Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Friday, July 16, 2004


Packing in Virginia

American gun laws are a source of wonder, as David Sedaris has noted ("I've
heard, for example, that the blind can legally hunt in both Texas and
Michigan. They must be accompanied by a sighted companion, but still,
it seems a bit risky.").

So I was not altogether surprised when I ran across this:

On July 2, Fairfax County police received a 911 call from a Champps
restaurant in Reston. Six men are seated at a table, the caller said.
They're all armed.


Turns out, packing a pistol in public is perfectly legal in Virginia.
And three times in the last month, including at Champps on Sunset Hills
Road, residents have been spotted out and about in the county, with
guns strapped to their hips, exercising that right.

It get's weirder:
Virginia law 18.2-287.4 expressly prohibits "carrying loaded firearms in public areas."

But the second paragraph of the law defines firearms only as any
semiautomatic weapon that holds more than 20 rounds or a shotgun that
holds more than seven rounds -- assault rifles, mostly, Van Cleave
said. Regular six-shooters or pistols with nine- or 10-shot magazines
are not "firearms" under this Virginia law.
Comforting, isn't it?


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