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Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Ham, mustard, chips, AR-15

By Peter Galuszka

The next time you are packing up that picnic lunch for a foray into a Virginia state park, you might want to include an AR-15 assault rifle or a Glock 19 automatic pistol with your mustard and ham sandwiches.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell says it's okay to openly carry firearms in the state's parks.

His decision, widely hailed by the gun lobby, is particularly striking coming so soon after the Tucson shootings that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It's also stunning considering that the state is coming up against the fourth anniversary of the mass murders at Virginia Tech by a disturbed gunman who left 33 dead, including himself.

McDonnell made his decision in a Jan. 14 letter to Conservation and Recreation Department Director David A. Johnson.

One wonders in what universe McDonnell and Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who originally requested an opinion on carrying guns openly in state parks when he was a state legislator, live.

Increasingly nasty political blogs and advertisements, such as those of Sarah Palin, put cross-hair sights on political figures that various groups want voted out of office.

Now when you try to escape for some quiet time in the state's parks, you may have to pitch a tent next to someone openly packing heat. Let's hope you don't have to ask your neighbors to pipe down at bedtime. And although alcoholic beverages are supposed to be off limits in parks, rangers often look the other way at campsites. Who's going to want to confront someone who is tipsy and has a .45-caliber automatic in his Velcro holster?

McDonnell wants to extend the open-carry guns policy to state forests as well. That makes sense -- during hunting season. Otherwise, a completely insane gun policy is going to make Virginians, once again, look like a bunch of nuts.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | January 20, 2011; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, crime, domestic violence, guns, parks, police, public health, sports, tourism, wildlife  
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Comments

Lock 'n load.

Posted by: IncredulousAsEver | January 20, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Va.'s parks will be safer now. Congratulations, Gov. McDonnell. Someone once said, "an armed society is a polite society."
Got it!

Posted by: dpvideodoc | January 20, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Va.'s parks will be safer now. Congratulations, Gov. McDonnell. Someone once said, "an armed society is a polite society."
Got it!

Posted by: dpvideodoc | January 20, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Va.'s parks will be safer now. Congratulations, Gov. McDonnell. Someone once said, "an armed society is a polite society."
Got it!

Posted by: dpvideodoc | January 20, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

This really doesn't change much. Citizens with valid Virginia Concealed Handgun Permits have been allowed to carry their handguns in Virginia State Parks for several years. Those same duly-certified and armed citizens may carry their handguns in National Parks and National Forests in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The "pending bloodbath" argument has been trotted out by anti-gunners ever since the Concealed Handgun Permit issuance process was standardized across the Commonwealth in the 1990's, and it has never materialized. The Va Tech slayings were an anomaly.

Surprisingly enough, had Seung Huei Cho had applied for a Concealed Handgun Permit, the background check might have raised a red flag, that wasn't there when he originally purchased his pistols.

I feel much safer in "gun-crazed" Virginia than I ever did when I lived on Capitol Hill in DC. Let me give you three examples of things that happened to me in wonderful "gun-free" DC, that have never happened to me in Virginia:

1. Multiple break-ins to my vehicle
2. Burglary of my home
3. Robbery of my fiance at knifepoint
4. Treating a gunshot victim on the sidewalk in front of my home.

If you don't like guns, don't buy one. Just leave the rest of us the hell alone!

Posted by: Physical_Security_Spec | January 21, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Carrying in Virginia State Parks is not new, concealed carry has been allowed since then Governor Warner (D) ordered State Parks to allow it back around 2002. He correctly believed that is was not legal to ban such carry under Virginia law and there have been no problems. Governor McDonnell has simply expanded the right to have the gun in plain view and to be carried without a permission slip from the State into State Parks.

Posted by: PAVC2 | January 23, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Physical_Security_Spec wrote:"Surprisingly enough, had Seung Huei Cho had applied for a Concealed Handgun Permit, the background check might have raised a red flag, that wasn't there when he originally purchased his pistols." That would indeed be surprising as the same level of background check that he passed to buy his guns would also have allowed him to get a Concealed Handgun Permit in Virginia, (like Speight and Major Hassan!) Then if you guys got your way and allowed concealed carry on campus, he could have been one of those incredibly well trained and experienced people that would have "guarded" all the other students on campus.

Posted by: goddardsinrichmond | January 23, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Physical_Security_Spec wrote:"Surprisingly enough, had Seung Huei Cho had applied for a Concealed Handgun Permit, the background check might have raised a red flag, that wasn't there when he originally purchased his pistols." That would indeed be surprising as the same level of background check that he passed to buy his guns would also have allowed him to get a Concealed Handgun Permit in Virginia, (like Speight and Major Hassan!) Then if you guys got your way and allowed concealed carry on campus, he could have been one of those incredibly well trained and experienced people that would have "guarded" all the other students on campus.

Posted by: goddardsinrichmond | January 23, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"has a .45-caliber automatic in his Velcro holster?" Seriously? Could you be more ignorant? A .45 caliber automatic is called a "Tommy Gun." You think you can get one of those in a "Velcro holster"? That's the problem with most "antis." You knee jerk react. No research. No knowledge. Please keep it up, you make my job SO much easier.

Posted by: rbates2 | January 23, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

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