Town gun law change shot down
By Allison Brophy Champion
Published: September 9, 2008
More than a dozen members of the Virginia Citizen Defense League, a Fairfax County-based guns rights group, showed up at Tuesday’s Culpeper Town Council meeting packing pistols and rival opinions about the police chief’s proposal to do away with varmint shooting in town.
In the end, after about 30 minutes of civil public comment on the issue, Town Council voted 6-2 to not change the local gun ordinance, as recommended by Police Chief Scott Barlow, and to continue to allow people to obtain special permits to discharge guns within the corporate limits for the purpose of killing garden pests like groundhogs.
Mayor Pranas Rimeikis and Councilman Jim Risner voted with the minority and Councilman Mike Olinger was absent.
The Town Council Public Safety Committee will continue to look at the permit process to ensure that town citizens discharging firearms know how to do so properly and have enough land on which to safely shoot their gun.
But for now, the law stands.
One by one, members of the VCDL urged Town Council not to “add another layer of government” and to let state laws regarding wrongful discharge of firearms to address the issue.
The second amendment advocates wore bright orange stickers stating, “Guns save lives,” standing at the podium in the county boardroom with pistols on their hips and a circular carpet in front of them marked with Culpeper Minutemen wielding shotguns.
“I don’t like to see firearms laws created that don’t need to be created,” said VCDL member Ed Levine of why he drove from his home in Sterling to speak on the issue. Such laws inhibit the freedoms of law-abiding citizens, said Levine outside before the meeting, encouraging this reporter to get a gun.
Vice Mayor Billy Yowell said the town still has rural areas where guns can be safely discharged. He said he understood the chief’s safety concerns in more congested areas, but that there had been no problems through the years with the ordinance as written.