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THE JULY 21 “CITY DESK” column alleged that Virginia was “the first state in the nation to authorize concealed weapons permits on a massive scale.” Your fact-checker must have been slacking off because at least 26 other states have enacted liberal concealed weapons laws similar to Virginia’s new law. In any case, the fact that Sheriff James Dunning (Alexandria’s own Barney Fife) used the new weapons law to justify the installation of metal detectors is merely proof that the sheriff’s hyplophobia (irrational fear of firearms) has overcome his common sense. It is common sense to use metal detectors in courthouse entrances because it will effectively deter criminals from carrying guns to court (police and gun-permit holders are not supposed to carry guns into the courthouse anyway). Washington City Paper should do a little fact checking before repeating Handgun Control Inc.-inspired nonsense.

Virginians of all ethnic backgrounds support the new nondiscriminatory concealed weapons law. On July 3, I went to Alexandria police headquarters to apply for my permit under the new law. The other applicants seemed to be fairly representative of the Alexandria community; of the eight applicants I saw, three were African-American. Two of my African-American neighbors told me that they had been rejected under the old law as having “no need” for a permit.

Unfortunately one local jurisdiction still seems bound and determined to discriminte against society’s least fortunte members. Arlington County is violating the new law by charging $120 for permits. The letter and spirit of of the law allow a maximum charge of $50. Apparently the political establishment in Arlington wants to make self-defense economically unfeasible for low-income citizens. The poorest members of our society are the very people most preyed upon by violent criminal predators—therefore, the Northern Virginia Civil Defense League is strongly opposed to Arlington’s fee inflation.

Now that Virginia has reformed its weapons law, Virginia will have an enhanced ability to defend themselves. Hopefully our family and friends in Maryland and D.C. will soon follow our lead and restore their rights.

Director, Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League, Alexandria, Va.