City Desk

Dear VRE: Thanks for Letting Us Bring Our Guns on the Train

Dear Virginia Railway Express Operations Board: I don't live in Virginia, and I don't take the VRE in to the District each day, but I sure wish I did, because of the enhanced service you have decided to offer: Riders can now carry firearms and concealed weapons on the train!

There are so many reasons this is a good idea – too many to list here. Mostly, it will make everyone who rides the train feel much safer. And despite what some may say, it's not really a problem that the firearm a District-bound Virginia resident boards with in, say, Quantico or Manassas cannot be carried legally in D.C. In fact – and I'm sure you've already thought of this – it's a potential revenue-maker for the state: Set up some kind of gun-checking station at the border, charge a few bucks for eight hours' worth of storage, and tack on a handling fee! Commuters will feel it's worth it to have their guns for a few stops, and they can conveniently pick them back up after a hard day's work.

NBC Washington reported that some members of your board were "less than thrilled with having to make the change" – as required by state law – "partially because many riders will run afoul of the differing rules across jurisdictions, but also because guns plus big crowds equals disaster."

For instance, Chris Zimmerman, an Arlington County supervisor, said, "I think encouraging people to bring guns onto loaded trains is a stupid idea."

That's short-sighted and silly. Bringing guns onto loaded trains is a good idea. Here's to hoping most commuters take advantage of the opportunity. We will all be better for it.

Comments? Ideas? I'm at eniedowski@washingtoncitypaper.com, and on Twitter.

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  • Liberty

    It's really not up to VRE. Virginia preemption laws prevent 'agencies' in VA from creating laws/regulations/rules which are in conflict with VA's existing firearm laws. They were simply taking an illegal (or unenforceable ) regulation off the books.

    Were VRE to go totally private, and source its own funding, they would be welcome to enact any and all regulations regarding firearms that they pleased. Perhaps they should up ticket prices and quit taking so much $$$ out of the pockets of VA tax payers?

    ---

    § 15.2-915. Control of firearms; applicability to authorities and local governmental agencies.

    A. No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, shall not be construed to provide express authorization.

    Nothing in this section shall prohibit a locality from adopting workplace rules relating to terms and conditions of employment of the workforce. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101 from acting within the scope of his duties.

    The provisions of this section applicable to a locality shall also apply to any authority or to a local governmental entity, including a department or agency, but not including any local or regional jail or juvenile detention facility.

    B. Any local ordinance, resolution or motion adopted prior to the effective date of this act governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, other than those expressly authorized by statute, is invalid.

    (1987, c. 629, § 15.1-29.15; 1988, c. 392; 1997, cc. 550, 587; 2002, c. 484; 2003, c. 943; 2004, cc. 837, 923.)

  • http://whyihatedc.blogspot.com Dave

    Gotta agree with the dude above me. While the sarcasm is moderately appreciated, I don't really see why this is even really newsworthy. Should we OMGZ stop the presses because it's legal to carry on the Metro in Virginia? Because it is.

    I'm guessing there will be about 2 people who actually carry a concealed weapon on the VRE. I'd be curious as to why, exactly, carrying a concealed weapon on a train is a bad idea. Why is it any worse of an idea than carrying it in a crowded movie theatre or just in a crowd on the sidewalk.

    I don't get all the hubub.

  • Bing Bing Bing

    Since you asked, this is why a weapon on the train is a bad idea:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/08/nyregion/gunman-kills-5-on-lirr-train-19-are-wounded.html

  • http://whyihatedc.blogspot.com Dave

    @Bing Bing Bing,

    Yes, the gunman was clearly stopped by the fact that guns were illegal on the LIRR.

    People who ask for the VRE to make it legal to carry their weapons (for which they have permits) are not the ones we need to worry about.

  • Liberty

    Bing Bing Bing - Good point. Had it been legal, a gun carrying, law abiding citizen might have been on hand to stop the senseless killing.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/local/crime/article/SHOT121_20090711-230802/279571/

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Can you take samurai swords on the MARC?

  • http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum60/ TFred

    @Bing Bing Bing, what is the truly bad idea is that a deranged lunatic was allowed to leisurely board and ride a train, which was a government-mandated Gun Free, Sure Victim Zone, where he had free reign to casually walk up and down the aisle shooting defenseless, disarmed, innocent people at will. How the gun-control idiots can live with themselves, knowing that they deprive law abiding citizens of the means to defend themselves from such monsters is beyond what I will ever be able to understand. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Ferguson_(convict)

  • Typical DC BS

    Yep, look at all the mayhem being caused by law-abiding citizens carrying guns around on Metro. Typical idiotic comment by Chris Zimmerman of the People's Republic of Arlington. Maybe he forgets he lives in Virginia and his weeny ideas don't play in the rest of the Commonwealth.

  • http://irswagegarnishments.com Jon

    We dont need to allow more people to tote guns around. We need less guns. What if some old lady who thinks she's being threatened pulls out her gun, closes her eyes and shoots an innocent person? People, even the good law abiding citizens cannot be trusted to carry weapons like that around at any time. That is what we have the police for.

    What if you're having a bad day and someone harrasses you? Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend and you're really upset, get into an argument which leads to a fight. Gun comes out and someone is hurt. We as humans need to protect eachother from ourselves. A normal good person can turn into a murderer just because they're having a bad day.

    Just say YES to gun control.

  • dcdc

    Jon, think before you post. Lots of people are licensed to carry in Va. Please point to the last "little old lady" scenario that happened.

    This is why the anti-gun movement has failed. You cry "blood in the streets" at everything and undermine your cause.

  • Jacob

    @Jon
    Right, just like no one was shot in DC during the 35 year gun ban.

    I'm no NRA member (never owned a gun and do support reasonable restrictions like registration and background checks) but the simple fact is that blanket gun bans have been tried and they don't work. Even if fewer guns would lead to less crime (a questionable assertion at best) laws which can't be uniformly enforced and, in practice, result in limiting gun ownership to those who are willing to break the law have been repeatedly shown not to lower violent crime rates.

    When the Heller decision came down we heard the same dire blood in the streets, wild west style shootouts predictions we are hearing here yet now, over a year latter, there has not been a single incident of someone being shot with a handgun legally registered to a DC resident.

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