It may have been cool this week but Saturday people in Craig County will be packing heat.

The county is holding event encouraging people to carry guns openly.

Many in Craig County are proud gun owners and say the event is about enjoying their rights.
While some in the New Castle area aren't on board with the event, others say the event is a positive thing.

Phillip Spence owns The Emporium along Craig County's quiet Main Street. He hopes it will be packed with people openly packing; guns that is.

"Firearms are a part of life in Craig and it also happens to be rifle season for deer hunting so with our tourism department every third Saturday of the month we've been putting together something called Main Street Days."

In Virginia, carrying a weapon openly is legal in most places. But this weekend's first open carry day isn't just a way to draw people to the rural town.

"It's a right that everybody has already and anyone that wants to exercise that right on that day, is welcome," Spence told WBDJ7.

And those rights are part of the heritage of Craig County. Even for people like, Holly Wadey who don't own firearms.

"This is a gun culture, particularly in rural areas so if you're not comfortable with it you're probably out of luck."

Spence says he hopes people will see this event more as a possible boost to the local economy and not as a political statement.

"This is really not a gun event. It's more about bringing people into New Castle to encourage local business."

He hopes the event will also be educational, information, and dispel common stereotypes associated with gun ownership.

Craig County has one of the highest concealed carry rates in the state. It also has one of the lowest crime rates. The community hopes events like these will encourage open conversation about guns and gun safety.