Gov. McAuliffe enacts new rules for Lee statue rallies in Richmond
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration has enacted rules for political rallies at Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue that limit crowd size and ban guns.
McAuliffe announced the new emergency regulations Monday. They were
formed in response to deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville earlier this year.
“In the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville and upon learning that the permitting rules for the Robert E. Lee Monument had not been updated in decades, I immediately ordered my team to review the permit application process and develop regulations to protect public safety,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I want to thank Secretary Moran for his leadership in pulling together state and local experts on this issue and for developing a regulation that will balance First Amendment rights and ensure that all Virginians remain safe. We believe these regulations can be a model for localities across Virginia as they consider how to approach these types of events in the future.”
The regulations create a new permitting process for groups planning to rally at the Lee statue and cut the maximum crowd size from 5,000 to 500. Guns would be banned at permitted events.
The rules also require permits for events expected to draw 10 participants or more.
“One of the key findings emerging from the Task Force is the critical importance of adopting a robust permitting process that involves first responders and all necessary departments in planning and preparation efforts,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. “As Chair of the Task Force, I want to thank all of the members of the Task Force and Work Group for contributing their time and expertise to this important discussion.”
The emergency regulations will be in effect for 18 months before the state finalizes them, according to the governor's office.
In that time, the Virginia Department of General Services will host opportunities for public comment and a public hearing on the regulations. Members of the public are invited to submit comments on any changes that should be applied to the Capitol Square Regulation.