Guns Allowed in State Parks Again

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

And with hunting season here, more people are thinking about their right to bear arms. Many are happy with Governor Warner's recent cooperation, but they wonder also if he has something up his sleeve.

Candidate for state Senate in the 26th district, Mark Obenshain, said, "The governor has in the past for many years been an outspoken advocate for restricting the rights of gun owners."

But, recently Gov. Mark Warner has changed his tune. Last legislative session he signed all three bills gun owners petitioned him to sign. And a month ago he restored the right of concealed carry permit holders to carry in state parks.

But his possibly politically-motivated actions leave his supporters feeling betrayed.

"I would prefer he took a stronger stance on gun issues. We've been disappointed," said Ben Fordney, Shenandoah Chapter President of Virginians Against Handgun Violence.

Fordney's group will be lobbying Congress in a few weeks to tighten the loopholes in the state's current gun law. The sniper attacks have urged them on.

"It's too easy for people like that to get to get their hands on weapons like that. The system failed," Fordney said.

But, in the fight to reduce crime, law-abiding citizens, who own guns, say their rights are infringed upon.

"People here in this part of Virginia vigorously oppose any new and unreasonable regulations on gun ownership and it's good to see that a couple of those unreasonable regulations have been rolled back," said Obenshain.

Obenshain is endorsed by the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition. The coalition continues to fight for gun owners. Meanwhile, Fordney says he will continue to fight also.

"We're interested in gun safety and in seeing they don't get into wrong hands."

Gun issues that could come up at the next legislative session include a repeal of the dangerous restaurant gun ban, recognition of out-of-state concealed carry licenses, a one-gun-a-month rule and a crack-down on background checks done by private sellers at gun shows.

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