Richmond City Council Considering Rolling Gun Ban During Protests

The mayor of Richmond, Virginia is a big fan of gun control, but for years, it wasn’t possible for local cities to impose their own gun laws. Virginia had preemption in place and local gun control wasn’t remotely legal, at least until the law changed this past July.

When the anti-gun legislature repealed preemption, it was just the latest move by a Democratic Party that’s bound and determined to try to make Virginia into California, Massachusetts, or New Jersey. It’s also unsurprising that lawmakers in the state’s larger cities, like Richmond, were eager to jump at the opportunity. Mayor Levar Stoney quickly proposed banning firearms from protests in the city, as well as public right of ways near ongoing protests, even those that take place without a permit and are impromptu, unscheduled affairs.

Stoney’s proposal didn’t go quite as he planned. Instead of rubber-stamping a new gun ban in public places on Thursday, the city council pushed back a vote on the issue until next month.

Richmond City Council voted to revisit Mayor Levar Stoney’s proposal of a new gun-control measure during a special meeting in September.

Stoney made his position clear on Thursday by saying guns shouldn’t be allowed at or near public events and said he’s disappointed in City Council.

Stoney proposed this ordinance less than two weeks ago and says even this week there was proof it’s needed. The mayor citing rallies such as the gun rights rally on Tuesday, where people with guns marched down city streets.

The mayor’s ordinance would disallow guns at or near public events.

“I just think that if you’re going to a public event, you should be able to go there and enjoy yourself, go there for your cause, and not feel under constant threat because of individuals walking around with an AK-47,” said Stoney.

This is, of course, a slam against the Lobby Day protestors earlier this year, as well as the continued protests that have taken place in Virginia’s capital over the past few month.

However, perhaps Stoney would do well to remember one very key fact. In particular, the fact that absolutely nothing happened on Lobby Day. Those individuals walking around with firearms did absolutely nothing to anyone. No one got hurt, no one was threatened, nothing.

That doesn’t seem to matter much to Stoney or the city council members, but they did get pushback on their gun ban from residents.

To enforce the ordinance, police would have to post signs around an event to make clear the boundaries of where firearms are prohibited.

Council members questioned how they would do that in advance of an unpermitted event that crops up, or a march that may not have a clearly denoted path. A lawyer for the police department said events that weren’t stationary would pose a challenge in meeting the noticing requirement.

Several speakers who addressed the council during an electronic public hearing on the ordinance brought up similar concerns about its enforcement, or opposed it outright, saying it would not create a safer environment.

Cheryl Nici-O’Connell, a former police officer, said she carries a gun to protect herself. She said she believed the ordinance would have unintended consequences if adopted.

“What you are doing in essence is setting up a pool of potential victims, because law-abiding citizens are always going to follow the law,” she said.

Richmond isn’t exactly a Second Amendment stronghold, so it’s very interesting that the vote was pushed back until next month. It may be a sign that this anti-gun mania that’s swept through the legislature isn’t nearly as popular as some people want to believe. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the city council actually does on this at its meeting here in a few weeks, but at the moment I’m actually cautiously optimistic that this bad bill could get defeated.