Pro-gun organization plans a 'read-in' at Richmond Public Library's main branch
By: Kristen Green | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: August 15, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. --
A Virginia pro-gun organization is planning a "read-in" at the Richmond Public Library's main branch today to protest the wording of the library's gun rule.
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League Inc., said he plans to wear a gun to the event.
Van Cleave said he reached out to the library last week after learning that the library's posted rules said "carrying concealed weapons of any type is prohibited by State Law." He informed the library that the language was incorrect and asked that the library delete references to guns altogether.
The library has since changed the wording of its rule to read "carrying concealed weapons is prohibited, except as permitted by law." But Van Cleave's organization isn't satisfied.
"We believe that it's intentionally confusing, that they wanted something that would cause the ordinary person not to be able to understand the rules," said Cleave, a concealed permit holder who wears a gun almost everywhere he goes. "They're discouraging people who might otherwise lawfully carry a concealed handgun."
Gun owners can legally carry their weapons into libraries, as well as local government buildings, parks and grocery stores.
The library referred calls for comment to Tammy D. Hawley, press secretary for Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Hawley said the wording the library used was approved by the city attorney.
"It is in compliance with the law," she said. "We don't find the wording confusing." [PVC: Who is "we?" The City Attorneys? Of course an attorney would understand. But how about the police or a regular citizen?]
She said she would expect that members of VCDL know what the law is. [PVC: What about non-VCDL members?]
Andrew Goddard, president of The Virginia Center for Public Safety, said he found it interesting that VCDL is pushing for new language when gun owners are already allowed to carry their weapons into the library. [PVC: We are NOT pushing for new language. We are pushing to have the existing language REMOVED.]
"They need to have it spelled out in some obscure website somewhere in language that they like," Goddard said. [PVC: The language we like is NO language at all.]
He said he would like to see libraries be gun free because they are filled with people who may be intimidated by guns, such as mothers with young children. He said he doesn't think that gun owners' rights to carry their guns should infringe on others. [PVC: Some of those carrying, Andrew, are going to be mothers with young children! ;-) ]
But Van Cleave said a gun owner who leaves his weapon at home when he goes to the library could be putting his or her life at risk.
"If something bad happens, that person could end up being killed when they could have saved their lives," he said.
He complained that it's not government's role to discourage people from carrying weapons.
"Those are our servants," he said. "They're not to put up confusing things to strip away our rights or make us think we don't have rights when we actually do."