Joining the ranks of other urban jurisdictions, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (FCBOS) voted nine-to-one on Tuesday to enact a gun ban in city buildings, parks, and at or near permitted events. Also on Tuesday, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (LCBOS) voted four-to five against evaluating a potential ordinance controlling gun noise.
During the public hearing portion of the FCBOS meeting, resident Andrew Bates said, “I’m basically a unicorn and I don’t exist. I’m a liberal Second Amendment supporter. So that’s like a no-no now, we’re not allowed to talk about that, that doesn’t happen, but we do exist. So I want you all at this time to consider this in a non-partisan way.”
Bates said Fairfax County is very large and has many parks. “We are blessed to have so many parks and trails throughout the county so it’s easy to think [in a straightforward way] about government buildings. But for example, there’s no sidewalks on Route 50. Where I live the only way to get from one point to another is a path. And if you look into the bushes, there’s a little sign that says ‘Something Something Park, Fairfax County Authority’, but it is the only way to walk down Route 50 without getting hit by a car.”
“My request to you all is reasonable and simple: please take this back to committee,” Bates said.
During the FCBOS discussion, Supervisor Pat Herrity said, “The time is late, I would have hoped we would take this back to committee so we would have a discussion, absorb the testimony we heard tonight, and get the details right. To me this needs to be about public safety, not about politics, but I fear that politics will again rule the day.” Herrity added, “I don’t believe a ban on guns makes Fairfax County public spaces or citizens any safer and for me that’s the benchmark.”
Chairman Jeffrey McKay said the FCBOS has petitioned the legislature to allow local gun control laws for the past 24 years. “Those of us who have been the board know that few things have been more debated in public than this issue.” McKay continued, “Going back through committee might be a way to avoid having to vote on something that I believe a majority of our residents support that is very reasonable, and frankly has been very very thoroughly discussed in this committee.”
On Tuesday, the LCBOS voted against studying a noise ordinance, in part because noise complaints could be handled under existing ordinances, according to The Loudoun Times-Mirror. However, the LCBOS is considering a gun ban ordinance similar to the one enacted in Fairfax.
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