An effort by a member of the Christiansburg, VA City Council to prohibit firearms carry in municipal buildings has apparently fallen flat, according to the Roanoke Times.
Councilman Steve Huppert reportedly suggested the community “consider gun control measures similar to what Blacksburg adopted last month.” However, perhaps to his surprise, there were no takers. Fellow Councilman Henry Showalter reportedly observed, “This isn’t part of the agenda.” Councilwoman Merissa Sachs disagreed with Huppert’s perspective, noting concerns about infringing on the rights of her constituents, the newspaper indicated.
Virginians could have seen this coming when the Democrat-controlled assembly last year passed a “local option” measure, essentially the opposite of state preemption, where gun regulation is solely the responsibility of the state legislature. A majority of states have such laws, and gun rights supporters defend such laws zealously in an effort to prevent the return of “patchwork” gun regulation that confuses citizens and may even conflict with neighboring jurisdictions.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, there are more than 19 million citizens across the country who are licensed to carry. Last year, when Democrats took over state government in Virginia, more than 22,000 citizens showed up in Richmond to oppose their gun control agenda. When Democrats adopted much of their agenda, gun owners in the Commonwealth started working to throw them out of office and restore GOP control. In 2019, only about 40 percent of the state’s voters bothered to cast a ballot, but that’s not likely to happen again this coming November. If Republicans do regain control, including electing a Republican governor, it’s a safe bet the local control scenario will be scrapped.
Concern about guns in public buildings has been a point of contention since the shooting of some city employees in Virginia Beach almost two years ago by a “disgruntled” city worker.
But during the discussion on Huppert’s proposal in Christiansburg, Councilwoman Johana Hicks reportedly observed that criminals don’t obey the law and would not be hampered by such a measure. She also said the proposal would merely penalize law-abiding citizens, the Roanoke Times said.
Anti-gunners dislike state preemption statutes because they prohibit local municipalities from adopting rules that go beyond what the state allows anywhere else within its borders. With state preemption, there is uniformity in the law, whether one lives in Richmond or Roanoke. What is legal in Alexandria would also be legal in Danville under preemption.
When Virginia’s law was weakened last year, the National Rifle Association, which is headquartered in the state, said this: “Recent changes to Virginia’s state firearms preemption law have enabled radical local politicians to create an incomprehensible patchwork of gun-free zones that could ensnare even the most diligent gun owner.”