It’s supposed to be a beautiful day in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday. The streets of the Old Town section of the city just across the river from Washington, D.C. will likely be crowded with folks soaking in the sun and dining outside at one of the many small restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood, but the biggest crowd of all could be outside of the Alexandria City Hall. That’s where gun owners are expected to gather to protest a new local ordinance that could get final approval by the city council in the coming days.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League says the protest on Saturday afternoon is designed not only to let city council members in Alexandria know of the disapproval of the new ordinance, but to also send a message to other localities around the state that may be considering adding local gun control measures of their own.
The organization encouraged gun owners from outside Alexandria to come into the area to support the protest.
“If passed, this ordinance would take effect on Wednesday, July 1, and would make criminals out of peaceful gun owners for merely being on a street that abuts a permitted event, or walking through any one of a myriad of public parks, or to go in City Hall to pay their taxes!” the VCDL said. “As gun owners, we need to stand together and fight gun control as a team. Gun owners should come to protests, even if they are in different localities. Fairfax, Falls Church, Prince William, Arlington, and Loudoun gun owners need to support Alexandria gun owners and vice versa. An attack on the gun-rights of any of us, is an attack on all of us!”
As it stands now, the proposed ordinance would make it a misdemeanor crime to carry a lawfully possessed firearm on city property or in government buildings, as well as at permitted public events and even nearby streets. For years, Virginia’s firearm preemption laws has left it up to the state legislature to regulate firearms, but after Democrats took control of the General Assembly in last November’s elections, they sent a bill weakening the state’s preemption laws to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk, where he eagerly put pen to paper.
The VCDL says Saturday’s protest is focused entirely on the new ordinance proposed by the Alexandria City Council, and they’re hoping for a civil gathering in the deep-blue city.
“We are there to protest one thing and one thing only: City Council’s proposed ordinance to strip us of our right to self-defense,” the VCDL said. “Do NOT be goaded by any bystanders into addressing any ANY other issues. Stay on point. I have notified the police department that we will be there to peacefully protest.”
If, as expected, the city council does approve their new ordinance, it’s likely that Alexandria will be the first city sued after Virginia’s new gun control laws take effect on July 1st. Unfortunately, I doubt they’ll be the last, as politicians in other northern Virginia locales like Falls Church and Fairfax County have already signaled that they’re ready to move ahead with ordinances of their own that are virtually identical to what’s being considered in Alexandria.
I won’t be able to make the drive up to Alexandria, unfortunately, but I’m hoping there’s a strong turnout. It likely won’t sway the city council members poised to enact their new gun control law, but a good showing on behalf of Second Amendment supporters could very well have an impact on other local politicians around the state, particularly in places that aren’t as deeply entrenched in Democrat politics as Alexandria and the D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia.