Gilbert calls for concealed guns without permits

Todd Gilbert

Gun owners in Virginia should be able to carry concealed handguns without a permit, Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, says.

Gilbert made his comments in the aftermath of the Edinburg Town Council’s decision to update the wording of the ordinance governing the carrying of concealed handguns. The council amended the decades old ordinance to reflect a provision in the newer, superseding state law, which requires permit renewal after five years.

Gilbert said afterward he would like to do away entirely with permits for concealed handguns. Law abiding individuals should not require the government’s permission to protect themselves, Gilbert said.

Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming already allow anyone eligible to own a handgun to carry it concealed into places not listed as off limits by law. Missouri will join the states not requiring a permit on Jan. 1. Contrary to the warnings of gun control advocates, the absence of permits for concealed handguns in those states has not led to a surge in firearm-related mayhem, Gilbert said.

“We’re just talking about whether you need a permit issued by the government to carry a firearm in a legal fashion,” Gilbert said.

The House of Delegates approved such a measure earlier this year, but it fell one vote short in the Senate. Gilbert said he hopes to see the proposal resurrected in the General Assembly. But Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, usually a staunch proponent of gun control, stands as a formidable obstacle, even if the lawmakers approve of concealed carry without a permit.

“I don’t have a bill drafted, but I would like to see the change made,” Gilbert said, adding that supporters will have to wait for the election of a more pro-gun ownership governor in 2017 or later.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or