Like many Americans, I have a concealed carry permit, issued by a Circuit Court in Virginia.
My weapon of choice when I choose to carry is a Glock 17, a large and accurate 9mm semi-automatic sidearm that is not easily hidden. It holds 17 rounds in the magazine and has another in the chamber whenever I carry.
In Virginia, like a growing number of states, I don’t need a CCP to carry a weapon openly. Virginia has Open Carry, which allows just about anyone without a felony conviction or a record of mental commitments to sport a weapon in public.
Why do I carry? Primarily because I can, under the law. I also support the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and believe in self defense.
Is a Glock 17 overkill as a self-defense weapon? Some might say so. I want an edge when it comes to protecting my family, although some might also say my wife doesn’t need protection. She also carries and is a dead shot.
Fortunately, I’ve never had to pull my weapon against another person in a civilian situation. I hope I never do.
Unfortunately, I see a number of people in public nowadays who strut like military wannabes with an AR-15 assault style rife slung over their shoulder. Too many states, Virginia included, have relaxed their laws to the point where people with no training can, and do, walk around with lethal armament.
Most jurisdictions in Virginia allow residents to take an online course to provide the only documentation they need when applying concealed for a carry permit. The open carry law allows people who have never touched a gun in their lives to purchase one legally and carry it out in the open.
No actual gun training, on a range or for use or safety, is required.
The veteran with service in Afghanistan owned his weapons legally and killed five police officers and wounded seven more in Dallas last week. The man who opened fire and killed 49 and wounded 53 more in an Orlando nightclub in June legally purchased his weapons. He had been the subject of an FBI inquiry and had expressed support for international terrorism.
Are laws strong enough to control those who have legal access to firearms?
Some might say no. Others say yes. The arguments are varied and sometimes contradictory. In Virginia, the state attorney general wanted to cancel reciprocal concealed carry agreements with states that allow individuals convicted of domestic abuse or sexual abuse to obtain a CCP. Virginia outlaws CCPs for such people. Other states do not. The Federal Government now prohibits gun purchases by those with domestic abuse records.
Last year, a candidate for sheriff in my home county publicly questioned whether or not I should be allowed to own or carry a firearm because I suffered TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in a motorcycle crash in 2012.
The Circuit Judge who signed my CCP renewal in December laughed about the statement by the candidate, who was motivated not by legality but by my writing about his actions in the campaign.
The retiring sheriff laughed too.
“Everyone here knows you were brain damaged long before your crash,” he said.
Brain damage like mine can restrict driving privileges in Virginia. A doctor can notify the Department of Motor Vehicle, which can and sometimes does, suspend drivers’ licenses of those who suffer TBI. I was not suspended.
I did contact the Chief Deputy of the sheriff’s department after I got out of the hospital and asked if my injury, which affects my memory, required a note or anything else from the neuro-surgeon who treated me.
“No,” he said. “People with brain damage may not be able to drive in Virginia but the state does not limit their ownership or use of a gun.”
Copyright © 2016 Capitol Hill Blue
(Updated with additional information and to correct calling a gun magazine a “clip.” That gave the gun brigade apoplexy. I have clips that feed magazines for some firearms. A Glock uses a magazine. Not enough coffee on the morning when this was originally written. Guess these folks never mistakenly used a reference. 🙂 )