Opinion: Letter to the Editor: County Can Ban Loaded Rifles on Road

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: County Can Ban Loaded Rifles on Road

The following letter to all members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from members of the General Assembly from Fairfax urges common sense action on guns; the state legislators say Fairfax County has the authority to ban loaded shotguns and rifles on the roads.

Dear Madam Chairman and Hon. Supervisors:

Section 15.2-915.2 of the Code of Virginia gives all local governments in Virginia the authority to ban loaded shotguns and loaded rifles on public highways.

§ 15.2-915.2. Regulation of transportation of a loaded rifle or shotgun.

The governing body of any county or city may by ordinance make it unlawful for any person to transport, possess or carry a loaded shotgun or loaded rifle in any vehicle on any public street, road, or highway within such locality.

A similar ordinance has been enacted in the counties of Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Albemarle, Chesterfield, Clarke, James City, King George, New Kent, Northumberland, Surry, Warren and the cities of Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg.

We, members of the Virginia General Assembly representing Fairfax County, do not believe that there is a need for loaded shotguns or loaded rifles on Fairfax County's public roads. High emotions that come with traffic congestion in our region have led to instances where firearms have been discharged in incidents of road rage. Requiring that shotguns and rifles are not loaded at the beginning of a trip will help to reduce the potential for such split-second, life-changing decisions to occur in a moment of anger. Such an ordinance will also help to protect the driver and passengers, including children, as well as law enforcement from the accidental discharge of one of these weapons. For example, in 2006, Virginia State Trooper Kevin C. Manion was killed after a loaded rifle went off during a wreck cleanup in Clark County.

We recognize that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors considered this issue in 2015.

However given recent events, we believe that it is important at this time for all our localities to use their existing authority to foster gun safety and protect the driving public.

We hereby ask that you initiate the processes necessary to change Fairfax County's ordinances to prohibit the transportation of loaded shotguns and loaded rifles to the fullest extent possible under Virginia Law.

We look forward to working with you on this important initiative.

Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36)

Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-35)

Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31)

Sen. David Marsden (D-37)

Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33)

Sen. George Barker (D-39)

Del. Kaye Kory (D-38)

Del. Mark Keam (D-35)

Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48)

Del. Ken Plum (D-36)

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49)

Del. David Bulova (D-37)

Del. Karrie K. Delaney (D-67)

Del Paul Krizek (D-44)

Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-86)