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WMAL News: VA Delegate Intros Bill to Ban Guns from State Capitol Print

by AMANDA GAINES, Staff Writer

© Created: Sunday, January 16, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A delegate from northern Virginia will introduce legislation to the General Assembly to ban guns from the state Capitol in the wake of the deadly shootings in Arizona last week.

"You can't go into an airport with a gun, you can't go into the United States Capitol with a gun, and you can't go into a federal courthouse with a gun. Why should the Virginia General Assembly and our Capitol be any different?" Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) told 630 WMAL News.

Current law allows permit-holders to carry firearms the General Assembly Building (GAB) and the Virginia state Capitol. Hope's bill will require those with permits to check their weapons when entering the buildings and allow them to reclaim the firearm when leaving.

"In my first term, I rode an elevator with an individual that had a gun strapped to their leg," Hope told WMAL. "It made me very uncomfortable; very much surprised me that this was the law."

If Hope's bill is passed, carrying a firearm will not become a criminal act in the commonwealth but only lawmakers with a permit to carry such a weapon will be allowed to have them in the GAB and the state Capitol.

"This day and age and what we've seen out in Tucson with the tragedy out there, it's time that we reexamine and take a look at our safety measures and security measures, and make sure that everyone who visits our facilities are safe," Hope said.

"We're not going to be able to stop every threat out there. But the ones that we think that we can stop, we certainly should do so. And we should've done this a long time ago," he added.

The 2011 General Assembly session starts Wednesday.