Showing posts with label Virginia State Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia State Parks. Show all posts

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Missing Teens Vehicle Located

Two Maryland teenagers have been missing for ten days and the search for the teens now has ties to the Valley.

Rachel Reilly, 16, of Olney, MD and Nicholas Balderson,17, of Brookeville, MD have been missing since January 12.

Virginia State Police found a 1989 black Jeep Wrangler that the two were last seen riding in at a rest stop in Augusta County on Friday.

The Jeep was abandoned at the rest stop near exit 231 along I-81.

The State Police have stored the vehicle and spoke with rest stop attendants who told them the Jeep pulled in on Thursday.

Montgomery County police detectives in Maryland have taken over the investigation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gov. Bob McDonnell Ends Ban On Guns In State Parks

Gov. Bob McDonnell has ordered an immediate end to a ban on firearms carried openly in Virginia state parks.

The Republican governor ordered Conservation and Recreation Department Director David Johnson to stop enforcing the ban in a letter sent Friday.

McDonnell also gave initial approval to another administrative change allowing firearms to be carried openly in state forests.

Concealed handgun permit holders were already free to carry firearms. The right to openly carry guns is widely recognized across Virginia.

In his letter, McDonnell wrote that the department lacks authority under state law to prohibit firearms being carried in plain view.

McDonnell said it was clear that the General Assembly never intended to restrict firearms in parks. "Lacking specific legislative authorization to further regulate firearms, the Department of Conservation and Recreation can not promulgate a regulation that does so," he wrote.

The ban was put in place by McDonnell's predecessor, former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said J. Tucker Martin, McDonnell's chief spokesman.

"These regulations ... would simply allow law-abiding Virginians who legally own a firearm to exercise the same rights in a Virginia state forest or state park that they already possess while elsewhere in the commonwealth," Martin said.

In his letter to Johnson, McDonnell cites an opinion he wrote as attorney general on Sept. 26, 2008, answering an inquiry from then-Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican who is now attorney general.

In the opinion, McDonnell told Cuccinelli that although state laws don't explicitly permit weapons carried openly in parks, nothing in the law prohibits it, either.

Gun control advocate Lori Haas, whose daughter survived a gunshot in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, said it was bad for public safety and for tourism.

"You really think we're going to get tourists to Virginia parks if people are carrying firearms everywhere," Haas said. "Who would want to be camping in a state park if the person in the next campsite is carrying an AK-47?"