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Charlottesville City Council prohibits guns on city property, approves honorary street names

CharlottesvilleCharlottesville City Council unanimously voted in favor a prohibition of firearms on city property at its meeting on Tuesday.

In the new amendment of city code, guns would no longer be permitted on city-owned land, such as courthouses, parks, public streets, city events, and other community centers.

City residents spoke both against and in favor of the ordinance. Sarah Hart of Fifeville stated that “our community’s gathering spaces … should not be where opportunities for lethal violence are allowed to happen.” Hart expressed concern that open carry laws had been exploited by hate groups claiming peaceful assembly.

On the other side, Bret Lansdowne spoke against the ordinance. Lansdowne claimed the new ordinance violates Second Amendment rights, and said it will “do nothing but keep the good guys — us — from having weapons in Charlottesville.”

He continued, asking Council members, “how many people will not be able to defend themselves?”

Councilman Lloyd Snook explained the motivation for the ordinance, emphasizing the importance of city authority in public spaces. He referenced the events of Aug. 12, 2017, lamenting that the city was legally unable to prohibit the armed gathering.

Snook explained that the ordinance could help prevent similar circumstances in the future, and prevent violence on city property.

After Snook spoke, Council approved the measure unanimously.

Council also approved two honorary street names. The first is “C.H. Brown Boulevard” on Rosser Avenue. Brown was a religious leader in Charlottesville, and built homes for minority families in Charlottesville.

The second proposal designates a section of Market Street “Black Lives Matter Boulevard.”

These changes come on the heels of Charlottesville’s removal of public Confederate monuments.

Michael Caplan, speaking in support of the new designations, told Council that “this is a moment when our city needs new heroes.” Council will continue to consider more applications for street designations in future meetings.

Story by Grace Ayyildiz

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