AP NEWS

Richmond mayor wants to ban guns from city-owned buildings

June 24, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Richmond’s mayor called Monday for a ban on guns in city-owned buildings, parks and community facilities, after a 9-year-old girl was fatally shot last month in a city park.

Mayor Levar Stoney said he’s proposing the local ordinance now so the city will be prepared if state lawmakers pass legislation to broaden the ability of local governments to prohibit guns in city buildings when they meet in a special session next month.

Gov. Ralph Northam scheduled a special legislative session on gun-related proposals for July 9 after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. Twelve people were killed there when a city employee opened fire on his coworkers at a municipal building on May 31.

Stoney said he plans to introduce the proposed ordinance during a City Council meeting Monday night. He cited the shooting death of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson in a Richmond park during a May 26 community cookout.

The girl was killed and an 11-year-old boy was wounded when shots were fired at Carter Jones Park.

Police have said they believe the incident began on or close to a nearby basketball court and skate park. Markiya’s parents have said the gunfire came from men on the basketball court and Markiya was struck as she tried to run away.

No arrests have been reported in her death. Richmond police have asked anyone with video, photos or information about the shooting to call them.

“We owe it to our employees, to the family of Markiya Dickson, and to all those who have been traumatized by gun violence to do everything we can to keep firearms out of places where children play, where citizens conduct their business, and where our employees work on behalf of our city residents,” Stoney said in a news release.

Northam, a Democrat, has said he will ask the Republican-led General Assembly to consider gun-control measures, including universal background checks and a ban on silencers. Police have said that the Virginia Beach gunman used a silencer.

Republican leaders have given little indication they plan to follow Northam’s agenda for the special session and have said they will instead propose tougher penalties for people who use guns to commit crimes.

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