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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Firearms at Public Meetings

It is not uncommon in Virginia for some gun owners to show up at public meetings openly carrying a firearm.  While it is legal to carry openly in Virginia, there are reasons not to do so. Having said that, the Virginia Gazette has an article examining carrying openly in public meetings in light of a recent murder on Aug. 5 during a supervisors meeting in a rural Pennsylvania township. 

Apparently, that incident has raised the concern of some employees of local governments in some areas of Virginia.  It hasn't helped that the following comments were also made during a recent meeting in Norge, Virginia.
The issue came up again at the county's two recent rural lands meetings. During one, held at Norge Elementary School, W. Walker Ware IV, a speaker who was asked to summarize his comments about government control, said, "I think we take up muskets and start killing people."
Another attendee, Wayne Moyer, immediately asked Ware the speaker to back off the suggestion, saying it "bothers me very much."
At a second rural lands meeting held the next morning at the county's Recreation Center, another resident, who the paper noted had been present at the Norge meeting, carried his firearm openly.  He told the paper that it had noting to do with the statement made at the previous night's meeting but did admit he openly carried his firearm to the second meeting as a statement.
"First of all, I don't necessarily agree with open carry," he said. "Very seldom do I do it. I did it because the night before, I wasn't allowed."
To say this is not helpful would be an understatement.  If an individual carries openly because that is the only way they can carry  (i.e. because they don't have a concealed carry permit or because concealed carry is not permitted but open carry is at a particular location) that's one thing.  But to do it simply to make a statement does more harm than good for our cause.

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