Court Decision Pending on Norfolk Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance

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The Norfolk 2nd Amendment Preservation Coalition is awaiting the court’s decision on whether they will secure an ordinance or a special election for it. The ordinance would restrict gun ownership regulations.

The 2nd Amendment Preservation Coalition went to court after the COVID-19 shutdowns hindered their ability to collect petition signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot.

The coalition created the ordinance after Norfolk City Council wouldn’t include gun regulation issues on their agendas. According to the council rules, a majority of council members must have an interest in putting the item on the agenda.

If passed, the “2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance” would limit the city of Norfolk from regulating gun ownership.

Many counties in Virginia have instituted Second Amendment sanctuaries – the city of Norfolk hasn’t.

Republican Party of Norfolk Chairman and Norfolk 2nd Amendment Preservation Coalition Founder Robert Brown is heading up the litigation. Brown shared with The Virginia Star the journey of their efforts thus far.

“On January 29th, after being ignored by the [city] council multiple times, I went and gave speeches and a number of 2nd Amendment reporters showed up. There were a lot of people that spoke. They [the council] sat there stoic and ignored us and actually got to be rude. They would all get up and turn out the lights in their lectern and leave. So January 29th, I filed a ballot initiative. Norfolk is one of the places you can file an initiative to start an ordinance. We started our petition drive and collected enough signatures, but not enough counted – you must be a registered voter in Norfolk. 43 days into our campaign we were shut down by the governor’s executive orders. On the last day of our campaign, I went to court and we asked to get our time back.”

Due to the pandemic-induced shutdowns that began in March, Brown and his coalition were prevented from obtaining the required signatures. In their filed complaint, the coalition cited the turnout for this year’s city council elections to justify their claim that they would’ve acquired the signatures if not for the governor’s orders restricting public gatherings and civilian movements.

The coalition also rested their arguments on the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They argued that the law in combination with the emergency orders created an undue burden on the people’s ability to submit referendums properly. They also argued that the government’s willingness to accommodate for voting should extend to ballot initiatives.

About three weeks ago, Brown and his legal team appeared in court. At the end of the trial, the judge stated that a decision would be made before the election. Brown told The Star that they will continue to fight for the cause.

“Bottom line: we’re trying to go back and try to get a second amendment preservation ordinance, perhaps a special election.”

Brown and the coalition are still awaiting a decision.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

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