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Posted: 11/2/2003 4:19:15 AM EDT
Not one, but TWO victories by VCDL activists. The first is a major win:

1. Under pressure from VCDL activists, Virginia Beach drops handgun
permit requirement!

Virginia Beach has dropped its ordinance requiring anyone purchasing
a handgun in Virginia Beach to get a permit to do so from the
police!!! According to the letter I am looking at from the City of
Virginia Beach to Virginia Beach gun dealers, the change became
effective yesterday.

This is not only great news for gun owners, but it is also wonderful
news for the gun stores and gun shows in Virginia Beach.

VCDL member Steve Haynes has been working hard on three issues in
Virginia Beach:

* Virginia Beach's handgun permit applications *require* you to
provide your social security number and a reason for wanting to
purchase the handgun - neither authorized by state law

* Virginia Beach's handgun permit is not necessary now that NICS is
being used statewide anyhow

* Virginia Beach's refusal to allow a citizen into their police
stations if that citizen is lawfully carrying a handgun. The sign in
front of the police station asking citizens to not bring in any
handguns also states that compliance is *voluntary*. Under state law
the police cannot ban lawfully carried handguns from their buildings

Steve started the ball rolling 3 months ago on his own and has done
most of the heavy-lifting. He tirelessly wrote letters, had meeting
with the police, talked to city council members and the Mayor, and
carefully document everything. This victory once again shows the raw
power of grass-roots activism, knowing your stuff, and sheer
determination.

Steve kept me apprised of the situation as he continued his fight. I
contacted Delegate Welch's office in Virginia Beach to get additional
assistance for Steve. Robert Rummels, Delegate Welch's aide, was
very helpful in this matter and did a conference call between
himself, a city council member, and myself. VCDL Executive member
John Fenter also jumped in to work the issue, retracing some of
Steve's steps by having a meeting with the police leadership.

Steve wanted time to work the system behind the scenes and VCDL
agreed, keeping the issue low on the radar scope. (Eventually we
would have asked our members to start contacting city council and to
attend city council meetings if these issues were not resolved.)

The police leadership confirmed to John Fenter that they are NOT
requiring that a person lawfully carrying a handgun leave that gun in
their car. Some VCDL members have said they will test that statement
over time as they go to the police station to conduct business. If
you experience any problems, be sure and let us know.

This is a big win in more than one way. I think that Richmond wants
to get rid of its own firearms licensing / waiting period ordinance.
This move by Virginia Beach may make that easier to do now. We also
want to get Norfolk to drop their ordinance. Sorry, you Tidewater
members are probably not off the hook yet - we will probably have to
head down to Norfolk city council to ask them to do so.

Great work - thank you Steve, John, and Robert/Delegate Welch!

2. Loudoun Park agrees to remove "No guns" signs from their parks

Another one of VCDL's tireless Executive members, Pete Clark, has
taken the lead to get the "No guns" signs that still exist in Loudoun
parks taken down. The signs were still up even though the new
preemption law does not allow permit holders to have their guns
banned from parks. Today I got written and verbal confirmation from
Cindy Welsh, director of Loudoun Parks, saying that the signs are
coming down. In fact they are supposed to already be down in Claude
Moore park. If any of you are near any of the other Loudoun parks,
check them for "No guns" signs and let me know if you find any. Ms.
Welsh has assured me that any signs she misses the first time, will
come down.

I applaud Ms. Welsh for dropping the signs. The Loudoun County
Attorney, in a letter to Ms. Welsh, said that the signs were OK as
is, even though they were misleading about who could or could not
carry a gun in the park. Ms. Welsh took the high-road and removed
the misleading signs anyhow.

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