Should concealed handguns be banned from Va. polling stations?

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA. (WUSA9) - Ripple effects from the 2007 shooting massacre at Virginia Tech is reaching Prince William County polling stations, as some Virginia officials worry that the escalating election could pose a voter security threat.

In Prince William County election officers were raising concern about Virginia's lax carry laws after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump insisted that the Clinton campaign was rigging the election and called on Trump supporters to "watch" others" at the voting booth.

RELATEDVirginia General Election Voter Guide 2016

There are already no-carry laws in place on school grounds, where about three-quarters of polling stations are. However, Keith A. Scarborough,  Prince William County's electoral board secretary, proposed a one-day ban on guns on private polling properties, such as churches and community centers, which don't follow no-carry laws. 

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) struck the idea down.

"I'm a little bit suspicious that this claim [that polling stations could be targeted] might be from Hillary's campaign to cast doubts on Donald Trump," Marshall told WUSA9. "I question the reason for making this claim at this point because there's no history of [poll intimidation] in Prince William."

Marshall, a second amendment defender, sent a letter to the Prince William County electoral board, opposing Scarborough's measure and said that General Registrar Michelle White said the ban "would not be pursued."

Scarborough could not be reached for comment.

However, growing security concerns at polling stations correlate with the escalating trend of people requesting absentee ballots. More than 263,000 absentee applications were collected in the state according to the Virginia Department of Elections, and an estimated 117,765 ballots have been submitted ahead of Nov. 8.

Yet Marshall, who proposed a house bill that would allow Virginia university professors with permits to carry concealed handguns on campus, said the spike in absentee ballots could be for reasons as mundane as heavy traffic leaving Northern Virginia.

So far, the majority of returned absentee ballots in Virginia--an estimated 41,415-- were from people who knew they would be going on vacation, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

 

 

 


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