By: Ashleigh Meyer
With preemption protections out of the way thanks to Wreck-It-Ralph Northam, the city of Alexandria, Virginia has moved to hold a final vote to ban firearms in certain public places.
Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which limits the authority of local governments to make decisions that are not in line with state law. Until recently, these preemption laws protected Second Amendment rights and helped to avoid confusing, inconsistent gun laws from town to town.
Following the Virginia Beach shooting in May of 2019, however, Gov. Northam released a lengthy gun ban proposal that included the measure to allow localities to pass their own gun restrictions. Initially, the measure failed, but after winning a Democratic majority in 2020, the legislation passed in the form of Senate Bill 35, which “authorizes any locality by ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or any combination thereof in any building … any public park … any recreation or community center facility; or any public street, road, alley, sidewalk or public right-of-way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public.”
SB 35 will take effect on July 1. Alexandria has not wasted any time drafting their proposal, which would prohibit possession or transportation of a firearm in any public, city-owned space. It would also ban firearms from public events taking place on streets and sidewalks. Anyone found in violation of the proposed legislation could be subject to 12 months in jail or a $2,500 fine.
With localities free to draft their own specific gun laws, gun owners find themselves in the difficult position of having to study the regulations in every town or county they travel through within their own home state, or run the risk of legal consequences. The final vote for Alexandria’s gun ban will take place on June 20. More localities are expected to follow.
Ashleigh Meyer is a professional writer and Conservative political journalist from rural Virginia.