The Richmond City Council as early as Monday could take a symbolic vote to prohibit carrying guns in city buildings and parks.
The ban, proposed by Mayor Levar Stoney earlier this week, sailed through a sparsely attended council committee meeting Thursday. No members of the public spoke for or against the proposed ban during a hearing on the matter.
The council scheduled a special meeting next Monday for the nine-member council to discuss, and potentially vote on, an ordinance barring residents from bringing firearms into city-owned buildings, public parks and other community facilities.
If the council approves the ban, it wouldn’t take effect unless state lawmakers grant localities the authority to bar firearms in municipal buildings at a special session of the Virginia General Assembly slated to begin July 9.
Under current state law, localities aren’t allowed to regulate where people carry weapons. However, it does allow employers to impose restrictions on employees. Richmond currently bans city employees from bringing guns onto city property, as do Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties.
Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session in the wake of a mass shooting at the Virginia Beach government center that left 12 people dead and four injured. The gunman, a city employee, was killed in a shootout with police. The shooting was the deadliest in Virginia since 32 people were shot and killed at Virginia Tech in 2007.
In proposing the ordinance in advance of the session, Stoney said he wanted the ban in place so it could take effect as soon as possible if state law changes. It likely faces long odds. Democrats control neither house of the state legislature, and Republicans have thwarted past efforts.
The council is to meet at 5 p.m. Monday.