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Victory For Law Abiding Gun Owners In Virginia

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Attorney General Jerry Kilgore Asserts Department Exceeded Authority in Banning Concealed Handguns in State Parks

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association today praised the important official advisory opinion released by Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. In response to a request by Delegate Richard H. Black requesting a legal evaluation of the actions by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in issuing a regulation prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns by holders of valid right-to-carry permits within state parks, A.G. Jerry Kilgore opined that the department exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the directive.

NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox lauded the opinion. “Jerry Kilgore has reinforced the rights of law abiding conceal-carry permit holders in the Commonwealth of Virginia. State departments ought not to unilaterally act without the authority of the Legislature and Governor. Many permit holders carry guns to protect themselves and their loved ones. No one is less immune to criminal attack just because they’re on state property, whether it is a state park or a rest stop. Jerry Kilgore understands that,” Cox stated.

In discussions, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore pointed out that in light of the Virginia General Assembly’s explicit statements regarding the limits of carrying concealed handguns, the Department may not infer authority to change those limits. In his opinion, he refers to the fact that the General Assembly had specifically set out places where carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited: places of worship, courthouses, schools, places licensed for on-premises alcohol beverage consumption, and such property as may be prohibited by the owner. Section 18.2-287.4 permits carrying concealed handguns in places where unconcealed carrying is prohibited.

“The Kilgore opinion responds to a question whether the authority to issue the specific regulation was granted to the Department by the General Assembly. The apparent answer to that question is no,” concluded Cox.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.