Surry cancels gun ordinance hearing

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Surry County has canceled its Aug. 5 public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would ban firearms in government buildings, parks and at public events with limited exceptions.

According to County Administrator Melissa Rollins, Surry County’s Board of Supervisors cancelled the hearing to allow themselves an opportunity to have more dialogue about the proposed ordinance change.

“There has not been a discussion on when or if it will be rescheduled at this time,” she said.

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The proposed prohibition would have included possessing or carrying guns, ammunition or firearm components in the above locations, and on public streets when there is an event occurring. Violation would have constituted 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.