The Roanoke City Council doesn’t like the idea of their constituents being armed, at least not while they’re in close proximity to lawmakers. That much is clear.
Of course, it’s clear because they’re going to try yet again to push the legislature to allow them to ban guns from city council meetings.
The Roanoke City Council is likely to try again to convince the General Assembly to allow it to bar firearms from council meetings, and is also poised to endorse a plan to use an anticipated windfall in state tax revenue to fund school facilities repairs and renovations across the commonwealth.
The council discussed both those options Tuesday as it refined a draft of its proposed 2019 legislative agenda.
They included a measure seeking the General Assembly’s permission to ban guns altogether from city hall in the 2017 session, but that bill died a hard death in a Senate committee.
The new proposal is more narrowly tailored. It doesn’t seek a total ban on firearms in the municipal building but instead seeks to bar guns in places where a local governing body is meeting.
The ban would apply only during a council session, not all the time, and it would apply wherever the council meets, even if it’s not in the municipal building.
“That’s a step and it’s only one step,” said Councilman Bill Bestpitch during the meeting of council’s legislative committee, which he chairs.
He noted that there’s ample precedent for what the city is seeking. Guns are banned from local courthouses and parts of the General Assembly itself.
“This is really no different than other arms of government,” he said.
“That’s a step and it’s only one step,” Bestpitch said.
Kind of makes you wonder just what the next step will be, won’t it?
Look, politics is contentious. I get that as well as anyone. I know the kind of things I’ve been called by people on my own side recently, so I get it. However, let’s also be clear here. The city council wants special protection because they think they deserve it.
There are no specific threats. There have been no incidents. There’s no reason to enact this now except for the members of the council wanting the protection for themselves. That’s it.
If they bothered to understand the issue here, creating a new law won’t stop someone who wants to hurt them during a meeting. Someone who wants to do that will ignore the law anyway. After all, this is someone who either doesn’t care about prison or isn’t planning on surviving anyway. After all, opening fire during a public meeting is probably not the way to get away with murder. Does anyone think someone so inclined will obey a law about guns in the meeting?
Of course, they won’t.
But that won’t stop people like the Roanoke City Council from wanting to feel special behind a law that ostensibly protects them. After all, people who tend to support anti-gun laws tend to be governed more by feelings than facts anyway.