The city of Roanoke is facing a lawsuit. We've already talked about that earlier this week. In short, their definition of gun-free zone was way too vague.
So, it seems the city figured the best way to avoid a lawsuit was to amend the law.
In theory, this should put an end to the issue, right?
Well, the lawsuit is still continuing, and not without what I think is a valid reason. You see, city officials aren't saying they messed up, which brings up a potential problem down the road.
Following a lawsuit against the city by local gun rights groups, Roanoke’s City Council voted Tuesday to amend the city’s gun laws. They decided to remove a section that states guns are not allowed anywhere adjacent to a permitted event or at an event that would otherwise require a permit.
City Attorney Tim Spencer made it clear the change wasn’t because of this lawsuit.
“First of all, the the recommended amendments are not made because we believe our current ordinance is not legal or unconstitutional; we believe our current ordinance as drafted is legal and constitutional,” explained Spencer.
Spencer says the city doesn’t have resources to post firearm prohibited signs at all permitted events. Because of this, there’s a possibility of the ordinance changing again in the future.
Despite the change, Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave says they will continue the lawsuit because of this.
“We don’t want to play ping pong, where we sue them, they get rid of it, we drop the suit, they bring it back, then we sue them, they drop it, we’re not going to play ping pong like that, so the case is going to continue,” Van Cleave told WDBJ7.
I can't actually blame Van Cleave, especially since Spencer explicitly says the law may be changed later.
In other words, yeah, there's every possibility that the law was changed to make the VCDL drop the lawsuit, then bring it back later after the furor dies down somewhat.
What they think they'd gain is beyond me since VCDL would just file a new lawsuit, but they seem to suggest that's the plan.
After all, we all know laws can be changed at any point if the voting body decides to change them. Saying it explicitly like that sure as hell feels like Spencer was trying to taunt the VCDL, which doesn't seem particularly smart.
I don't blame Van Cleave and his group for keeping the lawsuit going. My hope, however, is that the courts don't decide they no longer have standing because the law has changed. It's a real concern and one that I pray isn't realized.
The truth of the matter is that Roanoke has embraced the idea that people are somehow endangered by lawfully owned and carried firearms. They want to restrict where law-abiding, responsible citizens lawfully carrying a firearm can go without any recognition of the fact that the criminals out there aren't exactly tripping over themselves to accommodate gun-free zones.
May this lawsuit smack down stupid laws throughout the state. People in Virginia deserve better than this.