Gun-rights activists are angry at curators of George Washington’ Mount Vernon estate in Virginia after they banned firearms inside the historic tourist destination.
The pro-gun group The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) based in Newington is currently asking supporters to contact the administrators and urge them to reverse the ban.
VCDL President Phillip Van Cleave said in an interview with the Free Beacon that: “George Washington is most certainly turning in his grave now that his beloved Mount Vernon has turned into yet another dangerous ‘gun-free zone’ for all visitors. It amazes me how little some know about criminal or terrorist behavior. It is not in the nature of either to obey laws, much less somebody’s ‘policy’. This policy should be reversed as an anathema to the very rights which Washington fought to protect.”
The firearms ban started early this year, but it does not apply to law enforcement. Melissa Wood, director of media relations for the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, said that the armed security at the estate is enough to provide adequate safety for visitors. She said: “Mount Vernon employs a well-trained, armed security force that is dedicated to providing a safe environment for our guests. We do not provide secure gun lockers for the storage of firearms during your visit. All qualified law enforcement professionals are permitted to bring firearms on the estate.”
The association is also wary that armed citizens could cause “dangerous confusion” in case of an attack inside the estate. They argue that their decision to ban firearms from visitors inside the estate is anchored on their desire to limit risks to visitors themselves, and to decrease guest anxiety as well.