Loudoun Supervisors Move Toward Gun Restriction Vote

County supervisors are moving toward a vote on new regulations that would prohibit bringing guns into county government buildings and parks.

The proposed rules would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns into county parks, as well as creating exceptions such as for private security workers at county-run or county-permitted events, active duty military personnel carrying out their duties, and reenactments.

Supervisors may also decide to outfit the three main government office buildings—the County Government Center and the Shenandoah Building in Leesburg and the Sterling Service Center at Ridgetop Circle—with screening stations such as magnetometers. That is estimated to cost $50,000 per building, plus $555,000 per year going forward for all three.

The proposal has drawn both outcry from gun rights groups and support from gun safety groups. The Board of Supervisors saw one of their best-attended public hearings in the COVID-19 pandemic era Wednesday night as people lined up on both sides of the argument, even as snow began to fall outside.

Supervisors Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin) have opposed the proposed rules, with Buffington’s attempt to table the issue indefinitely Wednesday night voted down 7-2.

“As we all know, the right to keep and bear arms is protected by our Constitution, it’s protected by our Virginia Constitution,” Kershner said. “And it is the highest possible right you can enjoy, what Supreme Court calls a fundamental right, one that must be must apply the strictest scrutiny possible if government is going to allow it.

But the majority of supervisors continue to support the new rules.

“The problem is, we’ve had a slaughter by firearms in this country going on for about five decades, probably longer,” said Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn). “And we keep dancing around the edges of what to do about it, and that’s the problem. The simple data, aggregate data, planet-wide is when there are more guns, there are going to be more deaths by guns.”

And Supervisor Sylvia Russell Glass (D-Broad Run) pointed out the “good guy with a gun” argument can be very different for Black people.

“That usually doesn’t work for African-Americans,” Glass said. “I can imagine my sons being able to legally carry a weapon, and they would almost automatically be considered a threat. So there’s a disparity between how Black gun owners are looked at, and between their white gun owner counterparts.”

“Since the 1980s our gun safety laws have been eroded to the point that we are so much less safe,” said Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian). “We have opened ourselves to incidents like what happened Jan. 6 at our capitol building. Gun violence across the country has become disgustingly, disgustingly more commonplace in the form of domestic violence, right-wing activist group like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and mass shootings such as Parkland and Las Vegas.”

A number of other jurisdictions such as Fairfax, Winchester and Blacksburg have already adopted similar rules to those Loudoun supervisors are considering.

The evening’s debate was also marked by an attempt to skirt the normal process for changing county ordinances to hold a vote immediately.

Although the board’s rules of order distinguish between a public hearing—which is only for gathering public input—and a business meeting where supervisors hold major votes, supervisors often suspend their rules to vote on an issue at the public hearing if it is uncontroversial and ready for a vote. County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Briskman and Turner sought to push through the new gun ordinance despite the controversy surrounding it, and that doing so required introducing a new ordinance rather than amending the current one, and that the language for a proposed exception for concealed carry permit holders was still being hammered out. Kershner also said he would have prepared alternative motions for the board to consider if he had known they would vote at the public hearing.

Briskman withdrew a motion to suspend the normal rules of order seeing that the majority of supervisors would oppose it.

Facing that, Randall said she was “a little shocked by all the theatrics” of her fellow supervisors, and accused them of putting on a show: “I know we have a bigger audience than we’ve had all of COVID, but let’s not perform to the audience.”

Instead, supervisors voted 7-2 to send the issue to their meeting March 2, with Kershner and Buffington opposed.

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) criticized the Virginia Constitutional Conservatives, a right-wing group that has opposed the new rules with inflammatory rhetoric. He said the group’s untrue rhetoric “is completely full of lies, and so is difficult for me to listen with any seriousness to anything else that group has to say, when they lie about me and others.”

“Certainly, Chair Randall and myself and others do not want anybody raped or murdered or anything else in a government facility or a public park, and contributing that to the dialogue is exactly what’s wrong with the level of discourse in politics,” Letourneau said.

11 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Move Toward Gun Restriction Vote

  • 2021-02-11 at 2:45 pm
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    Buffington actually stood up to Randall’s heavy handed bypassing of the rules. Randall’s rules for thee but not for me met bi-partisan objections.
    Just like the LaRock debacle when the board aided by slippery rock graduate Leo Rogers told Randall to use a board initiative to circumvent the rules that the Board of Supervisors themselves voted for.
    While being a drama queen last evening she accused the board of being bad actors for following the rules. In 5 years she has now created a hostile work environment for the Board members.
    Randall’s biggest accomplishment is making Loudoun yearn for the days of Scott York on the dais.
    After 232 years of government for the people and by the people we have regressed to, for Randall by the toadies within the Randall Regime

  • 2021-02-11 at 3:03 pm
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    “… Randall said she was “a little shocked by all the theatrics” of her fellow supervisors, and accused them of putting on a show: “I know we have a bigger audience than we’ve had all of COVID, but let’s not perform to the audience.”

    Another great moment in Phyllis’ lack of self-awareness.

  • 2021-02-11 at 4:29 pm
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    Guns are not the problem. Mental health is the problem. Funding began being cut in the 1960’s and has faltered ever since. Start funding mental health institutions and programs and getting people the help they need. If you take away guns people will find other ways to cause harm and destruction. Wake up and stop pushing a jaded agenda.

  • 2021-02-11 at 5:51 pm
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    The fact is that all mass shootings in Virginia occurred in “gun free” zones – including Virginia Tech and Virginia Beach. I look at that and say don’t disarm good citizens. Our Board of Supervisors say, hey, let’s create more “gun free” zones.

  • 2021-02-11 at 8:12 pm
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    After seeing Phyllis Randall’s act during this meeting, it is time for her to go. She has no sense of self awareness or reality and she simply doesn’t care about the rules, regulations or even general decorum.
    She is the worst thing to happen to Loudoun County in a very long time.

  • 2021-02-11 at 11:16 pm
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    I see RINO Matt Letourneau was at it again. Pelosi is very proud of you, Matty.

  • 2021-02-12 at 10:44 am
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    More people die from health related issues than by firearms in Lo Co. Obesity is a greater threat to ones health and well being in Lo Co than guns.

    Thus, it is time to ban forks in Lo Co as they make people Fat!

  • 2021-02-12 at 11:32 am
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    How about addressing the exclusion of shooting in the noise ordinances? Do you really have to spend a half million dollars doing something that a perpetrator with a gun could easily overcome? There are plenty of soft targets that someone who is not afraid to die could invade. Are we going to put these lobbied for items in all our schools too? Don’t we have 700 or so deputies on the payroll to find perpetrators of crime not just cash their payroll checks?

  • 2021-02-12 at 4:50 pm
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    With blatantly false statements, two supervisors hit on exactly why the proposed gun ban flies in the face of data and common sense. If only the BOS was willing to prioritize data and facts over politics.

    Supervisor Turner: “The simple data, aggregate data, planet-wide is when there are more guns, there are going to be more deaths by guns.” That is embarrassingly false. John Lott painstakingly went through the data to find the exact opposite (book: More Guns, Less Crime). And just looking around locally, we can see the absurdity of the statement. The Washington Post has at its website statistics for gun homicides in the DC Metro area. By large multiples, there are more deaths where guns are more restricted. Now many people jump to say “that’s because guns are easy to get in VA and are brought to DC.” That is one of the most illogical arguments that could be made. How do these “easily available” guns cause fewer deaths in VA (where there are far more people) but when they cross the border into DC they cause more deaths? Do the guns know where they are, and are biased against DC?

    Supervisor Briskman: “Since the 1980s our gun safety laws have been eroded to the point that we are so much less safe.” Since 1993, violent crime is down 49% according to the FBI. And according to the Congressional Research Service, during that time we went from less than 250 million firearms to over 390 million!

    Are they really going to make laws based on opinions that are so clearly the opposite of reality? What are they so committed to that they are willing to hide the truth from themselves?

    The BOS needs to deal with the real issues facing the County, and stop inciting divisive political fights.

  • 2021-02-13 at 11:49 am
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    Here is how I feel and what I said at the meeting–WHY does anyone need a gun to pay a bill or comment at a BOS Meeting?
    “GOOD EVENING, MY NAME IS ANTHONY FASOLO. MY WIFE AND I HAVE

    LIVED IN LEESBURG SINCE 1994 WHEN I RETURNED FROM AN OVERSEAS

    ASSIGNMENT WITH THE US ARMY. I AM HERE TODAY AS A PRIVATE

    CITIZEN AND DO NOT REPRESENT ANY ORGANIZATION. I AM HERE TO

    ASK FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF THE PROPOSED RESOLUTION TO PROHIBIT

    FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION FROM GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS AND

    PARKS.

    IN PREPARING FOR MY REMARKS, I TRIED TO UNDERSTAND WHY

    ANYONE WOULD BE AGAINST THIS PROPOSAL AND ASKED MY SELF THE

    FOLLOWING QUESTION: “WHY”??? “WHY”, AS IN “WHY” DOES ANYONE

    NEED TO HAVE A GUN WITH THEM AT A MEETING OR COMING TO PAY A

    BILL IN A GOVERNMENT BUILDING? IF IT IS FOR PROTECTION, THERE

    ALREADY ARE TRAINED, ARMED SECURITY PERSONNEL IN THE

    BUILDING. “WHY” ARE FIREARMS NEEDED IN PARKS????

    I AM SPEAKING TODAY FROM THE COMFORT OF MY OWN HOME AND

    NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT MEETING ROOM WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE IN

    IT. BUT THE LAST TIME I DID SPEAK ABOUT GUNS, THERE WERE

    VERY MANY PEOPLE WITH COLORED SHIRTS ON AND BUTTONS READING

    “GUNS SAVE LIVES”. AS A PERSON WHO WAS TRAINED IN THE ARMY TO

    “KILL PEOPLE” WITH GUNS, I HAVE TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING THE

    PHRASE “GUN’S SAVE LIVES” BUT, BE THAT AS IT MAY, THE FACT

    IS THAT I AND MANY OTHERS FELT INTIMIDATED THEN, BECAUSE WE

    DID NOT KNOW IF ANY OF THOSE IN THE ROOM, WEARING THE

    BUTTONS HAD CONCEALED WEAPONS. SO PERHAPS THE ONLY REASON

    SOME DO NOT LIKE THIS PROPOSAL IS THAT IT TAKES AWAY THE

    “INTIMIDATION FACTOR.

    FIREARMS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF

    REPRESENTATIVES IN THE CAPITOL AND I WOULD HATE TO THINK

    ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF “THE MOB” THAT ATTACKED

    ON 6 JANUARY HAD BEEN ARMED.

    THEREFORE, I ASK THAT YOU SUPPORT THE PROPOSAL TO PROHIBIT

    FIREARMS AND AMMUNITON FROM GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS AND

    PARKS.

    THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO SPEAK”

  • 2021-02-13 at 8:14 pm
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    To hear Sylvia Glass play the race card is laughable. She makes it sound like her boys were raised in the inner city and had a hard life stricken with poverty. The reality is she lives in my neighborhood in a fairly affluent area of Loudoun County and has for decades, drives nice cars and her boys played on the same LL teams and basketball teams and hung out and played just as my kids ( and all of the other kids in our neighborhood, black, white or any other ethnicity). As long as they are not breaking the law her boys would be harassed about as much as mine, yours or any other child from an upper middle class family in Loudoun County. It is a shame that she has turned into another race baiting, publicity seeking, do nothing democrat that is turning this wonderful county that I have lived in since 1990 into a dumpster fire.

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