ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Council voted nearly unanimously to ban guns from all city-owned property.
On Monday night, the council voted 6-1 to ban firearms from all city-owned buildings, parks and greenways, which includes the Berglund Center. Although this weekend’s gun show at the Berglund Center will still be allowed because the contract was already in place, according to a city spokeswoman.
City Council enacted the strictest set of rules possible in an action legalized last year by the General Assembly.
The city has wanted to limit where guns could be carried for years, but only recently received permission from state lawmakers to enact any type of restrictions.
“We still made the promise that we were going to keep working until one day, one day, we were going to have the ability to make change,” Lea said. “The people who elected us to serve, is that they want us to take the full measure of what we’ve been asked to do.”
More than 40 people signed up to speak during the public comment session, with numerous passionate pleas from both sides.
10 News spoke with two of the speakers before the meeting.
“We need to make sure that we’re sending a clear message that gun violence in Roanoke is not acceptable and that the city will do everything within its power to keep its citizens safe,” Catherine Koebel said speaking in favor of the restrictions.
“I don’t see anywhere where gun-free zones are very scientific, I don’t see where gun-free zones actually reduce anything,” Maynard Keller said speaking against the restrictions. Keller ran unsuccessfully on the Republican ticket during the last council election.
Three council members said the vote should be delayed for more time to discuss, but that motion failed. The law takes effect immediately and while some council members expressed concerns about possible lawsuits, the majority of the council felt citizens wanted it now.
“I think that I would not be serving them well if I did not vote in favor of the ordinance in its entirety and the full measure,” Vice-Mayor Trish White-Boyd said.