On Tuesday, I wrote about how the city of Norfolk was considering passing new gun control regulations. The new regulations would ban the carrying of a firearm on public property such as parks, event centers, and the like. It’s a bad measure, to be sure, but the local media was also reporting that it applied to local roads.
It also seemed that there was a lot of confusion on just what the law would mean.
Because of that, the city has delayed voting on the measure.
“The current language has caused confusion and alarm and needs revision,” [City Attorney Bernard] Pishko wrote.
The section in question read “The intent of this chapter is to prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms, ammunition, or combination thereof in public buildings; public parks and outdoor recreational facilities; public recreation or community center facilities; and public streets, roads, alleys, or sidewalks or public rights-of-way and other places of whatever nature owned, operated, used, or controlled by the City of Norfolk as authorized by the General Assembly.”
The seeming blanket banning of guns on public streets and sidewalks riled some, but Pishko wrote that the reference to public rights-of-way was tied to a later section — one which would prohibit guns at city-permitted events that would take place on city streets or sidewalks like First Fridays on Granby Street.
The language of the original ordinance would make a bad law even worse. You see, judges don’t look at what people intended when they wrote the law, by and large, because lawmakers vote based on the text. Even if the author of a law means it one way, it’s not up to the judge to assume that everyone who voted for the law felt the same way.
Instead, they go by the text instead.
And let’s be honest, the text of this one was pretty messed up.
While it’s good that they delayed voting on this measure, it’s far from over for the people of Norfolk. After all, the plan isn’t to scrap this and drop the issue. It would be great if it were, but it’s not.
Instead, the plan is to push this again after the language is sorted out. In other words, they’re still going to push this, they just want to remove the section that is pissing everyone off.
Well, people should be angry about this. The city’s efforts to disarm them won’t bear the fruit local lawmakers think. It won’t make Norfolk any safer. Instead, it’ll provide criminals with protected hunting preserves where they can pray on the law-abiding. It won’t make the city safer, it’ll do the precise opposite.
Meanwhile, when their gun control doesn’t work, they’ll start looking for more gun control to pass without ever realizing that they’re the problem in the first place.
Which is, unfortunately, about par for the course with any community that embraces gun control.