U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The Virginia state government’s attacks on law-abiding gun owners continue apace. On September 1, Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) used his position to offer an expansive interpretation of statute that will create a confusing patchwork of gun-free zones throughout the Commonwealth. Herring’s actions are an important reminder that gun rights supporters need to be cognizant not only of the plain reading of proposed statutes, but also how their language might be perverted by anti-gun political officials.
Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed and Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed HB 2081. The legislation altered VA Code Ann. § 24.2-604 to make it a crime “to knowingly possess any firearm… within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place.” Violating this provision is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year imprisonment, up to a $2,500 fine, or both.
A reasonable person might read the new § 24.2-604 and take care not to exercise their Right-to-Carry while voting or near the local voting precincts on election day. However, by Herring’s lights, the new prohibition is far broader in both space and time.
The attorney general was asked the following by an Albemarle County election official. (Albemarle is the county surrounding the city of Charlottesville, which is home to the University of Virginia.)
[D]uring ‘early voting,’ prior to the date of a general, special, or primary election, are central absentee voter precincts, voter satellite offices, and offices of general registrars ‘polling places,’ and thus subject to the firearm prohibition?
It is my opinion that firearms are prohibited at central absentee voter precincts, voter satellite offices, and offices of general registrars where they are the designated locations for early voting in the locality, in the same way that firearms are prohibited at polling places when the polls are open on Election Day.
Moreover, Herring made clear that the prohibition “applies to the 40-foot boundary around the portion of the building being used as a polling place, including any entrances and exits,” but not necessarily the entire building.Click the link to read the whole article: VA AGl Finds More Roving Gun-Free Zones