Ban open carry

9/22/2017, 11:13 p.m.

That must stop.

If nothing else, the violence and mayhem in Charlottesville and the scenes from Richmond’s rally show us the fallacy that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms should have no limits.

Those who brought semiautomatic weapons, pistols and other weapons to Charlottesville, and those who packed guns at the Richmond rally, were not engaged in protecting themselves or their homes, nor were they making a statement of nonviolence. They were carrying weapons to intimidate — both the police and the counterprotesters who deigned to show up.

At the police barricades in Richmond, officers took from rally participants any coolers, signs, posts or other items that potentially could be used as weapons at the volatile rally site. Yet, people with rifles slung over their shoulders and sidearms visible on waistbands were allowed on through.

There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

As has been said, public terror is not protected by the Constitution.

We call for a ban on the open carry of firearms in Virginia. And we ask Richmonders and people across the commonwealth to join us in advocating for such a ban to the governor and state lawmakers. 

Without a prohibition, the open intimidation of firearms we saw in Charlottesville and Richmond will continue.

Open carry laws inhibit free speech. The Tennessee neo-Confederates publicly advertised that they would be bringing their weapons to the Richmond rally. We believe their successful threat of intimidation kept many people silent and away from Monument Avenue.

We cannot let the neo-Confederates, white supremacists, other extremists and hate groups intimidate us any longer. We must stand up and fight back, creating a law to protect us.

The next election is Tuesday, Nov. 7. We need to support the candidates who support us.