To the editor:
As a native of Alexandria and a gun owner with a concealed hand-gun permit, I believe that city council’s proposed anti-gun ordinance will infringe upon my freedoms. What right does the City of Alexandria have to take away the right of self-defense? Gun rights are human rights. Gun rights are women’s rights.
The right to self-defense is especially important right now, as lawless looters and criminals assault bystanders and damage and burn buildings in Virginia and across the nation. The city does not have the right to completely ban law-abiding citizens from possessing guns in government buildings, parks, recreation and community centers and at permitted events and adjoining streets.
City officials rushed this ordinance through during a pandemic without sufficient public hearings or meetings. It is also not supported by data. When asked on June 11 and 12, respectively, the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and Police Department could not produce any statistics on:
(1) The number of crimes committed by CHP holders; or
(2) How this ordinance will prevent any crimes on city property.
The city has no record of crimes, arrests or convictions for acts committed by CHP holders on city property. Thus, the city is targeting a group that is crime- free and statistically helpful in preventing crime and violence while neglecting the rise of violent crime in Alexandria.
City leaders are ignoring Alexandria’s history: A man went on a shooting rampage at the Eugene Simpson ballfield on June 14, 2017 and tried to murder Congressman Steve Scalise, Senator Rand Paul and others. Average citizens do not have Special Agent Police details to protect themselves. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told MSNBC: “Everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there, and the only reason they were there was because we had a member of [House] leadership on our team.”
Under the proposed ordinance, ordinary citizens would have no protection from the gunman or other criminals on city property.
Alexandria has an MS-13 problem. MS-13 gang members have raped, kidnapped and killed in the city, specifically in city parks – Four Mile Run and Beverley parks. There continues to be gang violence and unsolved murders in the city, yet council’s solution is to allow criminals to have weapons and take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
The city should not provide a safe haven for this notorious gang and other criminals by banning guns on city property.
Women carry weapons to be prepared because crime happens in Alexandria. Women have been harassed, assaulted and raped on city trails. However, this ordinance will deny women from their fundamental right of having a firearm. In quite the opposite of the council’s assertion, women do not have to have a justifiable need or good reason for having a firearm.
The council is operating under an irrational misunderstanding that the absence of guns will make the city safer. Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, the Navy Yard, Pulse Nightclub, Parkland, Virginia Beach and many sites of tragedies were all gun-free zones where people and children got slaughtered while the police force waited or failed to act. The police cannot and will not always arrive in time.
There is no reason to bar law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons, especially after passing a background check and paying a fee to obtain their CHP in Virginia. The city has failed to protect its citizens time and time again – in Simpson Park, Four Mile Run, Beverley Park and its running trails – and this ordinance will only make it more dangerous.
I urge council to vote against Chapter 3 of Title 2 of the Code of the City of Alexandria, Virginia (Section 2-3-5) “Prohibition of Firearms on City Property.” Guns save lives.
-Lisa A. Kilday, Alexandria