Surry gun law hearing set for Aug. 7

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, July 1, 2021

Surry County has scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 7 on a proposed ordinance that would ban firearms in government buildings, parks and at public events with limited exceptions.

The prohibition includes possessing or carrying guns, ammunition or firearm components in these locations, and on public streets when there is an event occurring. Violation would constitute a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, a year in jail or both.

Last year, Virginia’s General Assembly enacted a number of new gun laws, among them the one allowing — but not requiring — localities to ban guns in the above public places. Others passed that year included reinstating Virginia’s one-handgun-purchase-a-month ordinance, requiring background checks on all gun sales, increasing the penalty for leaving firearms in the presence of children and a “red flag” law permitting extreme risk protective orders, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

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Surry’s Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 July 1 to approve the hearing date, which was included as an item in the meeting’s consent agenda. Dendron District Supervisor Michael Drewry abstained, stating he would be unable to attend the August meeting.