Ham, mustard, chips, AR-15
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 Ken 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 those they 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, Bacon’s Rebellion