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Thread: Is it an unwritten rule -- No Guns in the VA. Senate Gallery -- but *OK* in the House Gallery

  1. #1
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    Below is the email I sent to VCDL & my representative -- Did anyone else know about this "private" Common-sense gun control rule in Virginia?

    Is the Virginia Senate really "above the law" on this?
    ----------------

    Dear VCDL,

    I'm puzzled by the Capitol Police's ban on concealed-firearms-with-CHP in the Senate Gallery. The capitol policeman explained to me that Senate passed a rule in 2001 probihiting firearms in the Senate Gallery, but offered that the House gallery allowed guns.

    We were touring with a group of Cub scouts(pack 715) and the policeman & policewoman stationed outside the Gallery were polite & professional about it, although it seems to be a rule that flies in the face of the firarms preemption.

    Security was quick & efficient for both the General Assembly & Capitol security entrance. Do you have any experience with this issue at the Capitol. I was unable to find anything in the Code of Virginia on this, and there was no signage in the gallery. It appears to be some kind of "private rule" enforced in a government building. The event was actually somewhat of a relief, having to sit outside in a QUIET/PEACEFUL LOBBY(with comfortable chair) instead of managing a dozen rowdy Cub Scouts.



    I'm just not sure of what to make of the "no guns in the Senate Gallery" rule, as it seems contrary to the Code of Virginia. Monday was definately NOT the time to test the legally of this rule, unless I wanted to be summarily beaten down by a very fit policewoman.

    Peter Martin

    VCDL Member

    peterbinary1@binary1.com

    cc: Senator Stosch / senator@walterstosch.com

  2. #2
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    Philosophically, what does it say of an elected official that is afraid to face his electorate and armed constituency?

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

  3. #3
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    I've open carried in the Senate Gallery twice (both times last year), once speaking at the podium. My guess is the officer made it up, I'd just go in and don't worry about the fool! It doesn't seem likely that it is within his authority to stop you.Some cops make things up to get their way.

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    Obviously, you could conceal carry and they would never know. Still, as I said, I've open carried there less than a year ago....

    I doubt this is something in effect "since 2001", based on my own experiences there. More likely, the change in Senate leadership (from Republican to Democrat) is responsible (if this is even true).

  5. #5
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    SicSemperTyrannis wrote:
    Obviously, you could conceal carry and they would never know. Still, as I said, I've open carried there less than a year ago....

    I doubt this is something in effect "since 2001", based on my own experiences there. More likely, the change in Senate leadership (from Republican to Democrat) is responsible (if this is even true).
    They have a metal detector at the entrance to the Senate Gallery.. I walked through the metal detector and showed my permit (just like was done at the entrance to the main Capitol building at the new entrance), and the Capitol police officer informed me that "no matter what, no weapons allowed", the 2nd officer(female) clarified that they "do not allow weapons, and do not provide secure storage"..

    I called over to the Capitol police(after posting) and was confirmed that the rule was enacted after 9/11 by the Senate.. the even more weird thing is that he confimed that "carry w/ permit" was allowed in the House Gallery and anyone else in the Capital.

    The female officer made it clear with body language that I "was not crossing *THAT* line"

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    psmartin wrote:
    SicSemperTyrannis wrote:
    Obviously, you could conceal carry and they would never know. Still, as I said, I've open carried there less than a year ago....

    I doubt this is something in effect "since 2001", based on my own experiences there. More likely, the change in Senate leadership (from Republican to Democrat) is responsible (if this is even true).
    They have a metal detector at the entrance to the Senate Gallery.. I walked through the metal detector and showed my permit (just like was done at the entrance to the main Capitol building at the new entrance), and the Capitol police officer informed me that "no matter what, no weapons allowed", the 2nd officer(female) clarified that they "do not allow weapons, and do not provide secure storage"..

    I called over to the Capitol police(after posting) and was confirmed that the rule was enacted after 9/11 by the Senate.. the even more weird thing is that he confimed that "carry w/ permit" was allowed in the House Gallery and anyone else in the Capital.

    The female officer made it clear with body language that I "was not crossing *THAT* line"
    You do know that the senate is the more elite of the two houses so of course it goes without saying. The house is the "peoples" chamber. But the law does fly in the face of preemption. I wonder if someone out there would challenge it? Would the senate be so much in favor of preemption if it also applied to them?

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