namely conveyance of firearms to persons ineligible to be in possession thereof and to facilitate violent crime.”
Talk about your abuse of power!
And it’s not like Favola hasn’t been involved in these types of shady dealings before! Favola was involved in pressuring another landlord to cancel a lease with JB Gates, who intended to open a store in Arlington, and was advising Fairfax County bottom-feeders on how to best go about it.
Delegate Kathleen Murphy, McLean Democrat, wrote an email to state Sen. Barbara Favola, Arlington Democrat, seeking help in shutting down the gun store. Ms. Favola was instrumental in organizing opposition to Mr. Gates’ shop in Arlington.
“Basically, we convinced the land owner that his business tenants would lose business,” Ms. Favola told Ms. Murphy in a reply. “In other words, moving a gun shop to a small cluster of shops in the middle of a neighborhood was bad for business.
“The argument has to be about supporting small businesses,” Ms. Favola wrote in her email. “The ‘we’ versus ‘they’ argument is winnable with the NRA.”
Ms. Murphy forwarded that email Sept. 25 to other Democrats in her district, including Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, who is up for re-election Tuesday, saying, “Lets do it.”
So not only did Favola pressure one landlord to cancel a lease with a local military veteran, thereby threatening his business and livelihood, but she advised other pernicious Democrat gargoyles in Virginia to do the same. And now, she’s teamed up with several colostomy bags in an attempt to use their authority as government officials to abuse, malign, and denigrate yet another business they don’t like!
I got into a debate with one Lyon Park hipster, who claimed to be some kind of constitutional lawyer, and who claimed that Pratte was, in fact, using the courts to violate the protesters’ First Amendment rights. I informed him that bullying, defaming, and trying to destroy another’s livelihood is not covered under the First Amendment. The attorney in the case, with whom I communicated this week, confirmed this in an email.
Simply put, free speech begins and ends with speech. When you take active steps to put someone out of business, that’s a crime in Virginia, even if you do it mainly by the use of words. That goes beyond “free speech.” If I can make an analogy, the fact that, in Virginia, I’ve got a perfect right to strap on a gun and walk around in public with it doesn’t give me the right to pull it out and shoot someone I don’t like. There is a point at which the privileged conduct stops and wrongful action begins. These people are not “random protesters” – they’re not protesters at all – they’re people who have communicated among themselves to effect an unlawful purpose using unlawful means. NoVa Armory is not a governmental agency, and a letter to its landlord is not “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.” Trying to shut down that business is not an exercise in free speech.
The unlawful acts include defamation, calling NoVa Armory’s manager “gun-slinger Denny” and accusing him of being a terrorist, a liar, and a person who would sell guns to “those people” who live on the other side of the Anacostia river thereby promoting an illegal “black” market in guns and drugs. But it’s not a suit for defamation, it’s a suit for unlawfully conspiring to injure NoVa Armory in its trade or business in violation of Va. Code sections 18.2-499 and 18.2-500.
And what did the “protesters'” actions result in?
For one, a mailed death threat to Pratte’s 16-year-old daughter! A bloody death threat to a kid. What kind of lowlife, cowardly varmint would send a death threat to a child? What kind of wretched bag of rancid ass leavings would send a death threat to anyone, merely because they had opposing views on an issue, but worse yet, to a kid? Obviously the type who would claim “free speech” protects their “right” to abuse, defame, denigrate, and threaten another human being.
This is the kind of company Favola, Levine, Hope, et. al. keep. You know what they say about dogs and fleas, right?
Worse yet, these statist swamp donkeys are showing their racist roots. Levine, in particular, has been rather vocal about undesirables (read: black people) from DC and Prince George’s County, Maryland coming to Virginia to buy guns and commit heinous crimes. Why do you hate black people, Mr. Levine?
Note the hypocrisy. Levine, on his social media pages, is more than diligent about pointing out that not all illegal aliens commit crimes (except for the obvious one of being here illegally, but he glosses over that), but he’s more than ready to generalize the worst about people who want to purchase guns! Telling. Very, very telling.
It’s about time law-abiding dealers started to fight back against these abuses of power and these plain violations of their rights.
I, for one, am thrilled that Dennis Pratte is standing up.