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Richmond passes sweeping ban on carrying guns if a public event or protesters are nearby

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Anti-gun advocates in Virginia celebrated a victory as the Richmond City Council unanimously passed a sweeping ban on the carrying of firearms in public.

Less than one year after thousands of Second Amendment supporters rallied in front of  Virginia’s state capitol building against Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control plans, the city of Richmond voted to approve an anti-gun measure introduced last month by Mayor Levar Stoney, also a Democrat.


(Source: WTVR)

Effective immediately, the new law will “prohibit the possession, carrying or transportation of any firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit,” WWBT-TV reported.

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith spoke about recent events, such as those in Kenosha, Wis., to the council before Tuesday’s vote, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“When you increase tensions with firearms, it’s just not a good mix,” Smith said. “Sooner or later, we are going to have different groups with different opinions who square off with each other. I believe this will be something we can use to increase safety in all of Richmond.”

Councilmember Kim Gray oddly claimed she was “following through on the will of the people” as she cited only 170 emails from constituents urging her to vote in favor of the measure, according to WWBT.

The law supposedly would not apply to “authorized military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, law enforcement officers or security guards contracted or employed by the City of Richmond” and Smith noted that private gun-owning citizens would be exempt if they lived near where protests were taking place.

But Gray noted that this was not necessarily the case.

Questions about the constitutionality of the law were also reportedly addressed at the council meeting where Gray, though she supported the measure, noted the vague language.

“The actual language of the law does not provide an exemption so if I’m stepping on to the sidewalk to get into my car, then I’m potentially in violation of that rule if there is a protest adjacent to that public right of way,” said Gray. “I think the real answers in that prevention lie in leveraging our community leaders.”

“I think it’s really weak. The way it’s written is not great,” Councilwoman Kristen Larson said during the meeting as she and others voiced concerns about how the law will even be enforced in areas “adjacent” to an event.

Councilman Andreas Addison brought up the practical nature of trying to enforce a fluid protest that was making its way through different city streets where many gun owners could potentially be in violation if they happen to live in the area or be driving through at the moment.

Despite the reservations brought up by many, the unclear language and questions about the law’s potential violation of the Constitutional rights of Richmond citizens, the city council passed the measure anyway. It will likely soon be copied in other Democrat-led Virginia cities.

And if responses on social media were any indication, the mayor’s absurd gun-control measure may also soon be met with lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.

 

Frieda Powers

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