Roanoke City Council amends city code in relation to carrying guns

People are prohibited from carrying their firearms in or on city-owned property

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Council is changing the city code regarding where you can carry a weapon.

During Monday’s afternoon City Council session, the city’s attorney, Tim Spencer, reviewed an amendment proposal to the city code regarding the prohibition of carrying firearms on certain city property.

The amendment strikes a part of the current code that reads:

“ ... in any public street, road, alley, or sidewalk or public right-of-way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public and is being used by or is adjacent to a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.”

Spencer told council members this boils down to having enough resources for bigger events to enforce the code.

“This is just to address the logistical issue we have on enforcement of permitted events given the large number of those events, especially in the summer. We have a lot of 5k’s and half-marathons,” Spencer said.

The city was recently criticized by pro-gun groups and residents. They argue Roanoke’s prohibition of guns in parks, public buildings and at permitted events violates a part of the Virginia constitution similar to the U.S. Second Amendment.

The city became one of several that restricted firearms in public places after the General Assembly in 2020 allowed municipalities to do so.

One of the groups suing the city is the Virginia Citizens Defense League. President of the group, Philip Van Cleave, spoke with 10 News about why there should be fewer restrictions.

“Anytime you’re in a gun-free zone, where you are not allowed to protect yourself, that’s an area if there’s an’re helpless. That should never be,” Van Cleave said.

Violation of Roanoke’s law is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which in Virginia carries a penalty of no more than 12 months in jail and/or a fine of no more than $2,500.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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