Va. State Parks to allow open carry of guns starting Monday

WASHINGTON – After years of fighting over the issue, a long-standing ban on openly carrying guns in Virginia State Parks is set to officially end Monday.

Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a legal opinion in 2008, when he was the state’s Attorney General, says the state Department of Conservation and Recreation doesn’t have the authority to enforce a ban on openly carrying guns in parks.

McDonnell’s predecessor, Gov. Tim Kaine disregarded that opinion, citing safety concerns.

He instructed the department to stop enforcing the ban last year. Now, the state code is being change to officially allow guns to be openly carried in parks.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, tells the Washington Times the change is important because it’ll be harder for future governors to undo.

Carrying a concealed gun, which requires a permit, is already allowed in Virginia State Parks. Richmond news station WTVR reports that enforcement of the ban on openly carrying guns ended last year, when the Department of Conservation and Recreation heard from McDonnell that the ban would likely be repealed in 2012.

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