This article in the Bristol paper makes it look like Judge Freeman is adding some extra-statutory factors in his disposition of concealed weapon permit cases in Smyth County.
The article didn't say why the two guys over age 75 decided now was the time to get a permit. It did say the Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court in one case (the case is online but the opinion is not) and that Senator Puckett, who has already derailed the reappointment of District Judge Farmer because of "complaints" about him, has received complaints (and made a complaint) about Judge Freeman.
I never heard of Senator Puckett as judicial watchdog before the Democrats took the Senate, why is that I wonder? From what I know of him, I'd say he's trying to do the right thing, but he ought to caucus privately with somebody like Del. Joe Johnson about matters such as this.