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Are the Open Carry activists breaking the law?

10/02/2014 9:15 AM by

A reader who has been following the story points out that the recent open carry walks may have been violating laws regarding fire arms and schools.

On both their first walk down Broad Street at the end of August and more recent walk to Creighton, the openly armed activists from The Right to Bear Arms each time passed within 1,000 feet of several area schools. On both occasions, alarmed residents called the police out to intervene.

The armed presence of the activists at these locations may have been a felony.

The NRA describes the relevant portion of Virginia law as such:

“It is unlawful to carry any firearm at any time in any elementary, junior high, or high school, or on such school property or discharge a firearm on school grounds or within 1,000 feet of school property, except as part of the curriculum or other school-sponsored program of any organization permitted by the school. Firearms may be possessed in a vehicle if unloaded and locked in a closed container or vehicle trunk.”

The applicable section of the actual Code of Virginia (as far as I can tell) is not as cut&dry, but leaves room for this interpretation:

§ 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

The group has another walk planned for this Saturday morning, from Clay and 33rd to the perimeter of Creighton Court.

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Schools and the area within 1,000 feet

Schools and the area within 1,000 feet, including Creighton Court

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Schools and the area within 1,000 feet

Schools and the area within 1,000 feet, including East Broad Street


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