LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg City Council members voted against making the city a Second Amendment sanctuary after hours of input from local citizens.
The vote was 5-2 against Lynchburg joining more than 100 cities and counties in Virginia that have approved Second Amendment sanctuary status to declare their support for gun rights.
City leaders moved Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to E.C. Glass High School for safety reasons after learning hundreds planned to attend.
Nearly 1,000 people RSPV’d online for the meeting. City crews expected heavy crowds and put out barricades to regulate the lines. Police had a security plan in place and reminded people that schools are gun-free zones and to leave their guns at home.
Curt Diemer is the petition organizer who has pushed for Lynchburg to become a sanctuary city. It’s all in an effort to make a statement as Democratic lawmakers push for stricter gun laws in Richmond.
Diemer said that in the last meeting, about 300 people showed up to voice their opinions. Tuesday night he said he was optimistic that council members would be on their side, even the ones in opposition.
“I am hopeful that they will pass our resolution, absolutely. We haven’t worked this hard for nothing," said Diemer. “And we are hopeful when they see the citizens, their citizens, their voters, out in droves, speaking with one loud voice that they would be open and listen."
Some were surprised to see a number of women and mothers speaking out as gun advocates.
“Hunters are not the only ones these laws will affect. When you are a mom of four, running errands by yourself, believe me, you are going to want the great equalizer on your side,” said Lynchburg resident Elizabeth Corrales.
Another woman said, “I will not and cannot rely on anyone else, including the police, to help me, should criminals break into my home, to do God knows what.”
A handful against the resolution also spoke up.
“It’s not your job to represent us in Richmond or make determinations of constitutionality. Mr. Peake and Mr. Walker are our state representatives,” said Lynchburg resident Steve Timmons.
Lynchburg’s representative, Wendell Walker, was also in the crowd Tuesday night, coming from Richmond to make his voice heard and remind Lynchburg citizens of one thing.
“January 20th, you have another opportunity to join your elected officials in Richmond for another lobby day. I’d encourage you to attend,” Walker said.