Guns welcomed in Virginia State Parks

Posted at 11:23 PM, May 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-03 14:22:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A trip to the park is a great escape for Richmond resident, Rebecca Clugston, but she tells CBS 6,  not anymore because some people will have their guns in tow.

“I think it would be great if they weren’t allowed in the parks”, says Clugston.

It’s too late for that because Governor Bob McDonnell is mandating that Virginians officially be allowed to openly carry their gun at any state park without question. McDonnell says the state has no authority to prohibit you from doing so.

“We have had no instances of people carrying guns or causing problems with guns", said Gary Waugh with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In fact, Waugh says they started to suspend enforcement of this gun ban last year after getting word from the Governor that it would officially be repealed this year and says safety hasn’t been compromised in any way and he attributes that to a heavy police presence.

Still some park-goers question the need for a gun in a state park.

“You never know when something is going to happen,”  says gun rights advocates, like Phillip Van Cleave. Van Cleave tells CBS6, it’s all about having protection no matter where you go.

"If you're out in a park, you may be isolated and a more attractive victim because no one is around to help you than you would if say you were in downtown Richmond” says Van Cleave.