Va. gun safety reforms
aid democratic process
The democratic process is more secure in Virginia after lawmakers passed a slate of gun safety reforms.
New laws will prohibit firearms at the Virginia Capitol, polling places and electoral board meetings; on Capitol Square; and in state buildings. Another law expands the state's local firearms ordinance statute to include buildings used by school boards.
Lax gun laws fuel armed intimidation that threatens open government and the free exercise of constitutional rights. The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol showed how extremists will commit horrific acts of sedition and violence without fear of impunity, which made changes in the law a moral imperative.
Our own volunteers literally have come face to face with vigilantes while lobbying lawmakers at the General Assembly. Gov. Ralph Northam was forced to issue an executive order in 2020 to ban weapons from Capitol Square when armed protesters descended on Richmond. This new law not only will help protect constituents, but the people of Richmond who have been forced to absorb such demonstrations for years.
Permitting firearms at polling places threatens the safety of voters and poll workers. Although guns are banned year-round at schools and churches used as polling places, this doesn't apply to private property or localities without firearms ordinances. If loitering and campaigning are forbidden at polling places, then surely so should carrying lethal weapons.