Proposed Firearm Ban Puts Vulnerable Residents at Risk

September 11, 2020 – Arlington, VA

The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia (LPNOVA) opposes the adoption of an Arlington County Firearms Ordinance that prohibits the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms or ammunition in county buildings, parks, at county-permitted events, and in public rights of way adjacent to those events.

This proposed change to the Arlington code is a direct infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Arlington County residents, as well as those who work in or visit the county. Restricting the ability of citizens to carry firearms for their own self-defense not only increases the risk that they will become victims of crime, but also creates scenarios where law-abiding citizens instantly and unwittingly become criminals as they move throughout Northern Virginia.

A blanket ban on carrying firearms in public rights of way, especially parks, removes the ability of those who use those spaces, and whose tax dollars maintain them, to defend themselves from violent crime. The ban stands to disproportionately impact vulnerable communities, who are at a greater risk of being victimized while using parks. Specifically, women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionally victims of criminal acts and violence and would be most negatively impacted, because they would have fewer options for effective self-defense.

Additionally, the change makes all county-permitted events and the adjacent public rights of way gun-free zones. In Arlington, county permitted events are ubiquitous, and often quite near one another. This creates areas where residents and businesses are completely entrapped and surrounded by areas that they cannot legally traverse with firearms or ammunition. This scenario makes the county exceptionally vulnerable to lawsuits defending the Second Amendment rights of residents, a significant additional burden on taxpayers and county legal systems.

Ideally this ordinance would not be passed at all; however, if the Board feels it is absolutely necessary, LPNOVA encourages the Board to include an exemption for Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holders, including those who hold permits in other states with reciprocity agreements. This would reduce the impact of the concerns raised above by providing a legal path for trained, responsible citizens to bear arms.

The Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia is the local chapter of the Libertarian Party, America’s most successful third party. Our local chapter runs candidates for political office and pushes for policy changes in the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Falls Church, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax.

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