I’m not sure if Del. Jack Reid, a Republican from Richmond, fears for his life in the General Assembly, or if he’s trying to make a point; perhaps it’s time for others to fear for their lives in the General Assembly. Reid carries a handgun when in the building. A building which is protected by security guards who x-ray every bag and run every person through a metal detector. Security guards who ask entrants where they’re going, half to be helpful and half to keep tabs on things.
This morning, at 9:15am, Reid accidentally fired his handgun within the General Assembly building. For the Post, Mike Shear writes:
A Virginia lawmaker accidentally discharged a handgun in his General Assembly office Thursday morning, firing a bullet into a bulletproof vest that was hanging on the wall of his office. No one was hurt.
[Sen. Jack] Reid said he has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon and regularly brings his gun to the legislative session. But he said he usually ejects the cartridge that holds the gun’s bullets and carries that separately in his pocket.
As he was doing that Thursday morning at about 9:15, he said, the gun went off. At that time, the nine-story General Assembly building was filled with lawmakers conducting committee meetings and lobbyists, citizens and reporters.
Reid, a former school principal in Henrico County outside of Richmond, said he was given a bulletproof vest several years ago “as a joke” by the Henrico police. “That absorbed it. It did not breach the office in any way,” he said.
And this is why nobody ought to be carrying handguns into the General Assembly. This seems like common sense to me. That we’d need to spell it out is astounding to me. Handgun deaths don’t come from shooting the bad guys — they come from accidental discharges, like this. Dozens of guys are paid to carry guns and keep others from carrying guns into the state capitol. Either Del. Reid is very paranoid or he’s very foolish. What he certainly is is extraordinarily lucky. He easily could have killed somebody with these cowboy antics.
I think Del. Reid was on to something with his 2005 HB 2741 — “Populated areas; prohibits shooting of arrows from bows.” If it’s dangerous to shoot an arrow in a populated area, it must be a great deal more dangerous to shoot a gun in the middle of a crowded capitol building. I have to wonder what punishment Del. Reid would suggest for somebody who accidentally discharges a handgun in a government building.