Welcome to the schizophrenic state of Virginia. Last week a teacher at the high school my daughter attends, Westfield High School, brought a loaded gun to school. No he didn’t actually bring it in the school. He brought it on school property and kept it in his locked car. The teacher, Timothy D. Fudd, now faces up to five years in prison for his offense.
Please understand I am not actually in favor of bringing any kind of gun on school property. But this is Virginia, after all. We’re a gun crazy state. Here in Virginia it is perfectly legal to carry a concealed weapon (except, apparently, on school property) or even wear side arms openly in public in places like restaurants. Want to play Wild West and strap some loaded pistols to your waist and bring them into your friendly neighborhood Hooters? Not a problem in the Old Dominion. It’s completely legal. You may get more than a few odd stares and people may gravitate toward tables on the other side of the restaurant. Because, fortunately, this is not an every day occurrence. But it’s quite legal.
As I noted in a previous entry, it’s also perfectly legal to bring your gun to teenage recreation centers in Virginia too. And that’s why I have a problem with Mr. Fudd’s prosecution. Timothy D. Fudd could have packed a couple pistols and brought them into his local teen center and it would have been completely legal. Indeed, the NRA would have cheered him on for exercising the important second amendment rights that they spent so much time battling Fairfax County to win. At this point I figured guns were allowed everywhere in this state. I figured you could put them in your nightstand next to your hospital bed and the nurse was not allowed to complain. But apparently you cannot bring them on school property. Go figure.
I’m trying to figure out what passes for logic here. Is the worry that a loaded gun in a school parking lot might encourage a student to break into the car? Might the student then use the weapon to cause some mayhem? Certainly it is a risk but why worry about it? I mean guns don’t kill people, people kill people. If we were to worry that this might encourage kids might do this on school property then we might as well also start worrying that adults might do the same thing. In fact adults do do the same thing in neighborhoods across the country, resulting in about thirty thousand gun related homicides a year.
Virginia bends over backwards to accommodate the gun lobby. This spring alone we passed fifteen new gun laws, more than any other state in the country and all of them pleased the NRA. Some examples: people who already have a concealed weapons permit are no longer subject to the one gun a month purchase limitation. Woo hoo! Ditto for gun collectors: take them home by the truckload from your “private sale”. Our legislature says go for it! Also, people who live in other states that allow concealed weapons are welcome to bring them in and conceal them in Virginia too. The more the merrier.
So now poor Timothy D. Fudd may spend five years in a Virginia prison for bringing a loaded weapon on school property. He went the extra mile by locking the darn thing in his car. Surely he can be forgiven if he pleads ignorance. In this state gun ownership, possession and display is encouraged. Maybe he just got confused. Perhaps he was at his local teen recreation wearing his perfectly legal and loaded pistols strapped to his waist. Perhaps while he was there he was encouraging teens to join him at a nearby rifle range to learn about exercising their second amendment rights. Since guns can be worn openly or concealed in teen recreation centers, why should there be a problem leaving a loaded gun in a locked car in a school parking lot?
I honestly don’t understand why the NRA is not helping with this man’s legal defense. Mr. Fudd is African American after all, and this is an important community that needs to be encouraged to exercise their second amendment rights.
But most shocking off all: this occurred only ten miles from the NRA National Headquarters. Where is the outrage?