Isle of Wight may repeal “useless” gun law.

July 1st, 2009 at 8:09


ISLE OF WIGHT — The county likely will repeal a new ordinance that prohibits concealed weapons from being taken into public parks and recreational facilities.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance in August 2008 that allows only “authorized personnel” to carry concealed guns in the county’s recreational facilities, said Assistant County Attorney Mark C. Popovich. But the ordinance — meant to keep the county’s athletic fields, senior centers and other recreational facilities safe for the rapidly growing number of users — is “unenforcable,” he said.

Trouble is, no one realized it until the county received a call from a gun rights group, Virginia Citizens Defense League Inc., shortly after the ordinance passed.

State law says that local governments can’t adopt ordinances controlling the use, sale, possession or transportation of firearms. Local hunting laws are the only exception.

On Thursday, the Board of Supervisors will be looking at a recommendation to repeal the ordinance adopted less than a year ago. If it moves forward, a public hearing could be scheduled for as soon as July 16.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, applauded Isle of Wight’s move to remove “useless gun laws” from its book.

“We don’t want issues out there confusing people,” Van Cleave said. Besides, he said, local parks and recreational venues will be safer with people legally carrying their concealed weapons.

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