Debate continues after decision to ban guns from city property

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 8:28 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke has joined other localities in Virginia that prohibit guns in government buildings and on other city property.

Council members made that decision Monday night, but the debate continues.

The measure that city council considered and ultimately passed prohibits guns in government buildings, but also in other city-owned property including city parks and the greenway.

A majority of council members, including Mayor Sherman Lea, says it’s a reasonable response to a legitimate threat.

“I haven’t forgotten the school shootings. I haven’t forgotten people that are going in buildings or stores and just shooting people. I haven’t forgotten that,” Lea told WDBJ7 Tuesday afternoon.

“Disarming innocent citizens does not make them safer,” countered Maynard Keller, a former council candidate who was one of more than 40 people who signed up to speak Monday night.

“They took an oath of office, many of them upon a Bible, that they would uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Keller said of the city council members. “And I believe last night they violated that sacred oath.”

Lea said he is proud of fellow council members for approving the new ordinance.

“It was a choice that we felt would be in the best interest of our citizens here,” Lea said. “It’s a safety choice.”

The ordinance takes effect immediately.

It also applies to the Berglund Center, but will not affect the gun show scheduled there this weekend.

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