Virginia Beach Council defers vote to support bill that could allow gun ban in public buildings

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – On Tuesday, the Virginia Beach City Council voted to hold off on supporting legislation to allow local governments, not the state, to have the right to decide if guns should be allowed in city-owned buildings.

Virginia Beach City Council voted 8-2 (Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson was absent) Tuesday to defer a resolution that would support a bill Delegate Kelly Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) plans to sponsor at a special session of the General Assembly on July 9. 

The session calling for lawmakers to take up “common-sense” laws related to guns was called by Governor Ralph Northam days after an employee shot 12 dead, and injured 4 others in Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. 

Fowler’s bill would allow localities to ban guns and ammunition from buildings owned and used by local government. 

While city employees are barred from having weapons, currently only the General Assembly has the authority to ban the public from carrying.

Well more than 30 people, including city employees who were inside when the massacre began, passionately voiced their opinions on both sides of the issue.

Council members Sabrina Wooten and Guy Tower co-sponsored the resolution and were also the two who voted against deferring. 

“This is not about politics, its a human issue that must be addressed now,” Wooten said.

However a majority of her colleagues didn’t agree.

“Yeah, I’m mad and it’s time to do something,” said Councilwoman Barbara Henley ( Princess Anne). “But we can’t make a knee jerk decision.” 

Mayor Bobby Dyer said more meaningful conversations need to happen before action of this type is taken. 

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