‘Gun-Free’ Policy Disarmed Virginia Beach Victim, Family Calls for Investigation

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.

SEE ALSO: Must-Watch Video: Stossel, Lott Debunk Fake News on Mass Public Shootings in U.S.

“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.”

SEE ALSO: Concealed Carriers Stopped 8 Percent of Active Shooter Incidents in the Last Two Years

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.

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • DaveGinOly June 23, 2019, 10:47 pm

    Here is something I wrote in response to a comment elsewhere about the creation of “gun free zones” at private business locations. It applies equally to this situation, so I’ll leave the language intact:

    Making a business place a gun-free zone is an establishment’s attempt at securing the venue from the threat of assailants armed with firearms. If the security arrangements fail, then the business is responsible for having taken inadequate precautions. They are better off being neutral and presenting no pretext of security from armed assault, than they are in creating a false impression of security to the public that uses their facilities. People who voluntarily enter gun-free zones do not do so thinking, “I know I’m exposing myself to a greater threat of danger here.” In fact, gun-free zones are meant to convey exactly the opposite impression and businesses understand that most people are stupid enough to believe it. It is the falsity of this impression, and the intent to make it, that makes businesses responsible for what happens when their security fails. They create what is effectively an implied contract – If you disarm yourself to do business with me, I will keep you safe while you are in my establishment – and then fail at their end of it.

    Also, businesses that create gun-free zones take active steps to prevent people from protecting themselves, so they become responsible when they fail to prevent a criminal act because they have assumed complete responsibility for the individual’s safety. (If they have not, shouldn’t gun-free zone signs have a disclaimer – “By establishing a gun-free zone on this premises, (business name here) makes no guarantees, express or implied, concerning your personal safety”?) Unlike merely posting guards to protect, they make individuals on their property vulnerable to predators who get past their (inadequate) security. This is very unlike the situation with firearms manufacturers. (The post to which I was responding said holding a business with a “gun free zone” responsible for violence on premises “makes as much sense as holding firearms manufacturers responsible for gun violence.”)

    This is very much like the home owner who clears snow from his walk imperfectly, who becomes responsible for leaving a hazard (like ice) in place while creating a perception of safety (no snow). The home owner is better off leaving an obvious safety hazard in place so people will avoid it, rather than encouraging the public to presume the home owner’s efforts have created a safe environment. The home owner becomes responsible for creating a false impression of safety, leading people to injury.

    So too the business owner is better off having no policy on weapons, rather than having one that falsely implies security when it provides no such thing. The decision to avoid the location because it admits armed patrons or to ignore the potential danger posed by those patrons and to take personal responsibility for protecting oneself should a threat materialize, is a decision that should be left to the individual patron.

  • Brian Wall June 22, 2019, 4:56 am

    A tragic situation.

    I had a somewhat similar situation a couple of years ago. I was worried about a coworker potentially going off the rails. He melted down when I wasn’t there, and didn’t hurt anyone, as it turned out. Prior to that, I started carrying a micro pistol in deep concealment, knowing that I was risking termination. (I am licensed to carry.) I had no metal detectors to deal with. So, I just had to be extremely discreet, and was able to pull it off. At the end of the day, what’s more important, your job or your life? Just my 2-cents worth. I’m not trying to trivialize any of this. It’s a deeply personal decision, and everyone’s situation is different.

    A gun-free zone is simply a target-rich environment for a murderer.

    Splice

  • Michael J June 21, 2019, 10:59 pm

    Those who made these gun free zone policies are as guilty as if they themselves pulled the trigger.

  • Kogashuko June 21, 2019, 9:08 pm

    I wish everyone would stop overlooking this law. A city building is covered under this statute and it covers administrative action.

    https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title15.2/chapter9/section15.2-915/

    • Kogashuko June 21, 2019, 9:09 pm

      So yes VA beach has liability in this one for breaking the law.

  • john June 21, 2019, 9:05 am

    I’ve said it all along , you post a 30:06 ,30:07 on the front door of your business, OK! you are forcing me to be disarmed and incapable of defending myself. YOU made that decision for me , therefore YOU are now responsible for protecting me ! PERIOD! each and every victim family in such situation should sue the crap out of the owners of the establishment for wrongful death, loss of wages , etc … Throw the book at them.

    • perlcat June 21, 2019, 10:52 am

      This is one of the bones I have to pick with CCW laws. Your CCW “privilege” is often dependent upon observing gun free zones resulting in your endangerment in a denial of your reason for carrying in the first place. I want no part of such a law — if you carried in violation of the gun free zone and the CCW law in my state, and used it in self defense, then after you saved your life and the lives of dozens of others, you get to look forward to being prosecuted for two “crimes”. You’re better off not getting a CCW permit and taking your chances — you’d only be prosecuted for one crime then. Self defense shouldn’t be a crime.

  • Michael June 21, 2019, 3:55 am

    I heard he made the suppressor illegally, and didn’t have a tax stamp for it. Not sure how true this is.

    • deanbob June 21, 2019, 8:14 am

      I wonder how these politicians might act if they were to be held culpable (via lawsuits) for preventing citizens the means to defend themselves?

      • Grady June 21, 2019, 1:35 pm

        You can’t sue them. They have passed laws to protect themselves from lawsuits concerning anything they did in the line of their job while in office.

      • perlcat June 21, 2019, 2:50 pm

        Politicians are geniuses at getting themselves off the hook for the damage they do.

  • Sepp W June 20, 2019, 7:06 pm

    Speaker Cox,

    Please don’t use made-up terms invented by anti-gunners and liberal haters of the Constitution and individual rights and freedoms. Instead of saying, ““We believe addressing gun violence starts with holding criminals accountable for their actions, not infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.” Strike “gun violence” and replace with, “violent crimes committed with a firearm (or better still any weapon/instrument).”

    Sincerely,

    Concerned Virginian

  • Dr Motown June 20, 2019, 8:50 am

    Good luck getting the city to investigate the shooter….maybe if he was of another skin color or wearing a certain red hat

    • Sepp W June 20, 2019, 7:12 pm

      No. There was cover up going on from the get go. How does a person resign amicably, and then return and start shooting the place up? It took days for the truth to finally be revealed.

      Since he’s dead, there is nothing to investigate. However, those responsible for declaring the work space a “gun-free zone” should held criminally liable for not providing for the security of the employees confined therein.

      • John W. Raccasi June 23, 2019, 1:41 am

        So true, so very true, if you are not going to allow me to be able to protect myself then security needs to be provided…competent securty

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