RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Council unanimously decided to delay the vote on Mayor Stoney’s ordinance prohibiting firearms adjacent to events requiring a permit this afternoon. The city council will now vote on the ordinance in September instead.
If approved, this ordinance would modify the Richmond City Code section on “Carrying Firearms in Certain Places.” Under the new ordinance the possession, carrying or transportation of firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk or open public space when it is being used by or adjacent to an event that requires a city permit.
The ordinance does not apply to authorized military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, law enforcement officers or security guards contracted or employed by the City of Richmond.
Earlier this month, Stoney’s administration said this ordinance was made possible by a recent amendment by the Virginia General Assembly to the Code of Virginia.
Stoney is frustrated the council is delaying the vote but several council members say they want more time to “dig deeper” into the law before voting.
“I’m disappointed in the city council that they delayed keeping our community safe,” Stoney said. “It just doesn’t make any sense, other localities across the commonwealth have already moved on this.”
Council members Chris Hilbert and Kristen Larson were concerned about the language of the ordinance and how it would be enforced. Council members Kim Gray and Stephanie Lynch were not at today’s virtual meeting. The city council is set to vote on the ordinance on Sept. 8.
Councilwoman Kristen Larson was concerned that the proper process of voting on the ordinance was not being followed. July’s Public Safety Committee meeting was canceled, so the ordinance went straight to city council for a vote.
“In committee, we vet it, we ask questions, we dig deep. Instead, this paper was introduced 10 days ago and it’s in front of us for a vote right now,” said Larson during the virtual meeting.
Mayor Stoney said the ordinance is a “common sense” law that impacts public safety. “We just got to come to these meetings prepared to act. I didn’t see that today. We’re in an urgent situation,” he said.
However, some council members believe it is not that simple. Vice President Chris Hilbert said he is in support of the ordinance, but is worried about some of its language. “I’m concerned about the word ‘adjacent’ and how is that defined,” Hilbert said.
The council members had a chance to ask Police Chief Gerald Smith, legal counsel to Richmond Police David Mitchell and City Attorney Haskell Brown questions about the ordinance during the virtual meeting. Ultimately, all six members present, Mike Jones, Ellen Robertson, Kristen Larson, Reva Trammel, Andreas Addison, Chris Hilbert and President Cynthia Newbille decided to delay the vote.
“Giving us a little bit more time to get some feedback on those items as well as a little more time for public input,” Larson said.
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