On May 31st a gunman killed 12 coworkers at the Virginia Beach, VA, Municipal Center. One of the victims’ family is calling for an immediate investigation into the events surrounding the tragedy.
Kate Nixon was one of the victims, and her family is calling for the investigation. They note that there were significant events leading up to the shooting, including an altercation with the shooter on city property, and Nixon had expressed specific concerns to her husband about the shooter.
The night before the shooting, Nixon had been so concerned that she and her husband discussed her bringing a handgun with her to work. Ultimately, they decided against it because of the city’s policy that employees can’t bring weapons to work, even if they are licensed to carry a concealed firearm.
This kind of policy is common in municipal and state government facilities, and federal buildings are all no-carry zones. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation says he’s contacted about these policies all the time.
“A so-called “gun free zone” does not make people safer, because the only person who’ll have a gun is the person who violates the policy…it’s really a ‘Victim Disarmament Zone’,” Gottlieb told Fox News.
“I get a lot crossing my desk of employees who work in state or city governments who are upset that they can’t bring a gun to work to protect themselves and want to know if their rights are being violated,” he said. “They contact the Second Amendment Foundation all the time.”
In Virginia Beach, it’s a policy that keeps employees from carrying, not a law. The city’s policy says, “Employees who violate this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.” Nixon didn’t carry a handgun to work because of this policy. “The prohibition against possession of a weapon applies even if a member has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.” She was killed the day after discussing it with her husband.
Virginia Beach’s Director of the Communications Office, Julie Hill, says that some of the city council members were considering making the policy against carrying guns to work into law.
“There is an item on next week’s City Council meeting for the Council to discuss a resolution to support a bill to allow localities to prohibit the carrying of firearms in governmental buildings,” Hill told Fox News. Virginia state law supersedes, this, however, so as any prohibition passed by the City Council would need to be sanctioned by the General Assembly before it carried legal weight.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam asked lawmakers for new legislation banning suppressors and universal background checks. This was spurred by the shooter’s use of a .45 caliber handgun with a suppressor.
Virginia’s GOP Speaker, Kirk Cox, responded that the state’s Republican-led General Assembly would rather punish criminals than the law-abiding people who legally obtain guns and suppressors.
“We believe addressing gun violence starts with holding criminals accountable for their actions, not infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The shooter did not have a felony record and probably obtained his weapons legally. Facts about the shooter and the handling of the events around the shooting would all be included in the proposed investigation and would seek to bring to light the efficacy of the city’s policies and procedures.
One thing that’s sparking the investigation is that Nixon’s family didn’t know her status for many hours after the shooting, and were left chasing rumors of her whereabouts to various hospitals. They got a rumor of her death from a police officer standing by, but no official confirmation for more than 24 hours.
An objective third-party investigation would help the city refine its processes and consider the implications of its policies, like prohibiting employees from carrying weapons.
The family’s lawyer, Kevin Martingayle, says the family wants Nixon’s death to not be in vain, and an in-depth investigation could help prevent future tragedies.