To: City of Charlottesville, Va.

Tell Charlottesville: No Weapons at Rallies

Tell Charlottesville: No Weapons at Rallies

Petition Text

Make clear that in permits for any rallies in public spaces in Charlottesville, guns, knives, and sticks shall not be allowed.

Why is this important?

Activists, including nonviolent peace activists, are often forbidden to carry posters on sticks, having to use hollow carboard tubes, at events around the United States. Yet in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 a group threatening violence and having engaged in it the night before was allowed to assemble in a public space with guns, sticks, and other weaponry. The results were brutal.

There is no reason that Charlottesville cannot, under existing laws, do what many other localities do and set the terms of public rallies to forbid the possession of weapons.

Here’s an expert legal opinion that forbidding weapons is legal.
http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/free-speech-expert-restricting-weapons-at-virginia-rallies-could-be/article_75548987-1529-5deb-ae11-19d2e5a7c9ac.html

Here is a report on Richmond, Virginia, forbidding weapons at a rally.
http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/state/richmond-police-plan-weapons-ban-at-pro-confederate-protest-saturday/article_db0447fe-c0fc-509c-912d-2b85a0959b1f.html

There is nothing to be gained by trying to ban rallies of particular political viewpoints, or by trying to ban all public rallies. Either would be in stark violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

There is no need for new laws.

Charlottesville can and must commit to forbidding weapons from rallies.

**********

UPDATE:
Here's a list of items banned from an event in Gainesville, Florida, with hatemonger Richard Spencer. It includes all conceivable weapons, and even open flames of any kind.
http://www.police.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Richard-Spencer-Speaking-Engagement-Prohibited-Items-List.pdf

Here's an NBC 29 report on our petition to ban weapons from public rallies in Charlottesville.
http://davidswanson.org/petition-asks-charlottesville-to-keep-weapons-out-of-rallies/

It seems to focus on this Virginia state law, which bans loaded guns from public places in a list of localities that does not include Charlottesville.
https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/virginia/va-code/virginia_code_18-2-287-4

The intent in citing this seems to be to claim that Virginia state laws allowing "concealed" and "open" carrying of guns cannot be overridden in any way except in the list of localities found in that law. Yet, Richmond, which is in that list, apparently decided it could ban every type of weapon except guns.
http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-police-say-they-can-t-stop-unpermitted-confederate-rally/article_c25223b6-4d05-54c1-9b88-8289a0dfb90b.html

Still, here is a list of weapons banned in Gainesville that nobody in Charlottesville has yet proposed, as far as I know, any justification whatsoever for not banning from the fascist rally in August or any future rally:

simulated firearms, tasers, knives, sharp objects
Lighters, matches, torches or open flame
Any athletic equipment or other items which could be used as a weapon
Masks of any kind, goggles, bandanas/scarfs, neck gaitersFlag Poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including sticks on signs)
Aerosol/pressurized cans, mace
Chains, padlocks, bicycle locks
Shields
Fireworks
Backpacks, bags, purses, clutches
Signs made of anything other than cloth, paper, foam core, cardboard
Cans, metal or glass containers, premixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
water bottles of any kind

Perhaps some of the items above go overboard. Certainly the rest of the list not reproduced here does. And of course it seems crazy to ban non-gun weapons while allowing guns. But we are asking the City of Charlottesville to ban guns, knives, and sticks, and it has yet to produce any excuse for not banning knives and sticks. And the city will only be moved to pursue banning guns from public rallies if we keep up the pressure.

How it will be delivered

To City Council.

Charlottesville, VA, United States

Reasons for signing

  • Do not allow bullying, intimidation. You had armed terrorists walking your streets. The police could do nothing, or chose not to control them. Automatic weapons aimed at innocents exercising their right to free speech! Please do not let this ever happen again.
  • I am nonviolent and would like to work out differences one on one, quietly, respectfully.
  • Might does not make right.

Updates

2017-10-18 13:27:12 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2017-10-18 10:21:38 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2017-10-18 10:09:03 -0400

500 signatures reached

2017-10-13 11:42:37 -0400

100 signatures reached

2017-10-13 11:16:18 -0400

50 signatures reached

2017-10-13 11:07:41 -0400

25 signatures reached

2017-10-13 11:04:58 -0400

10 signatures reached