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Staunton City Council to revisit Second Amendment debate at Oct. 29 public hearing

(© Richard –

Staunton City Council has set a public hearing “concerning the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution” for Thursday, Oct. 29.

The meeting was called by Mayor Andrea Oakes, the leader of the conservative faction that surprisingly swept the City Council elections in May, taking a 4-3 majority on the governing body.

The sweep came on the heels of a tumultuous winter and early spring in a wide swath of rural and suburban Virginia after Democrats had taken control of the Virginia General Assembly in the 2019 state elections.

Democrats promised, and then followed through with the promise, to enact meaningful gun safety legislation.

Republicans in the hinterlands seized upon the issue, launching what would become known as the Second Amendment sanctuary movement, pressuring governing bodies in GOP-leaning rural and suburban areas to pass resolutions declaring their localities to be Second Amendment sanctuaries.

The progressive majority on Staunton City Council resisted the push, and ultimately paid the price at the polls.

The timing of the Oct. 29 public hearing in Staunton cannot be coincidental, with Election Day five days later.

Staunton has voted Democratic in each of the past three presidential election cycles, dating back to 2008.


This meeting, although to be conducted in-person, will also be conducted by Zoom, with virtual participation of certain members of City Council, given the catastrophic nature of the declared emergency and disaster related to the COVID-19 outbreak, which as part of the total circumstances makes it impracticable or unsafe to assemble in a single location.

The meeting will be held consistent with City Council Ordinances 2020-04 and 2020-24, which can be accessed online at: and, respectively.

Public participation

The public may participate in the meeting either in-person or by telephone on the date of the meeting. In addition, through 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, the public may also communicate comments to City Council by (i) emailing the Clerk of Council at, or (ii) calling the Clerk of Council at 540.332.3810. Voice mail messages are acceptable. A

ll comments received will become part of the public record of the public hearing. Public comment in-person or by telephone on the date of the meeting will be subject to a time limit imposed by Council. Persons with hearing loss or speech impairment desiring to attend the public hearing may contact Morgan Smith by email at to request an interpreter.

Guidelines for public participation

  • Entry to City Hall will be restricted to the main level, side entrance on Central Avenue.
  • Each individual will be subject to temperature screening. Any individual with a temperature exceeding 100.3° will be denied entry to City Hall and will be provided with information about alternative means to submit input to Council.
  • Face coverings are required while inside City Hall. Additionally, 6-foot social distancing must be practiced.
  • For this meeting, City Hall accommodates 35 members of the public at any one time (in both Council Chambers and the first floor lobby of City Hall). Individuals will be permitted entry on a first come, first served basis. Once capacity is reached, individuals may wait in a line outside City Hall, managed by city staff, and will be permitted entry one person at a time to address Council.