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Virginia's capital bans guns on public property amid protests

Virginia's capital bans guns on public property amid protests
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Virginia's capital city, Richmond, is banning guns on public property during protests and events to prevent violent confrontations.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the city council on Tuesday unanimously approved the ordinance as demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality continue in other parts of the country, in some cases resulting in deadly clashes, following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The new law prohibits the holding or possession of firearms on public property during any event or general area event, including on streets, walkways and alleys, regardless of whether the city officially sanctioned the event.

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Some city council members expressed concerns about how the law would be enforced, and some members of the community voiced concern about whether the move would violate Second Amendment rights.

But the city's police chief, Gerald Smith, lauded the city council's decision, referencing recent events in Kenosha, Wis., which included a teenager allegedly shooting two protesters in the street last month.

"Sooner or later, we are going to have different groups with different opinions who square off with each other," the Times-Dispatch quoted Smith as saying. "I believe this will be something we can use to increase safety in all of Richmond."