Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is beginning to see the fruits of his labor for the gun control lobby.
After the state assembly voted this year to allow local governments to ban guns on city property, the city of Alexandria just outside of Washington, D.C., decided unanimously this weekend to do just that.
Beginning on July 1, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to one year in jail or a fine up to $2,500) to possess, carry or transport firearms or ammunition in any city-owned or operated building, park or recreational or community facility as well as special events requiring a permit on public streets, roads, alleys, sidewalks or public right of way.
The ordinance also prohibits guns “in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk or public right-of-way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public and is being used by or is adjacent to a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.”
Phil Van Cleave, President of the gun rights group the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, accused the city council of being “driven by emotion” in an email to supporters.
“For a few minutes it looked like the Alexandria City Council might have some members who actually wanted to consider the concerns of gun owners. Some logic and reason seemed to want to rear its head,” he said. “But no, logic and reason was just too much for City Council to handle. They are driven by emotion and simply want to impose their will on the citizens of the Commonwealth. Logic and reason would screw that up.”
Pro-gun supporters outnumbered anti-gun activists by a two-to-one margin at the hearing, according to Van Cleave.
While the left-leaning council was unlikely to kill the ordinance, the VCDL was hoping to gain exemptions for Virginia residents licensed to carry firearms. The ordinance does include exemptions for military and law enforcement personnel, but it does not exempt CHP holders.
“I can’t really describe my feeling of disgust with Alexandria’s City Council over this vote,” Van Cleave said. “Because they don’t like guns they don’t give a damn if their ordinance endangers CHP holders who are under active threat.”
Van Cleave and others also noted that the “adjacent road” language may prohibit firearm possession outside the home for anyone who lives on a street bordering an event location.
“[The city council doesn’t] care that during an event, everyone who lives on an adjacent street cannot leave or enter their property if armed. You are held hostage until the event or events are over,” Van Cleave said.
Local media coverage noted that the council heard from residents both for and against the resolution. But Van Cleave pointed out that anti-gun Delegate Mark Levine was asked “gratuitous questions” by the city council, which took time from the pro-gun speakers and weighted public testimony in favor of the ordinance.
SEE ALSO: ‘I said it’: Democratic Virginia Senator Admits to Retaliating Against Sheriffs Who Supported Sanctuary Movement
Alexandria’s decision represents a sea change in how the state regulates gun control. Prior to 2020, local governments were not permitted to ban firearms on city property or enact measures without permission from the state. This year, however, the Democrat-controlled legislature voted to overturn that prohibition and allow municipalities to create gun control policies that expand upon state laws.
Van Cleave called on his supporters to boycott Alexandria businesses unless those businesses post a sign welcoming gun owners. He also encouraged pro-gun residents to run for city council:
“If you live in Alexandria, consider running for City Council. Let’s get those worthless individuals out of power. All that said, VCDL isn’t necessarily through with Alexandria just yet. Stay tuned.”