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Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) President Philip Van Cleave sent me the following email blast:

As I reported a few days ago, the Richmond City libraries had a policy on their web site claiming that all concealed weapons were illegal under state law. (That, of course, has never been true.) Upon contacting the person in charge, I was told the policy on the web was wrong and had mistakenly not been updated to match their current policy.  She said they were going to fix the wording . . .

I explained that the entire item about guns should simply be removed, since the library has absolutely no control over whether a person lawfully carrying a firearm enters the library or not. The only thing such a policy would do is confuse and discourage citizens from carrying in a library. The purpose of government is not to “trick” citizens into giving up rights that government employees might not agree with.

She said the new wording, “Carrying concealed weapons is prohibited, except as permitted by law” was approved by the City Attorney. I said that while that wording was LEGAL, it is still reprehensible to use it.

I waited to see what the library was going to do. If they removed all mention of firearms, I figured we’d be done. If they didn’t, then we would need to educate gun owners in central Virginia, much as we did with a protest picnic out in Roanoke County a few weeks. ago.

Well, they “fixed” the wording, but did not remove it.

It’s time for a protest!


As I see it, they are discouraging CONCEALED carry in the library with their confusing policy. So, I guess they want everyone to OPEN carry. So be it.

Let’s have a “read-in,” where we all show up at the main library and enjoy reading some books for an hour or two. A big turnout as always is a plus, so bring friends, family, and kids!

I expect media coverage of the event.FIVE gun owners sitting at a table reading books is not going to be as impressive as FIFTY doing so.

I plan to call the Richmond Police Department to give them the courtesy of a heads-up on our upcoming lawful assembly.

The protest is important so that we can get the word out to gun owners that carrying a gun in a library is perfectly legal, either openly with or without a CHP or concealed with a CHP.


Time & date: Wednesday, August 15th, from 5 PM to 7 PM
Richmond Public Library, Main Branch
101 East Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219

If you plan on attending, respond to this alert [email [email protected]] and let me know so I can get a head count.

Let’s roll!

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  1. it was done in ca and those nice democrats in sac voted a new law to make open carry illegal. nice that they’re looking out for our best interests. nice donkies, they’ve earned a rest, time to put them out to pasture.

  2. Virginia ain’t California. Right now we have the most gun-friendly Attorney General since the Unpleasantries Between the States, and even the Democrats in the General Assembly boast pro-gun credentials. There will not be an open-carry ban (in the near future) here. This sounds like the work of a lone librarian thinking s/he can make a difference. That person doesn’t know Philip Van Cleave. Google him. There’s not a better person to have rebutted the panic over guns after Virginia Tech.

    • That’s like telling a 21 year old girl that it is okay to get drunk at home, but don’t get drunk at a frat house, because that could really go bad. How about just “Use Alcohol Responsibly all the time.”

      Regardless of venue, actions should be undertaken responsibly.

      • I didn’t say it couldn’t happen here. Virginians threw their lot in with a gun-grabbing Pres in 2008, so it could certainly happen at any time. Vigilance is the price blah blah… My point was that we are not California — for the moment. Every year at the opening of the General Assembly session, the VCDL stages a huge open carry demo at the State Capitol — scary “assault weapons” and all. The fact that it always falls on MLK Day doesn’t faze them. They get bad-mouthed by the press, but that’s about it. Compared to that event, this protest is small potatoes. I hear what you are saying about being responsible with our First Amendment rights, but I think the VCDL knows where the line is. In Virginia, that line is still far away.

    • I know nothing about Philip Van Cleave, but I’ll gladly trade Gerry Brown, Kamala Harris, and Debra Bowen for him – sight unseen.

  3. Maybe these guys can get open carry rights taken away in VA like their cousins in CA did.

    How about focusing on educating gun owners in regard to the legality of the sign?

    JWM, you are aware that the reason OC got taken away in CA was because of the “activists” with their video cameras and confrontational open carry antics, right??

    • I thought OC was banned by California because their government wants to ban all civilian ownership of firearms, not because citizens were exercising a right.

      Whats the point of having a right if you can’t use it, or are afraid people will see you using it and want to take it away? Live free or die don’t.

        • Unloaded OC was allowed until this year… so, I could carry an unloaded gun from my house to my car and place it in a lock box, for example… that got taken away in direct response to the assclowns who walked about with openly carried unloaded guns and video-taped their contentious interactions with cops.

    • Rob, you’re 100x the gun guy I am, but I have to disagree with you on this one. That’s like saying a company shouldn’t hire a woman because she’ll get harassed. Right is right, and the OC guys in California were in the right. I don’t like OC, “Piss Christ” and Daniel Tosh, but them being asshats (real or perceived) does not diminish their rights. I’m standing with them.

  4. Open carry in a library to protest your ignorance of the english language is moronic. Just like your ignorance of the responsibility taken by lawful law abiding citizens who understand the right to carry. Your open carry stance is wreckless and careless and feeds the liberal medias perception of gun owners. Grow up.

    • For someone commenting about the “ignorance of the English language”, you should probably proof-read.

      It’s “reckless”.


  5. Take a lesson from the guys who sold those used guns to Chicago and bought ammo with it for the kid’s camp. Various groups and organizations frequently post their group information, news, notices, and ads on the library bulletin boards. Approval is usually needed first. My idea would be to create a nice decent poster within the rules for posting and then seek permission to post it there at the library. Perhaps an open or cc spokesperson or a pro2A group would like to request the libraries facilities to educate and inform others about the 2A. If they refuse then take it to the next level. Play their own game and win.

  6. I have to add I am for open and concealed carry. But the flaunting of the open carry crowd is injurious to gun owners. Especially at this time after the shooting in Wisconsin. Lets not give the gun grabbers any more reason. My God people we have more gun rights now than we ever have had across the whole US. Lets not screw that up because you “feel” you have the right. The old addage “out of sight, out of mind” does mean something.

  7. I don’t necessarily believe in open carry from a tactical perspective, and it sounds like they might be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but if it’s legal then let ’em. The only thing necessary for a citizen to exercise a right is the existence of the right itself. People get to say some very stupid things but that’s the first amendment at work. If people want to lawfully and peaceably assemble while OCing to protest, who are you to say no?

  8. Kudos to you guys for standing up to these idiots, but I will bet that the library finds a reason to be “closed” on that day.

    • Perhaps a better event then a “protest” would be to have a Gun Law Education Seminar at the library, open to the public, to teach CORRECT application of firearms law in VA.

      • ^^^ That makes Sense. Assembly and Free Speech, without the bravado of the “I’m carrying a gun because I can!” crowd.

        Carry a Gun to Defend Yourself of Others…. not as a political statement.


  9. In the past, gun owners have properly protested those laws and practices that were unconstitutional or illegal. We rightly worked to change laws, pass new laws to protect our rights, and called attention to those entities who refused to obey those laws.

    This is different. A small but vocal group of citizens wants to “protest” not that which is illegal or unconstitutional, but rather something they simply don’t LIKE. They’re going to do something inflammatory to push their weight around and show their displeasure over a sign that they admit is perfectly legal.

    How is this consistent with our past? It’s not, and therein lies the problem. This is different than a boycott of a business which doesn’t want gun owners’ patronage; this is blatant intimidation with a firearm, and that’s wrong.

    • “This is different. A small but vocal group of citizens wants to “protest” not that which is illegal or unconstitutional, but rather something they simply don’t LIKE”

      So you’re saying, what the VCDL is doing is not illegal or unconstitutional, but you don’t agree with it because its something you don’t LIKE?

      • No, I disagree with it because it’s illogical, counter-productive, and intellectually dishonest.

        Trying to construct a parallel between engaging in a dubious activity and expressing a reasoned opinion shows a lack of understanding of the issues and concepts involved.

        • Agreed, the wording the Richmond City libraries has chosen is dubious, and intellectually dishonest.

          You’ve said that in the past gun owners have worked to change laws they don’t agree with. For the VCDL, the law is on their side, and they’re exercising their right and doing it within the law.

          Why do you have a problem with law abiding citizens, doing law abiding things?

  10. No, I disagree with it because it’s illogical, counter-productive, and intellectually dishonest.

    Trying to construct a parallel between engaging in a dubious activity and expressing an opinion shows a lack of understanding of the issues involved.

  11. Can anyone help me out and post the actual verbiage that this guy is so upset about ??

    He says that the language isn’t clear enough as he sees it. Maybe this guy doesn’t read well. He does admit that the “fixed” the language… so, I am having a hard time seeing past this guy/group just LOOKING for a confrontation.


    • Rob Pincus: His issue is that while the new wording is legally correct, it’s completely unnecessary and potentially confusing, which is why he wanted it removed, not amended. “Carrying concealed weapons is prohibited, except as permitted by law” is true virtually everywhere. You could put that on a street sign on every corner in Virginia, and it would be no less legally correct, but it would be unnecessary and potentially confusing. If I saw that sign on the door, it would make me rethink my carrying in there for at least a moment. The reaction would be along the lines of, “Did I miss ‘public library’ on the list of prohibited places?” Luckily, I could (and would) whip out my smart phone and look up the statutes to be sure, but other people might just change their mind about visiting the library that day, in an effort to not accidentally run afoul of the law.

      His issue with the verbiage is that it exists at all.

      Edit to add: This is even more true for me, because I live in Florida, but I have friends in Virginia whom I visit fairly often. I realize it’s my responsibility to know the laws in the places I visit, but if I was there and saw that sign, it would definitely give me pause and make me wonder if I missed something in my pre-trip research.

  12. Thanks… Yes, it is the responsibility of the person to know the law.

    One could also make the argument that, because many gun owners (especially those from out of state) might assume that it was illegal to carry at the library, the statement on the website was letting them know that there ARE legal ways to carry a gun there!

    One more point of clarification, are we literally talking about “signs”… people keep bringing them up, but all I saw was this guy pissed off about a website.

    While the verbiage may be confusing and pointless, I still don’t understand why a protest is necessary. It seems awfully petty to me. Let’s get a bunch of guys with guns together to protest the clarity of a LIBRARY WEBSITE. Tough Patriots risking it all for our RKBA …. not so much.
    It’s a two hour drive to Washington, DC… if they really want to stand up for the RKBA seems like they could find a better way to really protest and really by activists.


    • Rob Pincus: You’re correct, the text of the article said it was about the website. I don’t know if there are signs with similar wording, perhaps not. In a way, the website problem is better, because if I’m reading that, I’m already on the internet and in a position to confirm it. A sign at the door is more of a hassle.


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