AG Herring in Charlottesville for Roundtable on Hate Crimes and White Supremacist Violence

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Attorney General and city leaders at the roundtable discussion. Attorney General and city leaders at the roundtable discussion.

The August 2017 violence in Charlottesville has prompted people to question why more was not done in advance to keep weapons out of downtown. The answer is that state law allows protestors to bring clubs and guns and the sort with them to a rally. Now the push is on by some to make Virginia’s laws more restrictive.

Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking feedback on some of his proposed legislature for the New Year that would stop guns and other weapons from being allowed at permitted events.

Herring stopped at the First Baptist Church in Charlottesville Wednesday for a roundtable discussion about his hate crimes and white supremacist violence legislative package. He introduced the package in November and now he's getting feedback from city leaders.

One part of that package suggests giving localities the right to ban guns at permitted events. Herring says leaving the decision up to the area where events are taking place can make events safer for everyone.

“When there are gatherings that people know could become heated or have tense emotions when you throw firearms into the mix it just adds to the potential for intimidation and harm. I hear from law enforcement about how much more complicated it makes their effort to keep everyone safe,” he stated.

Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney called the legislation a step in the right direction but she envisions even more.

“That's actually a step in the right direction. What I’m pushing for is something even a bit more robust that says that we’d be able to limit the firearms that are in certain public spaces, like our parks or even our city buildings or those other places,” she stated.

The General Assembly will meet in the New Year, but before that Herring has a few more stops on his roundtable tour. He is scheduled to visit Norfolk and Roanoke next.