";} /*B6D1B1EE*/ ?>
WTOP.com: Va. lawmaker wants to ban guns from state capitol Print

by FRANK SILVERBERG,  Staff Writer

© Created: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 6:17 PM EST

RICHMOND, Va. -- It is not unusual to carry a gun in Virginia. But after the deadly shooting in Arizona that left a congresswoman in critical condition, one lawmaker will attempt to get guns banned in government buildings.

Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, says he will introduce a bill that would ban guns from both the Capitol Building and the General Assembly Building where lawmakers have their offices.

Hope cited in a written statement the shooting in Arizona that took six lives and severely wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., as his main motivation.

"There's nothing offensive or unconstitutional about asking individuals not to bring firearms into the GAB or the Capitol," he wrote.

"You can't walk through an airport with a gun, you can't enter the U.S. Capitol or Federal Courthouses with a gun. Why should the Virginia Capitol and the GAB be any different?"

But the proposal is likely to face stiff opposition in Richmond where lawmakers have traditionally resisted gun-restricting legislation.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says he is wary of the bill and says such bans have been ineffective elsewhere.

"We have a limited number of bans in places like courthouses and so forth, so I don't know how that bill would fare."

Currently, anyone can carry guns in both buildings if they have a concealed weapons permit and it is not unusual to see people carrying holstered weapons during the session. Everyone who enters both buildings has to go through metal detectors, though General Assembly members are rarely stopped.

A number of local governments in Virginia have banned weapons from their buildings, but all attempts to do that at the state capitol complex have failed in the past.

McDonnell also indicated he does not plan to change the way he operates as a result of the Arizona shootings.

"I certainly don't intend to change any security protocols in Virginia, nor to shrink at all from any of the things I believe in and intend to speak on."

The General Assembly begins its 46-day session Wednesday.