Virginia Beach, Va., has declared itself a “Second Amendment Constitutional City” seven months after 12 people were killed and four others injured in a mass shooting.
The City Council voted 6-4 Monday night in favor of taking on the symbolic message to encourage lawmakers not to pass gun reform laws during a meeting that attracted a crowd that spilled into the lobby and the outside lawn where gun rights activists screened the meeting on a projector, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The council stopped short of declaring Virginia Beach a gun sanctuary city, which would direct local law enforcement to ignore laws that put restrictions on the Second Amendment, as gun rights activists had sought, according to the newspaper.
After the mass shooting last May, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called for a special session on gun reform. But Republicans adjourned the session, ending the debate on the measures.
Since then, Democrats have taken control of both the state House and Senate, renewing gun reform advocates’ hopes that reform bills will be passed.
Local lawmakers are expecting a large crowd on Tuesday, when the council will consider asking the General Assembly to allow cities to prohibit the public from carrying firearms in government buildings, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Last year’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach took place in a municipal center.
The issue was deferred in June, and Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer (R) said the council shouldn’t make decisions as the community grieves, fearing it would cause polarization, The Virginian-Pilot noted.