Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Legislation Moving Forward in Richmond Would Ban Guns at All Virginia Polling Places

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1.jpg

Now that Democrats are in control of the General Assembly, firearms are prohibited in a number of places. And, one of those places might soon be a polling place.

The next time you go to your local polling place and cast a ballot, leave your gun at home. That's the idea behind a bill introduced by Delegate Mark Levine, a Democrat from Alexandria. He has a bill that would prohibit firearms from polling places, vote counting centers and recount centers. 

 

"There were a couple of Virginians actually that went to Pennsylvania when they were counting the ballots to try to intimidate people with firearms and were arrested there because they have that law there," Levine explained. "We don’t have that law here." 

 

Firearms are already prohibited at polling places that are schools or churches, so this would extend that prohibition to other kinds of polling places and also vote-counting centers. Gun enthusiasts oppose the bill as yet another restriction on their right to bear arms.  

 

One of the people who testified against the bill was Vincent Smith. 

 

"This is to prevent intimidation? There are a large portion of this country who are intimidated by clowns, so much so that it has a name, it's called 'coulrophobia,'" Smith said. "So are you going to also outlaw clowns in polling places?" 

 

Levine's bill has already passed the full House and the Senate Judiciary Committee. If senators approve the bill and the governor signs it, guns would be prohibited within 40 feet of polling places starting with the November 2021 election.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.