Posted on June 15, 2020

Gun Owners Protest Proposed Ban on Firearms in Alexandria Parks, City Buildings

Ian Duncan, Washington Post, June 13, 2020

With handguns holstered at many hips and a few rifles in hand, about 200 people assembled Saturday in the square in front of Alexandria City Hall to oppose a proposed ban on firearms in municipal buildings and parks.


The rally was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which also staged mass demonstrations in Richmond this year against Democrats’ largely successful efforts to tighten the state’s gun laws.


The ordinance being considered by the Alexandria City Council would prohibit people from carrying guns on city property and on streets where special events are being held.

Police and private security guards working for the city would be exempt. A violation of the law would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The measure was introduced at a council meeting last week and could pass after a virtual public meeting on June 20, going into force July 1.

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson (D) said he has long supported imposing the ban, saying firearms don’t have a place in the city’s public buildings.


But protest organizers circulated among the almost entirely white crowd, handing out bright orange stickers printed with the words “Guns save lives.” Others wore T-shirts with the same message, and some of those who attended Saturday said they didn’t always want to rely on the police for protection.


The city previously had the authority to regulate guns in public buildings, but the General Assembly stripped its power two decades ago. Wilson said officials in Alexandria have long been working to regain it. {snip}

The state law was eventually changed during this year’s legislative session.

“We felt it was a core local control issue for Alexandria,” Wilson said. “We’re happy the General Assembly saw fit to restore that authority.”

The Alexandria proposal is part of change sweeping Virginia after Democrats took control of the legislature last year.


In the face of a huge rally by gun rights advocates, Democratic lawmakers ultimately passed laws to expand background checks and limit handgun purchases to one a month, among other new restrictions. But they did not achieve everything on their agenda, which was supported by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), failing to secure a ban on assault-style rifles.