City council members in Alexandria, Virginia are set to approve several local gun measures on Tuesday, even before a new state law weakening the state’s firearms preemption law takes effect on July 1st. The Virginia Citizens Defense League issued an alert to members on Friday with details of the proposed ordinance and urging gun owners to contact city council members to oppose the measure.
The ordinance, which would take effect on July 1st, would ban the possession of firearms in city parks, government buildings, community centers, and permitted events on city streets, with violations of the ordinance treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Technically, the Alexandria City Council has already passed a ban on firearms on city property, thought it never took effect. Back in 2019, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance almost identical to the measure they’ll consider this coming Tuesday. As local news site The Zebra reported at the time:
City council has unanimously ordained that the possession, carrying or transportation of firearms in buildings owned, leased or operated by the City; or in parks and in any recreational or community owned or used by the City, is prohibited. The ordinance also states that the possession, carrying, storage or transportation of firearms by City employees, agents or volunteers in workplaces owned, operated or managed by the City is prohibited.
“That’s the street, that’s the sidewalk… you can have a gun if you can get it into your house, so long as you keep it in your house, you can have it,” said Dino Drudi, a public speaker at the second reading of the ordinance. “That’s a more extreme gun ban than many of the gun control communities had before the Supreme Court struck it down.”
If the city council reaffirms its anti-gun ordinance on Tuesday, it may soon find itself as the first locality in the state to face a lawsuit over new local gun control laws. Virginia had, until this year anyway, a firearms preemption statute on the books that left gun laws up to the state legislature, but Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation that dramatically weakens the statute as part of a package of seven gun control bills that will become law in the state on July 1st.
While Alexandria may be the first to pass a local gun control ordinance, they won’t be the last. Over the next few weeks, expect to see similar ordinances introduced in localities throughout northern Virginia, as well as cities like Richmond and Charlottesville as anti-gun politicians take advantage of the newfound opportunity to restrict the right to keep and bear arms. Thanks in part to the efforts of Virginia gun owners in establishing Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions and ordinances, however, I believe that most of the local governments in the state will take a pass on imposing any new restrictions on legal gun owners.