A long-standing ban on openly carrying guns in state parks is being lifted today, which means that visitors at Mason Neck State Park no longer have to conceal their firearms.
Concealed carry (with a permit) has been allowed for some time.
According to WTOP, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote a legal opinion on the matter in 2008 when he was the Virginia Attorney General. He argued that "the state Department of Conservation and Recreation doesn't have the authority to enforce a ban on openly carrying guns in parks."
Gov. Tim Kaine was in office at the time of the opinion and disagreed with McDonnell. “Through its explicit authority to maintain the safety of its parks and the power to prescribe rules ‘necessary and incidental’ to such authority, DCR has implicit authority to prohibit the open carrying of firearms,” he wrote in a 2009 letter to Joseph H. Maroon, then the director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, according to the Washington Times.
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