Virginia Beach School Board sends weapons ban policy back to review committee

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A controversial policy had dozens of people in Virginia Beach rallying outside of Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The board discussed and debated banning weapons on school property and at school-sponsored events.

It’s already against federal law to bring a weapon on school grounds. The proposed policy calls to expand that ban to include school board meetings or anywhere employees are present to perform duties off school property.

“This specific policy is poorly written, it’s poorly thought out, it’s bad legislation, it will not be lasting legislation, it won’t hold up to scrutiny,” said Vincent Smith, who lives in Virginia Beach, ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith, a city employee who manages construction and surveying, is an advocate for the Second Amendment.

“I spent a good bit of my time advocating for municipal employee safety. A lot of folks think I’m just a gun nut but the truth is I worked in Building 2. I worked in there when the [May 31, 2019 mass] shooting happened. To be clear, I was not in the building when the shooting happened, I was nearby on campus at the emergency operations center,” Smith said.

He says the proposed measure, which states the school board designates any building or property that the board owns or leases where employees are present as gun-free zones, has a number of gray areas. The one-page proposal lists school-sponsored events as gun-free zones but does not reference which events.

“This policy doesn’t say where those exemptions exist. If someone comes to the school board building and has a firearm in their car and leaves it in their car, even if it’s unloaded, are they violating this policy?” Smith said.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Virginia Beach City School Board members supporting the measure for comment and did not get a response.

Ultimately, board members could not reach an agreement Tuesday and decided to send the policy amendment back to the review committee.

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