Fairfax County becomes latest in Virginia to ban guns on public property

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to ban guns on public property Tuesday, just as several other Virginia jurisdictions recently did.

“Ending gun violence is not a simple problem with simple solutions,” said Jeff McKay, chairman of the board.

“We must attack this issue from many angles, including many widely supported restrictions. Our board’s decision to ban guns from government property takes us one more step in the right direction,” McKay said.

The decision came after a public hearing that had supporters and opponents speaking out to try to lobby the local lawmakers.

Under the new regulations, guns will not be allowed in county buildings, community centers, or at parks and recreation facilities.

There are a few exemptions, including sworn law enforcement officers, ROTC and collegiate sports participants, educational county programs and events, and the Bull Run Public Shooting Center.

Violators would face a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.


It took the passage of a law by the Virginia General Assembly to allow local governments to closely regulate firearms in certain public areas. That’s because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which means local governments have powers that are strictly limited.

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors has been lobbying to have the expanded authority over guns in public facilities since 1996.

Other jurisdictions that have taken advantage of the new law and passed gun bans in public spaces include Alexandria, Falls Church and Arlington County.

Another county that may pass a ban is Loudoun County, where lawmakers are still considering the matter.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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