Guns and other dangerous weapons will be allowed on the grounds and parking lots of Reagan National and Dulles International airports in the Washington, D.C., area, reports the Washington Post. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board unanimously agreed yesterday to permit passengers and other airport visitors to carry guns, knives, and other weapons as long as they keep them out of terminals and other buildings that access airfields. Passengers who are taking guns with them on flights will be allowed to carry them into the terminal but must make arrangements with airlines in advance. The policy change came after pressure from a Virginia gun rights group whose members have worn firearms on their hips in public places to make their case.
Officials made the changes, effective Dec. 1, because the rules did not enhance security and because they unfairly affected gun owners who might unknowingly break the law. The airport issue was the latest battles in Virginia over where guns ought to be allowed. Gun owners have created a stir by openly carrying sidearms into restaurants to generate support, though opponents say the tactic scares customers. Thirty gun-toting residents walked into a Falls Church council meeting last week to protest a policy that asked city workers to call 911 if anyone carrying a gun came onto city property. Virginia requires permits for people to carry concealed weapons, but openly displayed guns are allowed.