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Petersburg is banning guns from public spaces

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Posted at 2:07 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 14:07:45-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Virginia city is banning firearms from public spaces.

The Petersburg City Council unanimously passed a measure Tuesday barring people from carrying firearms in any place open to the public, The Progress-Index reported. The ban includes city buildings, public parks, city-owned recreation or community centers and any public street, road, alley or sidewalk. On-duty law enforcement officers and armed security personnel acting on a contract with the city are exempt.

Councilor Charlie Cuthbert introduced the idea in July shortly after community activist Willie Noise III was fatally shot at the city-owned Patton Park. Cuthbert asked the city attorney to draft a law prohibiting firearms in city parks.

The law is nearly identical to the Virginia State Code, City Attorney Anthony Williams said, adding that there may be issues with enforcing the law.

“I don’t have a recommendation on whether this is going to be a challenge to enforce because I do think the language of the state code does lend itself to some ambiguities,” Williams said.

A violation is equal to a class one misdemeanor, which carries the possibility of a 12-month jail sentence and up to a $1,000 fine.