Gun-rights advocates want Norfolk to keep allowing firearms in city buildings. If the council says no, it could be up to voters.

Gun-rights advocates want Norfolk to keep allowing firearms in city buildings. If the council says no, it could be up to voters.

Gun rights advocates at a Norfolk City Council meeting in December 2019. (L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot) NORFOLK — After months of stumbling, gun rights advocates in Norfolk have finally amassed enough signatures to force the City Council to hold hearings on their request for the city to keep allowing guns in city-owned buildings. Called the Norfolk Second Amendment Preservation Coalition, the group gathered more than 2,600 petition signatures on Election Day, forcing the city’s hand and mandating a public discussion. Given the political makeup of the council and what members have said about gun laws, the push is nearly certain to fail. Assuming that happens, advocates will try to gather more signatures to put the issue before voters through a ballot referendum, though it’s not clear when that would happen. Even if it makes it on the ballot – advocates would need 4,000 signatures for that – the proposal would seem to be a long shot in a heavily Democratic city where supporters of gun control typically win elections by huge margins. The issue arose early this year after the new Democratic majority in the General Assembly gave cities the power to ban guns in their own buildings. The first public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday night’s virtual council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. The second is set for the council meeting on Dec. 8. Speakers will need to sign up with the clerk’s office by 3 p.m. on the day of the hearing. The effort in Norfolk […]

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