Wednesday, February 09, 2005
From 'sssshhh!' to 'bang!' in Virginia libraries
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- Move past our history of violence
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From the RoundTable blog
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Woodrum, a lawyer, formerly represented Roanoke
in the Virginia House of Delegates.
RICHMOND - General Assembly committees today killed two bills that would have permitted localities to prohibit the possession of firearms in public libraries. "If law-abiding citizens are disarmed in libraries, only the career criminals will be armed there," a National Rifle Association spokesman said. "Who guarantees the right of self protection then?"
BALLYHACK, Va. - The Librarians Protective Association today announced that it was sponsoring an amendment to the Virginia budget pending in the General Assembly for $750,000 to arm the state's public librarians.
"We believe that an armed librarian at the reference desk would tend to reduce or even eliminate annoying and repetitive requests for information," said Annie Duckworth, a spokesperson for the LPA. "A Glock, properly exhibited, tends to curtail superfluous inquiry."
She also noted that minor amendments to the concealed weapons law would permit the mounting of Smith & Wesson pistols under the circulation counter in order to more efficiently deal with the problem of overdue books and unpaid fines.
"The weapon can be mounted to fire through the book return portal, thereby obviating the need to exhibit the weapon and unnecessarily concern other patrons. Besides, we'll also be able to get the drop on almost everyone."
In Richmond, local authorities expressed hope that the "Arm Your Local Librarian" measures would also cut down on disputes involving the use of library facilities.
"The recent 'hissing match' between the Colonial Dames and the DAR about the use of the Library Community Room in Richmond's West End Branch was simply awful," a city official said on condition of anonymity. "The sounds of ripping taffeta and silk were horrid.
"A properly choked 12- or even 20-gauge would have cleared the hall quite nicely and have reduced the disturbance without our having to involve the Richmond police, who have enough on their plate at this time with a new mayor, the General Assembly and all those lobbyists in town."
Other officials noted evidence that the announcement of the measures had already produced positive results. "Reading rooms are quiet now," one said. "Real quiet."