RICHMOND, Va. --Mayor Levar Stoney is pushing for gun reforms across the city.
On Monday, he called for City Council to draft a measure effectively banning guns from municipal buildings and city parks.
The push is a response to the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, which took place in a city building, as well as the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson who died after someone opened fire in Carter Jones Park in May 2019.
However, under current Virginia law, Richmond does not have the authority to enact such an ordinance. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, meaning the state must grant such authority.
Stoney said he is introducing the measure ahead of the General Assembly's July 9 special session called by Governor Ralph Northam to address gun violence.
Stoney said should the General Assembly grant Richmond the authority to enact their own gun control legislation, he wants the city's law to have already been passed so that it can go into effect on the same day.
“I want us to be primed and ready to protect our citizens, and our employees, when the General Assembly acts on this commonsense measure,” added Stoney. “I don’t want to have to wait to start this process until after we’ve been granted this authority.”
However, opponents of Stoney’s proposal said the bans would not have any impact.
"This is politics. This is not saving lives,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League.
He added that the laws would not stop someone intent on breaking the law.
"They don’t care about his laws. The only people that are going to care are people like you and me. We’ll obey them, but so what. We’re not the ones that are going to hurt anybody," he added.
At the same news conference where Stoney made this announcement, 9th District Councilman Michael Jones, who said he supported the Mayor's initiative, said he was also going to introduce a resolution at Monday night's City Council meeting to install metal detectors at City Hall.
"One mayor put them in, another mayor took them out, and I don't believe it should be any one person that can remove or place them. I think it should be the expressed will of the council," added Jones.