Virginia Beach, Va. - The Virginia Beach City Council is backing away from part of a request that could have sent legal gun owners to jail if they failed to report a weapon stolen or lost.
The request received a "110 percent negative reaction" Councilman Jim Wood told his colleagues at a meeting today. The city's gun request was revealed in a NewsChannel 3 story last month. Immediately, gun-rights advocates mounted opposition, saying the proposal was attacking the wrong end of the problem. The idea would do nothing to stop the gun-stealing criminals, said Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and would instead make a legal gun owner a victim twice.
Robert Marcus, president of the Virginia Firearms Dealers Association, also said the idea was a "feel good" proposal that would do nothing to make people safer.
The proposal was part of the city's annual "Legislative Agenda" of proposals to the General Assembly. It is a compilation of requests to legislate things as weighty as the division of transportation money, and as light as regulating the number of celebratory balloons a person can release.
The stolen-gun proposal reviewed by the City Council today retained most of the language in the original document, but dropped the idea of making violations a Class 1 misdemeanor. In the new version, the punishment would be only a fine for intentionally failing to report a lost or stolen gun.
Next Tuesday, the City Council will present its package of requests to the public for comment, and then will vote on which requests to send to Richmond.