Why Firearm Preemption Laws Are Smart Policy.

By Tom Knighton

The crowd at The Trace is at it again. This time, they’re whining about firearm preemption laws in Virginia. You see, the City of Richmond has banned numerous things from protests that can be used as weapons, things like bats, shields, and knives. Yet they’re barred from blocking firearms due to the state’s preemption law.

For those who are unfamiliar, preemption laws mean that all firearm laws must come from the state’s legislative bodies. Individual communities can’t enact their own laws or regulations regarding guns.

And for The Trace, that’s a problem.

Richmond is bracing for possible clashes as a small pro-Confederate group descends on the Virginia capital for a rally this weekend. The event comes a month after a demonstration in Charlottesville descended into deadly violence. In preparation, the city has banned bats, shields, knives, and poles from the gathering — but not guns.

The reason is the same as why armed militia members and protesters were allowed to patrol the streets of Charlottesville: Virginia is one of 36 states that allows guns at protests, and also prevents municipalities from enacting their own gun-related restrictions.

On Tuesday, Virginia convened policymakers and legal experts to look for a way to get around the laws, but that effort came up short. Richmond officials have concluded that they can not legally ban firearms from public demonstrations.

Of course, The Trace ignores the reason that preemption laws exist in the first place.

While it’s simple to look at a moment like this and argue that all Richmond wants to do is keep its community safe–ignoring that there are legitimate reasons why someone might need a firearm at a political protest–you can’t look at laws simply by what they prevent you from doing in one single instance where it may arguably Click to see the original article