NORFOLK, Va.— Gun rights advocates will be heard by Norfolk City Council after months of lobbying for more firearm protections.
Robert Brown is the Chair of the 2nd Amendment Preservation Coalition, which is petitioning city council to consider an ordinance to protect the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.
“The Constitution says ‘the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ It doesn't say government grants you the rights,” said Brown.
The Coalition garnered enough signatures to bring the proposed ordinance to city council members to either reject, adopt or try to amend.
Council will hear comments at Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting in the first of two public hearings on whether to adopt the Coalition’s ordinance to prohibit the city from passing regulatory gun laws.
“Nobody's advocating anything other than to take care of— protect their home, their family and their business,” said Brown.
A proposed ordinance intended to prohibit guns in public spaces like buildings, parks and at events was abruptly removed from the city council agenda in August after backlash over confusing text. Since then, council has not taken up the issue.
“If you're going to want to propose something, how about having a conversation with us? Be transparent about it,” said Brown.
The Virginia General Assembly passed a law this year allowing localities to regulate firearms on public property that went into effect July 1.
Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach all passed legislation reaffirming a commitment to protect Second Amendment constitutional rights.
City council can decide to vote on the ordinance or do nothing. Brown says he would be surprised if council takes any action.
“If someone's carrying a weapon, they could save dozens of lives, and that's our position and it's not going to change,” he says.
Brown says if council is unwilling to at least amend the ordinance in good faith, his next step is to collect the 4,000 signatures needed to try to get a referendum on the ballot so voters can have the final say.