VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Seven months after a mass shooting that left 12 people dead, Virginia Beach city leaders will consider making it a Second Amendment constitutional city. This comes after crowds of Second Amendment supporters packed a city council meeting on December 3.
“We have to be willing to listen to everybody," Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said after calling for the special session.
He said it is possible for "hundreds" of people to show up on both sides. He recalled that December 3 meeting where mostly Second Amendment supporters filled the council chambers and the lobby. The crowds extended outside and people could not enter.
Dyer called for a "Second Amendment constitutional city," not a "sanctuary." So, the question is: What is the difference?
“When you ask for a 'sanctuary,' I think what the intent was that people would be allowed to disregard laws in that vein," Dyer said. "I am afraid that would establish a precedent and a slippery slope, or we can just go forward with whatever laws we don’t like.”
Other jurisdictions have declared themselves sanctuaries following the mass shooting and leading up to the 2020 General Assembly. These sanctuaries have just been a political statements.
“It is a big political statement," Tim Anderson, an attorney, said. "It would be a big political statement from the City of Virginia Beach to make it.”
Anderson has been vocal and supportive on the issue. He created and uploaded videos onto Facebook talking about it.
“For Virginia Beach to jump on board, it would dramatically change the population amount of the state of who is actually on board," Anderson explained. "It would be a profound statement.”
For Jason Nixon, he said he thinks Monday's vote ignores the real work that needs to be done.
"I honestly think this is all very political," Nixon said.
His wife, Kate, died in the May 31 mass shooting. Nixon said there needs to be a focus on reforms and background checks.
"I think people abused my family’s tragedy and the tragedy of all the coworkers.” Nixon Said. "There is room for reform; I’m not going to get into being anti-gun or pro-gun."
Two different viewpoints, but just some of many the mayor said is the reason for the special session.
“We accomplish a lot more when people approach each other with civility and respect," Dyer said.
The special session is Monday, Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. inside the city council chambers. The city hall is located at 2401 Courthouse Drive in Virginia Beach.