Why I Carry
Open Carry in Virginia, No. 27, 15 July, 2004
by Paul Hager © 2004IC Title 35, Article 47, Chapter 2. Regulation of Handguns Article I, Section 32, Indiana Constitution
The 15 July 2004 issue of the Washington Post had an article entitled "Guns Worn In Open Legal, But Alarm Va." Members of a group called the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) have been openly carrying their sidearms in Virginia and generating some national media at the same time.
According to the WaPo, the VCDL President, Phillip Van Cleave said that gun owners might be celebrating a new law that took effect on July 1. Quoting from the article:
"Virginia statute 15.2-915 now completely prohibits any locality from enacting any regulations on gun ownership, carrying, storage or purchase, except for rules related to the workforce. Alexandria, for example, had an ordinance prohibiting openly carrying guns. It is now invalid..."
The first instance of open carry reported occurred at a Starbucks where "...Fairfax police wrongly confiscated weapons from two college students and charged them with a misdemeanor. Police realized their mistake, returned the guns and tore up the charges the next day. Police commanders have since issued a reminder to officers that "open carry" is the law of the land in the Old Dominion."
Van Cleave and his group are to be congratulated. A perusal of their web site reveals they successfully lobbied the state legislature to adopt "shall issue" licensing in 1995 and played a key role in getting preemption laws strengthened so that license holders are protected from grandfathered anti-gun ordinances. This latter accomplishment is of special interest to Hoosiers since we have an identical situation involving anti-gun ordinances in Gary.
Van Cleave and the VCDL have shown what a dedicated group can do. Said Van Cleave of the new law:
"It's like the Fourth of July. A whole new set of freedoms came in. . . . All local gun control is completely and totally gone."