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Thread: VCDL and John Pierce in the news on Boones Mill open carry in city hall story

  1. #1
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    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/xp-161882

    Gun sign fires up Boones Mill meeting
    The Virginia Citizens Defense League joined in the discussion over
    whether to bring firearms into town hall.
    By Neil Harvey
    981 -3349

    [Picture of a gun on a hip removed.]
    [Photo Credit] JEANNA DUERSCHERL The Roanoke Times
    [Caption] Paul Henick, with the Virginia Citizens Defense League,
    attends Tuesday's Boones Mill Town Council meeting with a holstered
    handgun.

    JEANNA DUERSCHERL The Roanoke Times
    Paul Henick, with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, attends
    Tuesday's Boones Mill Town Council meeting with a holstered handgun.

    [Picture of the sign removed.]

    [Photo Credit] EANNA DUERSCHERL The Roanoke Times
    [Caption] Rephrased from a demand into a request, a sign outside
    Boones Mill town hall asks that guns not be brought into the building.

    JEANNA DUERSCHERL The Roanoke Times
    Rephrased from a demand into a request, a sign outside Boones Mill
    town hall asks that guns not be brought into the building.

    A recently posted sign requesting that guns not be brought into
    Boones Mill town hall sparked controversy at a town council meeting
    Tuesday night -- and drew the attention of the Virginia Citizens
    Defense League.

    But, in the end, debate over the Second Amendment paled in comparison
    to other, more personal issues, the likes of which have repeatedly
    plagued the council's notoriously volatile meetings.

    Last week, incumbent mayor E.V. "Ben" Flora won re-election over
    challenger Robert Hogan by a vote of 40 to 38. Former council members
    Hogan and his wife, Patricia, resigned their positions in March 2007
    over the council's refusal to fire Police Chief and Town Manager Lynn
    Frith, who had issued Robert Hogan a speeding ticket.

    More recently, however, debate has been waged over a series of signs
    first demanding, then requesting that weapons not be carried by those
    attending meetings.

    Frith said the first sign went up about a month ago after it was
    approved at the last council meeting.

    However, according to Mark Flynn, director of legal services for the
    Virginia Municipal League, Virginia law prohibits a city or town from
    banning guns in most public buildings or property, although there are
    exceptions for schools, courthouses, jails and police stations.

    The council eventually had the town's attorney draft a notice that
    rephrased the demand as a request.

    "We're just asking for people's cooperation," Frith said. "We've just
    had citizens complain ... that they don't feel that firearms should
    be in the town hall."

    The sign came to the attention of Philip Van Cleave, president of the
    Virginia Citizens Defense League. He attended Tuesday's meeting to
    speak against it and said Robert Hogan had notified him of the sign
    when it was first posted.

    The current version of the sign, Van Cleave said, is "a different
    animal," but he still feels it should be removed.

    "I'm offended by that sign," he said. "If someone is frightened of an
    inanimate object such as a gun, maybe that person should go see a
    psychiatrist."

    Robert Hogan, sporting an American flag necktie before the meeting,
    carried a .38 caliber revolver in a holster under two layers of
    clothing: his sport coat and dress shirt.

    "I like to be inconspicuous," he explained. "I don't want to attract
    attention that I have a gun on me. Although everybody within 100
    yards knows I carry a gun."

    Supporters of the VCDL crowded into Boones Mill's tiny town hall
    wearing holstered handguns and blaze orange stickers that read, "GUNS
    Save Lives."

    During the council meeting -- which, by fire code, was limited to 30
    people -- Van Cleave drew a connection between criminal awareness and
    gun-free zones. He cited shootings at Virginia Tech last year and at
    the city hall in Kirkwood, Mo., in February, and said gun access
    could've prevented those situations.

    Paul Henick of Richmond was one of three other VCDL members who
    spoke, and he said the sign expressed a negative bias.

    "You have judged me and determined I'm likely to cause discord
    because I choose to carry a firearm," Henick said. "I must
    strenuously object to your prejudice against me."

    The only Boones Mill resident who argued in favor of keeping guns out
    was Robert Ghirihghelli.

    "I support your right to carry," he said, but offered that "a
    weapon ... a machete ... an ax ... a gun ... might be intimidating. I
    support your right. Respect the people who give you that right."

    Henick hastened to object.

    "No one gives me that right," he said.

    But once the gun debate ended, matters became far more contentious.

    Craig Drewry of Boones Mill voiced a concern that Flora, the newly
    elected mayor, does not live in Boones Mill and contested his
    residency, a requirement of the office. Flora insisted that he does
    live in the town, but was told by Shannon Shepard of Franklin County
    that he lives in a commercial building -- a violation of Virginia
    code, she said. Shepard later identified herself as Robert and
    Patricia Hogan's daughter, and she and Flora exchanged verbal jabs.

    Flora told Shepard he intended to resolve the questions regarding his
    residency, "and I'll do it just for you." Flora then addressed the
    VCDL members, telling them, "You're here because one person wanted
    you here for his own personal notion."

    He said the council would make a decision regarding the sign soon.

    Later, he apologized for the disruption and admitted, "We need to, as
    a group, operate to better this town."

    Toward the end of the meeting, John Pierce, an executive member of
    the VCDL, remarked, "Usually when we show up at town council
    meetings, we're the ones who cause the hullabaloo.

    "You guys obviously still have issues to address, and I wish you the
    best," he continued, then offered to give city council members free
    gun safety lessons.

    Staff writers Laurence Hammack and Mason Adams contributed to this
    report.

  2. #2
    Regular Member vt357's Avatar
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    Wow that sounds like it was quite a wild night! Perhaps Paul's "looming" in the first picture got them all riled up.

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    The part about guns being banned in police stations is incorrect.

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    Mike wrote:
    The part about guns being banned in police stations is incorrect.
    please correct me if i am wrong.

    "public" areas of a police station are just like any other public area as far as right to carry.

    "secure" areas of a police station are able to ban carry?

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    67GT390FB wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    The part about guns being banned in police stations is incorrect.
    please correct me if i am wrong.

    "public" areas of a police station are just like any other public area as far as right to carry.

    "secure" areas of a police station are able to ban carry?
    Some police stations double as jails. That is where they can be banned (the "secure" areas), if I'm not wrong.

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    Don't forget to take the poll at the end:

    style="font-family: arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"
    Should firearms be allowed at public government meetings?


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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    vt357 wrote:
    Wow that sounds like it was quite a wild night! Perhaps Paul's "looming" in the first picture got them all riled up.
    Not counting the6Town Council members, mayor,and Chief of Police (their ONLY cop), I counted 3 members of the press, 1 secretary, 5 citizens of the town and 14 VCDL members/supporters inside the room (legal occupancy limited to 30) and at least a dozen VCDL members/supporters who had to stay outside.

    Before the meeting I OC'd at the Subway about 1/2-way across town from the Town Hall (maybe 100 yards straight line distance :what and at the local gas station without any negative comments or folks swooning. Had dinner at the Franklin Restaurant up the road a piece and was warmly welcomed by both waitresses, and some guy from the kitchen came out as I was leaving to shake my hand and say he thinks OC is a good idea "especially with all the stuff that is happening nowdays." Also, one of the "regulars" there (young man who appeared to be either Down Syndrome or mildly retarded) kept looking at me and smiling while I ate my supper.

    Only negative was one elderly woman (town matriarch?) who kept on saying she was intimidated by us citizens OC-ing, but admitted that the wheelgun on the Chief's hip did not bother her at all.

    Send me your copy of the picture of me "looming" and I'll autograph it. :celebrate

    stay safe.

    skidmark

    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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    Regular Member vt357's Avatar
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    You can still "loom" from a seated position right?

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    Only negative was one elderly woman (town matriarch?) who kept on saying she was intimidated by us citizens OC-ing, but admitted that the wheelgun on the Chief's hip did not bother her at all.

    The Chief still has a wheelgun?
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
    Concealed Firearms Instructor for Virginia, Florida & Utah permits.
    NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
    Sabre Red Pepper Spray Instructor
    Glock Certified Armorer
    Instructor Bio - http://proactiveshooters.com/about-us/

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    Mike wrote:
    The part about guns being banned in police stations is incorrect.
    Mike (and other Concerned Readers of this Forum):

    Here is what Capt. Scott Ogden, Alexandria PD, wrote justifying the City's ban on firearms in police stations. No distinction was made between public areas and restricted areas. This is the opinion of the City Attorney. I have already sent this to Mr. Van Cleave of VCDL for his opinion. Please let me know what you think.

    --- On Fri, 5/16/08, Scott.Ogden@alexandriava.gov <Scott.Ogden@alexandriava.gov> wrote:


    From: Scott.Ogden@alexandriava.gov <Scott.Ogden@alexandriava.gov>
    Subject: Re: COA Contact Us: VA Code Sec. 15.2-915 and Alexandria Police Station Signage
    To: [VCDL Member]
    Cc: elaine.scott@alexandriava.gov, Rose.Boyd@alexandriava.gov
    Date: Friday, May 16, 2008, 4:19 PM

    Code:
    Dear Mr. [VCDL Member]:
    
    Per Chief Baker, I am writing this response to you in reference to your May
    11 email to him regarding "Sec. 15.2-915 and Alexandria Police Station
    Signage". The Chief of Police of course not only enforces, but adheres to
    all laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and all ordinances of the City of
    Alexandria. I have conferred with our City Attorney's office and have
    received the following legal opinion which should address your concerns.
    
    "The Virginia Code confers upon all localities the power and authority to
    "provide for the protection of its inhabitants and property, and for the
    preservation of peace and good order therein." Va. Code section
    15.2-1700.
    Code:
    The Virginia Code also designates the chief of police as "the chief law
    enforcement officer of that locality." Va. Code section 15.2-1701. Among
    the specific powers delegated to police departments in Virginia is the
    power to safeguard the life and property of persons in the City. Va. Code
    section 15.2-1704(A).
    
    As the chief law enforcement officer acting within the scope of his duty to
    safeguard life and property in the City, the Alexandria police chief has
    the power and authority to regulate the carrying of firearms within the
    buildings (or "police stations") in which the police department has
    its offices. In light of the dangerous individuals who may be present in
    police buildings and offices, this is a reasonable public safety regulation
    that is consistent with Va. Code section 15.2-915(A)."
    
    Should you need further you may contact me at my email address as listed
    above.
    
    Sincerely,
    
    Captain Scott D. Ogden
    City Council Liaison
    Alexandria Police Department

  11. #11
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Being right next door to Fairfax County, one might think (I know - there is the fatal error right there!) that the City of Alexandria was paying attention when VCDL sued Fairfax County over essentially the same issue.

    But Noooooo! It looks like they are going to waste taxpayer dollars to save the Chief of Police from embarassment. The City Attorney, being a lawyer, cannot, by defitintion, be embarrassed - even if he publically cites the wrong sections of the Code of Virginia in his vain attempt to justify an obviously illegal act.

    I have room for three (3) if anyone wants a free ride to Alexandria when VCDL pays them a visit.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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