Virginia Beach, VA – One of the victims of the shooting rampage at the Virginia Beach municipal building would have been armed to protect herself if the city hadn’t banned city employees from carrying weapons at work.
Kate Nixon, one of the 12 people who were murdered by a disgruntled city employee on May 31, had told her husband she wanted to bring a gun to work for self defense, FOX News reported.
“Kate expressed to her husband concerns about this individual in particular, as well as one other person,” Kevin Martingayle, an attorney for the Nixon family attorney, told WHRV.
“In fact, they had a discussion the night before about whether or not she should take a pistol and hide it in her handbag - and decided not to, ultimately, because there's a policy apparently against having any kind of weapons that are concealed in the building," the attorney said.
City of Virginia Beach employees are prohibited from carrying “any weapon” to work unless expressly authorized by a supervisor, FOX News reported.
"The prohibition against possession of a weapon applies even if a member has a permit to carry a concealed weapon,” the city’s policy reads.
"Employees who violate this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal," the policy also says.
That means that even if an employee isn’t breaking the law by carrying a weapon, that person would be subject to termination for violating the rules of their employer, according to FOX News.
Some members of the city council have considered changing the policy to make it illegal for employees to carry weapons at work, but that would be in conflict with state law.
Cities in Virginia aren’t allowed to make it illegal for licensed permit holders to carry, FOX News reported.
A policy like that would require the city to ask the state for permission to impose a legal penalty for such an action.
"There is an item on next week’s City Council meeting for the Council to discuss a resolution to support a bill to allow localities to prohibit the carrying of firearms in governmental buildings," Julie Hill, Director of the Communications Office at Virginia Beach, told FOX News.
But Martingayle said Nixon’s family is focused on figuring out how their loved one’s death could have been prevented.
“We've heard a lot of information out there suggesting there were a lot of concerns about the shooter well before this happened," he told WHRV. "We need to know more about that. An outside investigation is the perfect vehicle to get to the truth. That's it. This is a search for truth by a grieving family."
Nixon is survived by her husband and three young daughters. She was also popular in her community, FOX News reported.
“She was president of her civic league, she was involved with the swim team... she would have been celebrating her 20th Anniversary next month,” Martingayle said.
Gun rights advocates have said that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
“A so-called ‘gun free zone’ does not make people safer, because the only person who’ll have a gun is the person who violates the policy... it’s really a ‘Victim Disarmament Zone’,” Second Amendment Foundation President Alan Gottlieb told FOX News.
Gottleib said that his organization has heard from lots of frustrated public employees who want to be able to defend themselves if something happens in the workplace.
“I get a lot crossing my desk of employees who work in state or city governments who are upset that they can't bring a gun to work to protect themselves and want to know if their rights are being violated," he said. "They contact the Second Amendment Foundation all the time.”
Gottleib said it took a few weeks for Nixon’s story to come out because of the anti-gun bias in the media, FOX News reported.
“Nobody in the media picked up on that," he said, "And quite honestly I would have to assume that’s agenda driven - a lot of people in the media believe that, you know, firearms are evil, so they wouldn't report on the fact that somebody wanted to have a firearm to protect themselves."