Ask A Cop: Air Guns and Playing on Highways
Have a question for the Fredericksburg Police Department? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: Is there an ordinance for the city limits prohibiting children (or anyone else) from using residential streets as playgrounds (basketball courts, for instance)? If not, it seems there should be. It is not only an obvious safety issue but can be a nuisance for the neighborhood as well.
Answer: There is a state ordinance that governs this: § 46.2-932. Playing on highways; use of toy vehicle on highways, persons riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, etc., not to attach to vehicles; exception.
A. No person shall play on a highway, other than on the sidewalks thereof, within a city or town or on any part of a highway outside the limits of a city or town designated by the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner exclusively for vehicular travel. No person shall use any toy vehicle on the roadway of any highway that (i) has a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, (ii) has more than two travel lanes, or (iii) is located outside a residence district as defined in § 46.2-100. The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns may designate areas on highways under their control where play is permitted and may impose reasonable restrictions on play on such highways. Persons using such devices, except bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles, shall keep as near as safely practicable to the far right side or edge of the right traffic lane so that they will be proceeding in the same direction as other traffic.
The state ordinance is sufficient for enforcement action. Residents should contact the police department when they observe this violation, and an officer will speak with the players and explain the law and the safety concerns. If the players can understand that they will need to show the common courtesy of clearing the roadway at the approach of a vehicle, we may not need to take firmer action.
Question: I read,last year,Virginia legislature passed a law forbidding local government from making air guns illegal to shoot. You may shoot air guns on your property as long as you keep projectiles from leaving your property. Before this became law it was against the law to shoot air guns in City of Fredericksburg and to do so was a firearms violation. Please ask the Cops if this is correct.
Answer: Code of Virginia § 15.2-915.4 allows localities to regulate pneumatic guns (air powered guns). The Code was amended in 2011 to include a private property exemption, and the City Code was amended to reflect the state law. City Code 54-6 prohibits discharging a pneumatic gun within the City limits except “at facilities approved for shooting ranges, or other property where firearms may be discharged, or on or within private property with permission of the owner or legal possessor thereof when conducted with reasonable care to prevent a projectile from crossing the bounds of the property.” [Emphasis added]
Violation of the City Code is a class 3 misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.