The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to send a proposed gun control ordinance to public hearing. The proposed ordinance would ban firearms in county buildings, parks, and on streets near permitted events, similarly to new gun control ordinances in other cities. Second Amendment advocates spoke against the ordinance during public portions of the Tuesday meeting.
Supervisor Caleb Kershner said the ordinance would make employees less safe at work.
“We may be paying political chips because we campaigned on this, but a vote on this will make you less safe, plain and simple,” he said.
Supervisor Kristen Umstattd said she would support sending the ordinance to public hearing, but wanted to add an exemption for concealed carry holders. Umstattd referred to concerns emailed to the board by Jewish community members, who were concerned that the law would make it harder for them to defend themselves in the case of a synagogue shooting.
Umstattd said, “I will be supporting [Supervisor Juli] Briskman’s motion tonight but I do believe that if we prohibit even those who have lawful concealed carry permits from being able to carry firearms, that we are endangering especially those in a targeted religious minority. And they are not the only targeted minority by some of the white supremacists who, unfortunately, have become more and more powerful lately.”
Supervisor Tony Buffington noted that there is a high bar required to get a concealed carry permit and said he would call for a motion to add an exemption. Chair Phyllis Randall noted that the ordinance allowed for contracted private security to carry firearms.
Supervisor Koran Saines said the time to consider adding an exemption to the ordinance would be after the public hearing of the ordinance. The board voted against Buffington’s motion to add a concealed carry exemption.
Saines said, “What we’re possibly proposing to do is nothing different than when you go to visit our congress folks, our senators at Capitol Hill. You can’t bring weapons there in those facilities. You can’t bring a weapon into the White House.”
He added, “You can’t carry a gun into our court which is right down the street. So if this was to pass, we’re simply asking to do the same things that you’re accustomed to already for those entities.”
Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave spoke during a public comment section of the meeting. He said that signs are ineffective at preventing people from carrying guns. “The question is with the proposal on gun control, who are you trying to protect?”
Van Cleave said it is rare for concealed carry permit holders to have their permits revoked. “These people simply don’t commit crimes and to restrict their rights is really spitting in the face of the law-abiding citizen.”
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