On Monday, the city council of Roanoke, Virginia overwhelmingly passed a resolution banning firearms from all municipal property within the city, including public buildings and parks, as reported by Fox News.
The resolution, passed by a 6-1 vote, would also shut down any future gun shows that would normally be hosted in the city’s Berglund Center, a popular destination for annual gun shows. Although the resolution will allow for any gun shows that have already been contracted to take place later this year, it bans any and all such future events.
The Berglund Center said that it expects to lose up to $100,000 per year from revenue that would otherwise be made at the gun shows. In addition, the sharp decline in annual visitors as a result of these events could also hurt small businesses in the area that often thrive off of such tourism.
“The Berglund Center and these gun shows, they’re huge drivers, tourism drivers, visitor drivers, this whole area,” said Wren Williams, an attorney and candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates. He further described the community as “a very car-centric area,” where “we might drive an hour to eat and shop. Small businesses are going to be harmed by them putting a quash on these shows.”
In addition to banning the gun shows, the newly-passed resolution is raising concerns among the citizens of Roanoke that criminals will be further emboldened by the lack of access to legal firearms for the community to defend themselves. During the virtual town hall meeting’s public comment portion, Roanoke resident Caitlyn Waddell said that “criminals…will continue to break laws, including gun-free zone laws, and they will enter into gun-free zones with confidence and potentially cause tremendous harm before they’re stopped by police.”
Waddell further added that “as a woman, I can attest that having the ability to carry a firearm for my personal protection…gives me the peace of mind that I am in control of my safety.”
The ban was passed by the council’s six Democratic members. The sole opposition vote was from Councilwoman Stephanie Moon-Reynolds, who was elected as an independent candidate.