Richmond City Council unanimously passes Mayor Stoney’s ordinance requiring reporting of lost and stolen firearms

During its November 12 meeting, Richmond City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring any person who loses a gun or has one stolen in the City of Richmond to report the loss or theft to the Richmond Police Department.

The ordinance, proposed by Mayor Stoney and introduced on October 14, intends to prevent the trafficking of lost and stolen guns, which are more likely to be used in criminal offenses. At the time of introduction, 354 firearms had been reported stolen in the City of Richmond.

The legislation aims to prevent gun crimes before they occur by requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police within 24 hours of realizing a loss or theft has occurred. The reporting requirement became effective upon passage.

“I’m thankful City Council took this important step to help prevent gun violence in Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “This reporting requirement isn’t a fix-all, but this additional level of accountability and responsibility will go far toward protecting our community and providing police with another tool to keep our communities safe.”

Mayor Stoney acknowledged the support and assistance of gun safety groups, including Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety and community advocates who have been directly impacted by gun violence.

“This commonsense gun legislation is an important step for the City of Richmond, but it should also serve as a call to action for state lawmakers,” Mayor Stoney said. “I urge members of the General Assembly, both the incumbents and the newly elected, to not just codify this simple change into state law but to embrace the opportunity before them – the opportunity to meaningfully address gun violence in our Commonwealth by approving Governor Northam’s proposed gun safety reforms. Every Virginian deserves to feel safe and secure.”

Richmond City Council also voted on a motion to amend Ordinance No. 2019-288, which proposes prohibiting distracted driving while using a handheld communications device.

The amendment aims to mitigate concerns that the original language required law enforcement to make real-time decisions based on potentially subjective understandings of what constitutes evidence of diverted attention.

The original ordinance reads, in part, “any person who drives a motor vehicle on any public street or highway in the city while using any handheld personal communications device [where such use diverts such person’s attention from the operation of the motor vehicle] is guilty of distracted driving.” The amendment removes the bracketed phrase, clarifying that any use of a handheld communications device while driving constitutes distracted driving. 

The change ensures that drivers within city limits will be held to a uniform standard under the law.

The proposed distracted driving ordinance, with the amended language, has been continued to the December 9 meeting of Richmond City Council.