With Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s raft of new gun controls set to take effect on July 1st, Alexandria Mayor Justin M. Wilson and the City Council are wasting no time in attacking gun rights. HB421/SB35, signed by Northam on April 22nd, weakened the state firearms preemption statute to allow localities to prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of firearms in an array of locations.
Those location are as follows:
(i) in any building, or part thereof, owned or used by such locality, or by any authority or local governmental entity created or controlled by the locality, for governmental purposes;
(ii) in any public park owned or operated by the locality, or by any authority or local governmental entity created or controlled by the locality;
(iii) in any recreation or community center facility operated by the locality, or by any authority or local governmental entity created or controlled by the locality; or
(iv) in any public street, road, alley, or sidewalk or public right-of-way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public and is being used by or is adjacent to a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.
On June 4th, the city manager presented the mayor and city council with legislation in the form of File #20-0902. With the intent of restricting firearms as much as state law permits, the proposed legislation changes the city code to prohibit firearms in all of the locations listed under the amended preemption statute. Even law-abiding citizens with a Virginia concealed handgun permit would be prohibited from carrying a firearm for self-defense in these locations. Those found in violation of the proposed prohibitions would face up to a year imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.
The Alexandria City Council is set to address the gun control proposal at a virtual hearing at 9:30AM on June 20th. The City released an updated proposal, File #20-0967, that now includes the same prohibitions on ammunition and firearm and ammunition components. This change substantially expands the ordinance, and Alexandria residents have little time to address this substantial change before the hearing tomorrow.
NRA has submitted comments to the City Council on the proposed gun control legislation and those comments can be read here.