Virginia State Capitol: Now a ‘no gun’ zone

Battle lines are being drawn in the war over guns in the Old Dominion.

 

On Monday, the Virginia Capitol and the building that houses the offices of members of the General Assembly became a “no gun” zone.

This, of course, does not sit well with those who feel they should be allowed to carry any gun they want, from a pistol to a fully-decked out AR-15, anywhere they wish.

“What is going on right now is an assault on law-abiding gun owners, nothing more, nothing less,” claimed Andrew Witing of Franklin County in a press conference in Richmond.

That’s one opinion. I’ve talked to a number of “law-abiding gun owners” in Floyd County who have no problem with a “no guns” rule in the Capitol building or legislators’ offices in Richmond. Firearms are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol or the office buildings of members of Congress in Washington.

They’re not even allowed in Donald Trump’s White House — a good idea, given the hatred that many feel towards him.

As a “law-abiding” gun owner, I have no problem leaving my firearms at home when visiting the capital of the Old Dominion. I didn’t bring a gun there when it was allowed.

In America, state governments are split when it comes to allowing firearms in their capitols or other government buildings. At last count, 23 do, while 27 do not.

In Floyd County, a visitor can bring a handgun to a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors but they cannot do so with groups like the School Board, because guns are not allowed on school property unless you are a law enforcement officer.

In Virginia, a business can decide whether or not they will allow guns on their premises.  Many movie theaters, like Regal Cinemas in Christiansburg, ban carrying weapons while watching a movie. That rule also applies to those with concealed carry permits.

Country music star Toby Keith opened one of his This Bar and Grill chain restaurants in Woodbridge, Virginia, not far from the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax.  It banned handguns and many of his fans, love their guns even more than they adore him, stayed away and it closed.

But while guns are now banned in the Capitol of the Old Dominion, they are still welcome at meetings of The Floyd County Supervisors. At most board meetings, at least two of the supervisors may also be carrying.

However, at a meeting on Tuesday, the board voted 4-0 to deny a permit to a group of Floyd County residents who wanted to use the county’s recreation park for a planned Saturday “muster” of a militia.

Under Virginia law, a county cannot have a militia. Only the governor can “muster” one and he is the commander-in-chief of it.

Given how those who want to see county militias in Virginia feel about Gov. Ralph Northam and his Democratic colleagues in Richmond, that’s ironic and, some might say, well deserved.

Others feel the war over guns and the claimed rights of owners of weapons is coming and it could be a bloody one.

(Updated on Jan. 15 to reflect actions taken Tuesday by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors.)

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