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Thread: Illegal Signage in Fredericksburg Battlefields

  1. #1
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Illegal Signage in Fredericksburg Battlefields

    I spent the day yesterday at Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefields. Before entering the "Federal building where National Parks Service (NPS) enployees regularly work", I disarmed, leaving my pistol in the car. I didn't see ANY signage (and I looked pretty hard) around the front entrance to the Visitors Center for the Chancellorsville Battlefield. We arrived about a minute before the movie was to start, so the park rangers told us we could pay the $2 per person fee for the movie afterwards. We watched the movie, paid the fee, then looked at the artifacts in the small museum. I gathered some battlefield literature and even purchased a nice book about "Civil" War Arms and Equipment, even though the title is erroneous. We looked around the area where "Stonewall" Jackson was said to be when he was shot by North Carolinian Reservists resulting in his eventual death.

    I noticed a few problems while on the "Civil War Trail" however... Problem # 1 was signage in several locations that stated that weapons of any kind (including firearms) were prohibited in the park. Problem # 2 is a photo (I will attempt to attach) that shows a rifle with a "Ghostbusters" circle crossing out the rifle. It could mean that rifles are illegal or that hunting is illegal. I saw this sign on either McLaws Drive or Furnace Road, not far from a crossroad.

    The next illegal sign I saw was a list of park rules for the Wilderness Battlefield at the "Exhibit Shelter" on
    Rt 20.

    The NPS Visitor Center in Yorktown was fairly quick to fix their signage, but I guess other NPS sites have been a little slow to get rid of their illegal signage or add the ones about weapons in "Federal Buildings".

    Are there any VCDL board members in the Fredericksburg area that may be able to communicate with the local NPS folks about their illegal signage?

    After leaving the Visitors Center, I OC'd throughout both battlefields. There was absolutely NO shortage of Geico Eyes at the sight of my Kimber. It seemed that no one wanted to share Historical Markers with my daughters and I... Cars from New Jersey and Maryland seemed to either skip the stop where we were reading a roadside sign, or quickly finish their business when we arrived at a sigh they were reading. very odd behavior, I thought. I had a supply of Ed's Cards to share if I had been given the opportunity...
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    It is probably going to take a bit until all the signs are going to be changed in all National Parks. I was in Shenandoah NP this weekend and saw a few outdated signs, however the park bulletin has a very clear blurb on the new legality of carry on national park lands. If the invalid signs bug you, you should write a letter asking the park management when they are going to change them. VCDL could help but really why let them have all the fun?

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    Such signs aren't "illegal", they're just invalid.

  4. #4
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    Such signs aren't "illegal", they're just invalid.
    They may be "invalid" in Texas, but in Virginia, they are against the law; in violation of the law... hence ILLEGAL. :-D
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    What law are they violating? Cite please.

  6. #6
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Aww, now this is disappointing. After reading bunches of stories of people finding these signs all over the state, I do try to keep my eye open around my own "back yard". And here someone else found them!

    I haven't been to the Chancellorsville Battlefield for a number of years, but I do visit the one downtown much more often. As of a couple weeks ago, they still hadn't posted the required signs on the visitor center or the bookstore, and I haven't seen any gun messages at all out along Sunken Road either. I haven't looked real hard though.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    Are there any VCDL board members in the Fredericksburg area that may be able to communicate with the local NPS folks about their illegal signage?
    Right there is where the problem occurs. It does not take a VCDL Board/Executive member to contact the NPS Superintendant and inform him about the inappropriate signage. That's "supposed to be" your job - and then you get the bigger guns from VCDL involved only if your polite request to comply with the law is not followed up with the necessary corrections.

    I'm not trying to bust anyone's chops here. Rather, I'm suggesting that activism does not always require passing the buck up to a higher pay grade. If you are right and they are wrong, then inform them, and ask them to get right.

    stay safe.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Right there is where the problem occurs. It does not take a VCDL Board/Executive member to contact the NPS Superintendant and inform him about the inappropriate signage. That's "supposed to be" your job - and then you get the bigger guns from VCDL involved only if your polite request to comply with the law is not followed up with the necessary corrections.

    I'm not trying to bust anyone's chops here. Rather, I'm suggesting that activism does not always require passing the buck up to a higher pay grade. If you are right and they are wrong, then inform them, and ask them to get right.

    stay safe.
    Just don't mention VCDL when you do it.
    As a member, you don't have the authority to use VCDL in the compliant.

    Just do what I do and get it fixed without advertising it.

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    National park open carry opportunities to spread the message

    I think National park open carry is an excellent way to spread the word about legal open carry because one can do so outside yet in the midst of many other people in an unintimidating way - discreetly, but openly, while minding your own business and just looking at nature, the battlefields, historical markers, etc.

    If people ask about it, great, then you can nonchallantly talk to them about it; otherwise, just carry on!

    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    IAfter leaving the Visitors Center, I OC'd throughout both battlefields. There was absolutely NO shortage of Geico Eyes at the sight of my Kimber. It seemed that no one wanted to share Historical Markers with my daughters and I... Cars from New Jersey and Maryland seemed to either skip the stop where we were reading a roadside sign, or quickly finish their business when we arrived at a sigh they were reading. very odd behavior, I thought. I had a supply of Ed's Cards to share if I had been given the opportunity...

  10. #10
    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Rather, I'm suggesting that activism does not always require passing the buck up to a higher pay grade.
    It is an epidemic.

    And endemic to the loss of our liberties to where we stand today.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
    Novos ordo seclorum ~ Mustaine

    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  11. #11
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylde007 View Post
    It is an epidemic.

    And endemic to the loss of our liberties to where we stand today.
    Actually, I am more of the opinion that some folks juist do not know how much they can or ought to do on their own when it comes to matters that are so often handled by an organization, be it VCDL, NRA, GOA, JPFO, SAF or the like. Those are all powerful hitters with impressive reputations, and sometimes us "little folk" get tangled up in thinking they are the only players on the field.

    IIRC VCDL has always encouraged folks to address their concerns/complaints at the individual level and call on the organization only when they hit a stone wall. My take on that is that the "powers that be" get the lesson that not just the name organizations but every Joe and Jane Doe out there is aware of when those "powers that be" are violating the rules and will call them on it right away. Makes it difficult to get away with anything when you think everybody is looking over your shoulder - which IMO is the way it ought to be.

    When they will not respond to the little mosquito buzzing around their ear and fix things when it could be done quickly and quietly, then you bring out the big 800-pound gorilla and sit it in the front parlor.

    stay safe.

  12. #12
    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Talking

    I was speaking more generally.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
    Novos ordo seclorum ~ Mustaine

    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  13. #13
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Actually, I am more of the opinion that some folks juist do not know how much they can or ought to do on their own when it comes to matters that are so often handled by an organization, be it VCDL, NRA, GOA, JPFO, SAF or the like. Those are all powerful hitters with impressive reputations, and sometimes us "little folk" get tangled up in thinking they are the only players on the field.

    IIRC VCDL has always encouraged folks to address their concerns/complaints at the individual level and call on the organization only when they hit a stone wall. My take on that is that the "powers that be" get the lesson that not just the name organizations but every Joe and Jane Doe out there is aware of when those "powers that be" are violating the rules and will call them on it right away. Makes it difficult to get away with anything when you think everybody is looking over your shoulder - which IMO is the way it ought to be.

    When they will not respond to the little mosquito buzzing around their ear and fix things when it could be done quickly and quietly, then you bring out the big 800-pound gorilla and sit it in the front parlor.

    stay safe.
    Working on letter/e-mail to them today. I'll let y'all know what happens...
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

  14. #14
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    Working on letter/e-mail to them today. I'll let y'all know what happens...
    Next come the pats on the back and cheers from the peanut gallery. Go get 'em, tiger!

    stay safe.

  15. #15
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Aww, now this is disappointing. After reading bunches of stories of people finding these signs all over the state, I do try to keep my eye open around my own "back yard". And here someone else found them!

    I haven't been to the Chancellorsville Battlefield for a number of years, but I do visit the one downtown much more often. As of a couple weeks ago, they still hadn't posted the required signs on the visitor center or the bookstore, and I haven't seen any gun messages at all out along Sunken Road either. I haven't looked real hard though.

    TFred
    Well, interesting to say the least, after five years of not posting the Fredericksburg National Cemetery visitor center, some time within the past few weeks they have posted the sticker on the door. Seems odd to me that suddenly after 5 years it would suddenly seem important enough to do.

    Right now it's tough for me to get by during open hours, but if I can manage, I'll see if anyone has an explanation.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    TFred

  16. #16
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Just a reminder - National Cemeteries are part of the Veterans Administration and not the NPS - even if located within tje NPS boundaries. http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/index.asp

    That makes them GFZs (except for honor guards with prior arrangement).

    This information may make your trip unnecessary.

    stay safe.
    "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

  17. #17
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Just a reminder - National Cemeteries are part of the Veterans Administration and not the NPS - even if located within tje NPS boundaries. http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/index.asp

    That makes them GFZs (except for honor guards with prior arrangement).

    This information may make your trip unnecessary.

    stay safe.
    There is a National Cemetery at the same "site", but there are distinct parts. I don't know if anyone has ever declared a boundary, but there would definitely be a part of the area that is National Park, and a part that is National Cemetery. The sign they have posted seems to comply with the direction for all other NPS buildings.

    Even if not, the question still remains, why post it now after many years of not?

    TFred

  18. #18
    Regular Member wrearick's Avatar
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    TFRED, you did say the sticker was on the "Fredericksburg National Cemetery visitor center" door so I would be inclined to believe it is part of the Cemetery vice NPS. Either way, they would be hard pressed to charge someone under that Code (and have it hold up in court) if the property was not posted. Probably had an "incident" where someone carried inside since there were no signs precluding firearms, but I am just guessing. If they didn't (finally) get around to posting it and instead kept charging folks that inadvertently walked through the door we would cry entrapment.

  19. #19
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrearick View Post
    TFRED, you did say the sticker was on the "Fredericksburg National Cemetery visitor center" door so I would be inclined to believe it is part of the Cemetery vice NPS. Either way, they would be hard pressed to charge someone under that Code (and have it hold up in court) if the property was not posted. Probably had an "incident" where someone carried inside since there were no signs precluding firearms, but I am just guessing. If they didn't (finally) get around to posting it and instead kept charging folks that inadvertently walked through the door we would cry entrapment.
    Sometimes clarity takes a lot of work. No worries though, in this day and age, we have to be 100% right.

    The National Park Service maintains the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, which is made up of four major Civil War battlefields: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and Wilderness. Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville both have visitor centers that would meet the "federal facility" definition. The City of Fredericksburg also operates a Fredericksburg Visitor Center downtown on Caroline Street.

    So, when I posted this update, I carelessly added the "cemetery" adjective to distinguish between the two Fredericksburg visitor centers. Although the one downtown has nothing to do with the NPS, people do often confuse them.

    There is a ton of information about the FSNMP at their website: http://www.nps.gov/frsp/ Interestingly, there is very little specific information on the website about the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, even though it is adjacent, and to the casual observer, would certainly be a part of the Park Service boundary.

    In fact, this page specifically states, "The cemetery is one of several components of the national military park, a unit of the National Park Service."

    Additionally, this Department of Veterans Affairs webpage says: "The Department of the Interior's National Park Service maintains 14 national cemeteries located within larger park units..." followed by a list. This would certainly seem to support the idea that the VA has handed this specific set of 14 cemeteries off to the NPS.

    TFred

    ETA: And to finally kill the horse deader than dead... if you use the VA's "Find a Cemetery" page on their website, and you enter the zip code for Fredericksburg, 22401, the nearest hit is Quantico, almost 20 miles north! So that says the Fredericksburg National Cemetery is not even in their database. So is carry permitted in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery? One could easily argue both ways, I guess it would come down to whether or not the judge wants to put you in jail.
    Last edited by TFred; 07-23-2015 at 02:16 PM.

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