Fairfax Co. to consider banning loaded shotguns on roads

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County, Virginia, is considering banning the carrying of loaded shotguns and rifles in cars.

Banning the transportation of loaded shotguns or rifles on public roads, with certain exceptions, is one of the few gun-related issues the General Assembly has permitted local governments to handle.

The county board of supervisors Tuesday set a public hearing for Sept. 25 at 4:30 p.m.

The ordinance would also ban the shooting of arrowguns or slingbows in a way that could reasonably be expected to result in the arrow hitting someone else’s property without permission.

The change does not impact rules for carrying handguns. Some Democratic state lawmakers pushed this spring for local governments to adopt the rules.

“This board has supported more meaningful gun reform and gun regulations than the General Assembly has ever given us, and so while some may read this as incomplete, it’s not incomplete because we haven’t supported further restrictions, it’s only incomplete because this is what the General Assembly has given us authority to do,” Supervisor Jeff McKay said.

Other jurisdictions such as Loudoun, Fauquier, Alexandria and Virginia Beach that have implemented the restrictions have had few or no people accused of violating it.

“This is an older piece of legislation, and one of the reasons we didn’t implement it early on is because of the difficulty of enforcement,” McKay said.

Board Chair Sharon Bulova expects the public hearing could be fiery. “I’m sure there will be more discussion,” she said.

The penalty for a violation would be a $100 fine.

Exceptions include law enforcement officers or military personnel who are using the weapons as part of their duties, anyone who reasonably believes a loaded rifle or shotgun is necessary for personal safety as part of their job or business, and anyone transporting a malfunctioning gun in order to get it repaired.

In addition to the ban on loaded weapons in vehicles, the ordinance would also ban the carrying of a loaded firearm for hunting while standing or walking on any public road when the person is not authorized to hunt on the private property on both sides of that road. The exception to that rule is in the case of someone acting in defense of a person or property.

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