Signer to state: Allow removal of Lee statue, ban open carry at public events

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer is calling on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to convene a special session of the General Assembly to allow the city to remove the statue of Robert E Lee. 

mike signer charlottesvilleWith the terrorist attack, these monuments were transformed from equestrian statues into lightning rods,” Signer said. “We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek.  And so for the sake of public safety, public reassurance, to magnify Heather’s voice, and to repudiate the pure evil that visited us here, I am calling today for the removal of these Confederate statues from downtown Charlottesville.”  

With regard to public safety for public events going forward, Mayor Signer called on the General Assembly to swiftly enact legislation allowing localities to ban the open or concealed carry of weapons in public events reasonably deemed to pose a potential security threat.  

 In a new age of domestic terrorism, we need to re-examine the balance that we strike between public safety and violent protests,” said Signer. “While I am friends with many gun-owners and am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, that right, like all Constitutional rights, comes with limits.  Just as machine guns cannot be owned by civilians in this country (a restriction supported by the National Rifle Association), it should not be acceptable to open-carry or concealed-carry firearms at an event of the sort we saw last weekend.  First, the danger is too great of a catastrophic incident.  Second, it is intimidating beyond any reasonable standard for citizens, particularly members of vulnerable communities.” 

Mayor Signer also called on his colleagues to consider ways to memorialize Heather Heyer’s name and ensure her death and the message of her life will never be forgotten. 

“I believe that we must act to consecrate the memory of Heather Heyer—a martyr in what Sen. John McCain recently described as the battle here between our better angels and our worst demons,” Signer said. “In the coming days and weeks, I will propose to my colleagues on City Council and to stakeholders in our community that we take concrete steps to memorialize Heather’s name and legacy.”  

Signer thanked the thousands of individuals and organizations who contacted his office offering support and encouraged contributions to be sent to the Heal Charlottesville Fund, an initiative dedicated to providing immediate assistance and stabilization to victims and residents and initiating programs for reconciliation, restoration, and healing.   

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