- Post 02 May 2012
- By Submitted -- Standard eBox
A long-standing prohibition on openly carrying guns in Virginia state parks is set to officially end Monday, a victory for gun rights advocates after a protracted political battle that spanned four administrations.
More than a year in the making, the state code is being changed after Gov. Bob McDonnell in January 2011 ordered the Department of Conservation and Recreation to stop enforcing the regulation banning guns from parks.
The section has been part of the code or department regulations since at least 1965, and likely since the state park system was created in 1936, according to state documents.
Republicans for a decade have sought to clarify whether the state has legal authority to enforce gun bans and were supported by opinions from two GOP attorneys general — one of them being Mr. McDonnell.
“This was just a lingering issue from the previous administration that was on the radar of the folks at the Department of Conservation and Recreation,” McDonnell spokesman Jeff Caldwell said. “The governor made the decree a year ago to allow this. The [regulations] that we’re going through now are just catching up to policy.”
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said changing the regulation carries more significance than a mere letter or directive because it will make it more difficult for future governors to undo.