Exercising our Right in Virginia

As I promised a couple of days ago, yesterday I traveled (with a buddy) from my home in Vienna VA west along Route 66, south on Route 15, and then south along Route 29, past Warrenton, to Opal VA, where, beside Route 29, there is a bit of a landmark called Clark Bros Guns. I went there to peruse their stock of handguns. Anecdotally, I have heard that gun sales have been brisk, there being some concern about Obama’s commitment to 2nd Amendment rights. I figured I better go look at some guns while I still had the chance.

Clarks Bros

Clarks Bros

I have been past Clark Brothers many times but never went in until yesterday. One of my best friends in high school moved, before our senior year, from Fairfax County down to Albemarle County, near Charlottesville. When visiting him and his family, I would take Route 29 south, going past Clark Brothers. When I was in college at Virginia Tech, I would sometimes drive to Northern Virginia via the “local” route that took me from Blacksburg to Roanoke, Lynchburg and Charlottesville, and by Clark Brothers.  I have attended some Virginia vs. Virginia Tech football games in Charlottesville, and have traveled past Clark Brothers each time. But never went in, until yesterday.

As we arrived at Clark Brothers, we heard the crack of gunfire at the range behind the main building. I had never heard the gunfire just driving by on 29. As we walked up to the front doors, a man and his daughter were exiting, apparently heading to the firing range judging by their safety glasses and hearing protection. I was struck by these two for a couple of reasons

  • The daughter was maybe 12 years old and I do not ordinarily think of shooting firearms as a common father-daughter activity. As a father to my young daughter, I hope that one day she will be interested in learning firearm safety and “gun control”.
  • The father and daughter looked to me as though they were probably from India. I mention this because I have not thought of the shooting sports as drawing diverse participation, at least here in Northern Virginia.

So I was happy to see this pair there at Clarks. But I was left to wonder whether the goings-on in Mumbai played at all into that father’s decision to go target shooting at Clarks on this particular day.

I have never been to any of the “gun shows” that are held near here many times each year. Until yesterday, my firearm purchases have been limited to competition grade shotguns. My wife and I have jokingly asked our friends to reconsider the contemporary gift of watches for the 15th wedding anniversary and instead consider exchanging shotguns, as we did for our 15th.

Our shotguns were purchased in Maryland, and I was able to take them from the store – as a Virginia resident – after an “instant” background check. But I was not expecting to be able to take my Sig Sauer P226 handgun home from Clark Brothers without some waiting period. That shows how much I know. In Virginia, licensed and registered firearms dealers perform a criminal history record information (CHRI) check for Virginia residents against the Virginia State Police’s Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE).

It was



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