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Just in Time for NRA Annual Meeting, Georgia Now Recognizes Virginia CHP

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 09:09
The state of Georgia has posted on it's web site that they now recognize Virginia's concealed handgun permit.  Because Virginia only issues permits to individuals 21 and older and only recognizes the permits of those 21 years-old and older, Georgia had refused to recognize the Virginia permit.  Georgia issues permits to individuals 18-21 if they can provide proof of basic training completion or that they have been honorably discharged from the military.  A legislative fix for this situation was attempted in the Virginia General Assembly this year but Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed the legislation.  In the end, Georgia has relented and now recognizes the Virginia permit.

You can find more information about Georgia requirements for those with out-of-state permits at the Attorney General's web site: https://law.georgia.gov/firearm-information

If you are planning to attend the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Atlanta next weekend, this decision comes just in time for your trip.
Categories: News

Guest Post: Defensive Gun Use - Self-Defense and the Rule of Law

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 10:58
By Bruce Lawlor
One talks about how often people use firearms in self-defense at great peril. It is a name your poison debate. The studies are all over the place, ranging from a low of between 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year1 to a high of 4.7 million incidents per year.2  Both sides of the gun control argument cite the need for self-defense, or the lack thereof, in support of their respective positions, and both sides twist the numbers to mean what they want them to mean. Mark Twain was right. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.3

Still, the studies provide some insight into the exercise of self-defense if one is willing to accept the research’s unsettled state. Except for true believers in the anti- and pro- gun crowds, few people think the number of defensive gun incidents each year is as low as 55,000 or as high as 4.7 million. In this discussion, it's best to avoid focusing on a specific number and just accept Mark Twain's admonition, unless you like spending countless hours wading through false assumptions, questionable extrapolations, and card-stacking conclusions in search of agenda based opinions.

A good place to look for trends versus numerical certainty is a paper published in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence.” An Obama Administration initiative, the paper surveyed the current literature and highlighted areas where its authors felt more research would be valuable. It was pretty much what one would expect from a federal agency advocating for more money, but some of its findings contradicted the administration’s preferred narrative about gun violence. The departure from Obama orthodoxy brought praise from proponents of the 2d Amendment, and criticism from gun control advocates. In fairness, had the report's findings been just the opposite, that is, supportive of the administration's view, the only difference in the praise and criticism would have been its originators. Such is the gun control debate.

The CDC's paper found that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”4  It also found that people who use firearms to protect themselves had lower injury rates then “victims who used other self-protective strategies.”5 These two findings are relevant to the law of self-defense because, even if the lowest estimate of defensive gun use is accepted as the right one, a lot of Americans are using firearms to protect themselves from danger every year. Moreover, the paper seems to say that for those inclined to fight back, firearms are the most effective means to avoid or reduce injury.

Couple these findings with the fact that four of every ten U.S. households has a gun, and sixty-three percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the house makes it a safer place6, and it underscores the need for people to better understand how the law treats self-defense shootings. The rule of law exists to control behavior, but it also exists to protect ordinary people from the arbitrary abuse of power by those who are simply powerful, including those who would use unlawful force to threaten their lives and well-being. Regardless of the exact number, people in the United States use firearms to defend themselves thousands and thousands of times each year, and we need to do a better job of helping them to understand what the law says they can and cannot do.

(Bruce Lawlor is the author of a new book When Deadly Force is Involved.  In the book Lawlor explains the legal concepts that have become duty to retreat, castle doctrine and stand your ground.)
1 David Hemenway, Survey Research and Self Defense Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates, 87J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 1430 (1997).
2 Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms", NIJ Research in Brief, May 1997.
3 Mark Twain, "Lies," http://www.twainquotes.com/Lies.html
4 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies, Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm Related Violence, (Washington, D.C.: The National Acadamies Press, 2013) p. 15, https://www.nap.edu/read/18319/chapter/3#15
5 Ibid, p. 16.
6 Justin McCarthy, "More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer," GallupNovember 7, 2014, http://www.gallup.com/poll/179213/six-americans-say-guns-homes-safer.aspx
Categories: News

New Quinnipiac University Poll Addresses Gun Issues in Virginia

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 21:46
WTVR CBS 6 reports that a new Quinnipiac University poll shows that a substantial number of respondents support background checks for all gun buyers and reinstatement of handgun rationing:
The poll found that 94 to 5 percent, of voters, including 90 to 8 percent among Republicans, want the background checks.

Voters also support 62 to 32 percent a Virginia law, repealed in 2012, which limited a person to buying only one handgun per month, as opposed to current law which has no limit on handgun purchases.

Republicans oppose the limit 57 to 39 percent.

White men are divided, with 46 percent supporting the limit and 50 percent opposed. Every other listed party, gender, educational, age and racial group supports the limit on handgun purchases.

Virginia voter attitudes on other gun issues, according to the poll, are:
  • Support 54 – 41 percent stricter gun laws in the state;
  • 49 percent say it’s too easy to buy a gun in Virginia, while 2 percent say it’s too difficult and 38 percent say it’s “about right;”
  • Voters say 66 – 23 percent that new gun laws will not interfere with the right to own guns;
  • If more people carried guns, Virginia would be less safe, 53 percent of voters say, while 35 percent say it would be safer.
“Many observers have commented about how much Virginia has changed politically from its deep red history to a leaning Democratic hue in little more than a decade,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“They generally cite the Democrats’ ability to carry the state in the most recent presidential, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. But what also seems to be lining up in the Democratic column is Virginia voters’ values on some hot-button issues.”When I see polls about back ground checks, I always want to see the actual question that was asked.  In this case, there was no additional information given, just a generic question:
31. Do you support or oppose requiring background checks for all gun buyers?Given the actual question, I'm not surprised the number is so high.  It would be interesting to see where those numbers would fall if the poll had given some background before asking the question.  Knowing that so-called "universal" background checks barely got 51% support in Nevada last election and failed to pass in Maine, being informed on exactly what "background checks for all gun buyers" entails makes a big difference.  The same could be said for the question about stricter gun laws.  It was a one line question with no context.  Nothing was said about Virginia having crime rates that are at all time lows.  So, exactly what did those polls think stricter laws would accomplish?

The poll does indicate some important trends however.  Several years ago, VSSA members heard then Delegate and VSSA member Bill Janis at a VSSA Annual Meeting, discuss the changing demographics of the Commonwealth and what that would mean for our firearm freedoms going forward.  The trends on the "hot-button issues" that were part of this poll, including gun control, seem to confirm what Janis predicted at that meeting - that we need to come to grips that Virginia will change and we need to change with it.  Our parent organization, the NRA, has already moved in that direction by adding faces like National and World Champion Shooter Julie Golob,  Latino shooter Gabby Franco, and Colion Noir, a black pro-rights activist, to the faces spreading the NRA message.  We need to go beyond the "old white-guy" if we are going to preserve our freedoms.

I'll be on NRATV.com at 3:40 today talking about the poll with Cam Edwards of NRANews' Cam and Company.

Categories: News

When Deadly Force is Involved

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 21:43
There is a new book by Major General (Ret.) Bruce Lawlor titled: When Deadly Force is Involved: A look at the legal side of Stand Your Ground, Duty to Retreat and other questions of Self Defense.  He shared pre-publication portions of the book with VSSA Board Members earlier this year and now that the book is out, John Caile of USCCA has done a review.  From Caile's review:
“[This book] describes a legal framework for thinking about self-defense that is applicable everywhere. It doesn’t focus on the laws of any one state, nor does it compare the laws of one state with those of another.”

This is where Mr. Lawlor’s approach is especially effective. Most self-defense writers spend time dissecting particular court rulings with their arcane and often confusing legal jargon. In addition, too often the results of one case are used to predict that a defendant in a different but similar case will “surely be acquitted” (or just as surely “convicted”).

Instead, Mr. Lawlor creates intriguing fictional “composite” cases, drawn from his considerable experience, each of which highlights a particular aspect of self-defense law (provocation, imminent harm, reasonableness of fear, retreat, etc.), as well as covering how laws such as “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground” are interpreted by judges and juries.

This approach allows the author to use his excellent storytelling skills to, like a good novelist, create much deeper and more complex images of the various participants involved. We get to know them intimately, their histories, their views, even their emotions. We know not just what they did, but what they were thinking when they did it. This makes the cases more memorable, and the legal realities we are likely to face that much easier to understand.Lawlor is currently the Director of the Center for Technology, Security, and Public Policy at Virginia Tech. When he met with the VSSA Board, he was asked why he wrote a book about self-defense, a subject usually thought of as being about guns. He explained, “While I confess to being pro 2nd Amendment, that is not what made me write the book. Rather it came from thinking about homeland security, and about the individual’s responsibility for his or her own protection.”

The book takes on each element of the use of deadly force and explains what happens after a person uses deadly force to avoid being killed or seriously injured. It is based on actual shootings. There are fifteen chapters that discuss the major legal issues that surface in virtually every self-defense case. Each chapter describes a different shooting incident, how the authorities handled it, and most importantly, why it was decided the way it was. When Deadly Force is Involved provides a practical working knowledge of how the law of self-defense works, removing some of the mystery that surrounds what appears to be a hodgepodge of statutes and court decisions.

Lawlor was also interviewed earlier today by NRATV's Cam Edwards.  He spoke about why he wrote the book and the approach he took.
Categories: News

This is What Successful Activism Look Likes

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 13:42
Iowa gun owners have a lot to cheer about today as Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 517, an omnibus firearms reform bill that passed in this year's session of the Iowa legislature.  This important piece of information would not have been possible without Meredith and Natalie Gibson, two young ladies who are competitive 3 gun shooters who found out that they were not legally allowed to shoot handguns in their home state.
The Gibson Family at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings and ExhibitsOnce they found out about the law, Meredith and Natalie worked to change it.  The only problem was there was a state senator named Steve Sodders who would not let firearm reforms out of his committee.  That's when these two young ladies made it their mission to defeat him in the 2016 election.  On election night, he became former State Senator Steve Sodders.

Meredith Door Knocking
Photo from BearingArms.comThanks to their hard work, Governor Terry Branstad signed the bill today that now allows Iowa youth to shoot handguns under adult supervision as well as:
...pre-empt local ordinances restricting gun rights; create a uniform permit to carry weapons; provide for five-year permits to acquire handguns rather than single-year permits and immediately create confidentiality for those with permits; legalize short-barreled rifles and shotguns; and allow those with permits to carry handguns in the Iowa Capitol and other public buildings.VSSA congratulates our sister organization and especially Meredith and Natalie on their hard work.  This is what successful activism looks like.
Categories: News

Elections Have Consequences - Four USDOJ Appointees That Could Positively Affect Firearm Freedom

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 10:41
Via TheTrace.org:
Jesse Panuccio, the third-highest ranking official at the Department of Justice, has argued to allow firearms sales to people under age 21 and in defense of a Florida law that prohibited doctors from asking patients if they owned guns.

Noel Francisco, Donald Trump’s nominee for solicitor general, has described the Second Amendment as “a structural protection that’s intended to protect all other rights.”

And Tom Wheeler, now a senior lawyer in the DOJ’s civil rights division, once gave a speech with the title: “Arming Teachers to Prevent Tragedies, Responding to Sandy Hook.”

These three attorneys are among two dozen appointees that the Trump administration is known to have tapped for top Justice Department posts as part of “beachhead teams.” Taking a cue from ProPublica, which disclosed many of the names, we examined the gun-rights records of some the newly installed officials at the department.

Most of the DOJ appointees whose backgrounds The Trace reviewed had neither clear ties to the gun lobby or the firearms industry, nor had they publicly staked out strong positions on gun issues. But these three lawyers — plus a fourth, Brett Talley, appointed to the Office of Legal Policy — bring pro-gun views to a federal agency that has significant sway over national firearms laws and regulations.There is a saying among policy makers that personnel = policy.  People with an anti-rights view are likely to propose and implement anti-rights policy.  With folks like the above mentioned at USDOJ, this past election could have very positive consequences for gun owners in the next four years.
Categories: News

Gun Ban Lobby Hopes Grammatical Error Dooms Georgia Campus Carry Bill

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 08:47
I'll admit I don't know how the Georgia legislature works but reading this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via TheTrace.org), if it were Virginia, it would be an easy fix for a Governor who wants to sign this bill:
The problem, Turkheimer writes, is the missing comma after the word offices. He continues:

Without that comma, it’s just two clauses both modifying “offices or rooms.” This reading becomes even more persuasive when you consider that both of these area exceptions, if they were meant to be separate, could, and perhaps should, have been put into different clauses. That’s how “Move on When Ready” and career academies were handled in the same bill. So unless faculty offices are also rooms where “disciplinary hearings are conducted”, they would NOT be exempted. Let’s just ignore whether these rooms are off-limits only when they are being used for disciplinary hearings or whether they are off-limits from carrying at all times because sometimes they host disciplinary meetings (makes less sense, but that’s what the bill says).In Virginia, the governor would simply send down an amendment to add the comma.  I guess we will see if Governor Deal uses the missing comma as an excuse to veto the bill, ahead of the NRA Annual Meeting that will take place in Atlanta, or, if he is allowed to send the bill back with a simple amendment, takes the opportunity to add Georgia as the latest state to approve campus carry.
Categories: News

General Assembly Veto Session Wrap-up

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:51
Photo by Richmond Times-DispatchThough it is disappointing, it is not completely unexpected that Governor McAuliffe's vetoes of several firearm related bills were upheld, as attempts in both the House and Senate fell one or more votes short of an override.  Here is how the Virginian Pilot described it:
At veto ceremonies, Gov. Terry McAuliffe often calls himself the “brick wall” against what he calls bad bills delivered by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

GOP lawmakers didn’t have enough sledgehammers to break down that wall Wednesday during a one-day session in which lawmakers handled budget amendments and addressed the governor’s vetoes.

And now, McAuliffe is the most successful brick wall in Virginia history – 111-0 in vetoes.

That’s 21 more vetoes in an administration than Gov. Jim Gilmore’s 90 in the late 1990s.

McAuliffe also takes the single-year record with 40, beating Gilmore’s 37 vetoes in 1998.Votes were largely along party lines on the 40 vetoed bills, but some Democrats did join with Republicans in a few votes.  The one bright spot was McAuliffe's attempt to reinstate handgun rationing failed.  Unfortunately, the underlying bill, SB1023 will likely be vetoed now that the substitute was returned as being unconstitutional.  Governor McAuliffe said after all of the firearm bill vetoes were upheld:
“We blocked bills that would have injected firearms into volatile domestic violence situations, making victims less safe, not more. Others would have created an unwarranted expansion of persons allowed to carry concealed handguns, including service-members considered by the military as unqualified to bear arms to be issued a concealed carry permit.

“While we successfully stopped legislation that would have threatened the safety of Virginians, I am disappointed that the General Assembly did not reinstate Virginia’s One-Handgun-a-Month law. The legislature’s ill-advised step to repeal this common-sense policy has made Virginia a go-to state for criminals to purchase weapons in bulk again. You needn’t look further than the 627-count gun-trafficking indictment earlier this month that included 22 Virginians. One of those suspects even bragged on a police wiretap about how easy it was to acquire guns in Virginia. By preventing the reenactment of this rule, Republicans have ensured the Commonwealth will continue a negligent approach to preventing gun crime.”The Second Amendment related bills that were vetoed are:

HB1432/SB1347 Switchblade knife; exception to carry concealed.
HB1582/SB1362 Concealed handgun permits; age requirement for persons on active military duty.
HB1852/SB1299 Concealed handguns; protective orders.
HB1853/SB1300 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course.

SB1023, a bill that limited the sharing of concealed handgun permit holder information with states that do not have reciprocity with Virginia, was amended in the nature of a substitute to reinstate handgun rationing and was an effective veto as McAuliffe knew it was not going to be approved.  Because the State Senate ruled the change to the originating bill was unconstitutional, it now goes back to the Governor where he will likely veto the underlying bill.  McAuliffe has previously vetoed similar legislation.

Yesterday illustrates how important it is that gun owners band together to elect a pro-gun governor this year.  We have passed a number of pro-rights bills in the last four years only to see them vetoed by McAuliffe.  Now is the time to elect a pro-rights Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General so that we can go on offense in the next General Assembly and pass into law the bills that McAuliffe has vetoed, as well as pass other pro-rights legislation.
Categories: News

Unintentional Firearms Deaths Fall to New Lows While Sales Reached New Highs

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 12:12
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has the story here:
Good news on the topic of fatal firearms accidents. The National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts—2017 Edition ” shows that the number of fatal firearms accidents dropped 17 percent from 2014 to 2015 to 489, the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1903. That’s about three-tenths of 1 percent of the 146,571 total accidental deaths from all other listed causes, which are up 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. It should be noted that the decrease, which was the largest percentage decline of any category, came in a year that saw record firearms sales to many millions of Americans.More evidence, as NSSF states in their post, that gun owners are responsible when storing their firearms.  It's also due to efforts of firearm safety training and programs like NSSF's Project ChildSafe.

NSSF recently released a new public safety announcement from their Bureau of Justice Assistance funded Project ChildSafe Communities initiative, Safety is a Habit.  The numbers prove for gun owners, it's a true statement.

Categories: News

McAuliffe Substitutes Handgun Rationing for SB1023 CHP Privacy

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:36
Photo by Richmond Times-DispatchIn the final day to act on 2017 legislation, Governor Terry McAuliffe sent back an amendment in the nature of a substitute to SB 1023, Senator Richard Stuart's bill to protect the privacy of Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holders when they are traveling in states that do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia.  The Richmond Times Dispatch has more:
In a statement announcing the proposal, McAuliffe, a Democrat, cited a 627-count indictment that charged 22 Virginians with running more than 200 guns bought in Virginia north to New York and selling them to an undercover officer. One of the suspects was overheard on wiretaps mocking Virginia’s gun laws, saying he could buy as many guns as he wanted.

McAuliffe said in a statement: “One-handgun-a-month was enacted almost a quarter century ago to counter Virginia’s shameful reputation as the gun-running capital of the East Coast. Five years ago, the General Assembly took the ill-advised step of repealing this commonsense limitation. As a result, Virginia is once again becoming the go-to state for criminals to purchase weapons in bulk.”

The governor’s proposal elevates the repealed law as a political issue in an election year, but it will likely face a hostile reception when the General Assembly reconvenes for the April 5 veto session.

McAuliffe is seeking to tack his amendment onto Senate Bill 1023, sponsored by Sen. Richard H. Stuart, R-Stafford. Stuart’s measure would bar sharing information regarding Virginia concealed-handgun permits with law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed-handgun permit as valid. The bill already passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

Stuart called it unfortunate Monday evening that he hadn’t seen the amendment. The governor’s office announced it late Monday afternoon.

“I also find it unfortunate that the governor chooses to place his priorities with New York City instead of the citizens of Virginia,” Stuart said in an email. “This bill was to protect Virginians that are in lawful possession of a firearm from being arrested by out-of-state jurisdictions that don’t give reciprocity to our concealed-carry permit. The bill very simply is designed to protect the people that are playing by the rules.”Delegate Todd Gilbert is correct that this is just a political stunt.  SB1023 passed by veto proof margins in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.  It is not clear those margins would have held had McAuliffe just vetoed the bill but he clearly wanted to try and continue to score political points off of the New York gun traffickers a couple weeks ago.  The amendment has little chance of succeeding.

I'll be on NRATV talking more about this with Cam Edwards of NRANews Cam and Company at 2:40 today.

Update: Yesterday's discussion with Cam Edwards:

Categories: News

Updated: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Important Self Defense Bills

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 14:52
Photo by Richmond Time-Dispatch*Note: This post has been updated below to reflect current status of the legislation after it was originally posted.

Update: Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed important self defense legislation.  The bills are:

HB1852/SB1299: Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders, Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. The bill provides that if the person issued the protective order applies for a concealed handgun permit during such 45-day period, such person will be authorized to carry a concealed handgun for an additional 45 days and be given a copy of the certified application, which shall serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit. 

HB1853/SB1300: Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course, Creates the Virginia Firearms Safety and Training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims Fund. The bill provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or family abuse. 

SB1362: Carrying concealed weapons; exemption for nonduty status military personnel. Provides that a member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or Armed Forces Reserves of the United States in a nonduty status may carry a concealed weapon wherever such member may travel in the Commonwealth, provided that such member is carrying his valid military identification card.

McAuliffe has until midnight Monday to act on the following bill:

SB1023: Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Prohibits sharing of information regarding Virginia concealed handgun permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill requires the Department of State Police to maintain and publish online a list of states that recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill does not create a private cause of action.

The Governor has previously vetoed bills similar to HB1853/SB1299, and SB1023.  You can contact the Governor's office and urge him to sign SB1023 at 804-786-2211 or by email by clicking here.  
Categories: News

VSSA Shooters in Florida Highpower Competition

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:37
Two VSSA high power rifle shooters competed in the Orange Blossom Regional earlier this month in Malabar, Florida.
VSSA High Power Chairman Mike Jamison shot with member Jon Howell in the 2 man team match, and they won!  Mike also shot with Brad Sutherland in the 4 man team match, which they also won!  Steve Weast shot with the Bridgeville Delaware 4 man team, and they took second place in their class.
Congratulations guys!

Categories: News

RTD's A. Barton Hinkle Explains What's Wrong With Gun Rationing

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:51
It didn't take long after it was reported that 22 Virginia residents were involved in a firearm trafficking scheme and arrested by New York City authorities for people like Governor Terry McAuliffe to call for the reinstatement of handgun rationing:

Last week, the Richmond Time-Dispatch opinion writer A. Barton Hinkle had a column titled "Maybe it's time for gun owners and Muslim advocates to join hands."  Hinkle combined two issues into one to make the case that throwing a wide net to deal with bad people often negatively impact the majority who don't do bad things more than it impacts those who do.  On the gun issue, I found this to be a strong argument in response to Governor McAuliffe:A few things about the story bear noting: Two of the ringleaders are violent convicts. Some of the bulk firearm sales were effected through straw purchases, which are illegal. And shipping the guns up to New York also is illegal. That is, after all, why authorities were able to bring charges in the first place.

This should chasten gun-control advocates, since it shows that the system works: Guns were seized and bad guys charged, and a successful operation makes an odd basis on which to build a case for even more restrictions. But the outcome also should chasten gun-control opponents, since laws against gun-running and straw purchases are part of gun control. Not every attempt at gun control is an abject failure.

Yet a bigger point needs drawing out. The trouble with the one-gun-a-month law is that it truncates the rights of all Virginians, in order to thwart the designs of a minuscule minority who want to run guns to New York. To the ordinary gun owner in Virginia, who follows the law and leaves other people alone unless they mess with him first, it must seem brutally unfair to restrict his right to keep and bear arms because of something somebody else did, or might do in the future.Current laws worked.  Law enforcement caught a lot of bad actors.  And, they did so without the rest of us having to have our rights infringed.
Categories: News

Kendall Rhodes Receives Award from Amateur Trapshooting Association

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 09:15
On Saturday March 18, 2017, Kendall Rhodes received an award from the Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship (AIM) Program, the official youth program of the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA). The award was for earning first place in the 2016 Junior Class Trapshooting Competition (age 15-17) for the Virginia AIM/ATA target year. Trapshooting is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shooting shotguns at clay targets).
The award was received from Billy Wood, Virginia State AIM Program Director. It was presented to Kendall by Jon Yagla, Shotgun Chairman of the Northern Virginia Gun Club (NVGC), King George County, VA at their March Meeting. The award was a beautiful personalized Leather Gun Bag.

In the 2016 season, Kendall shot in AIM/ATA approved matches at the NVGC and The Virginia Trapshooting Association (VTA) Homegrounds, Winchester Gun Club, Stephenson, VA. Her NVGC mentors were Jon Yagla and Richard Dodson, longtime ATA Competition Shooters. Kendall is currently working part time and attending Germanna Community College.
Categories: News

Gabriella Hoffman: Let Victims of Domestic Violence Conceal Carry in Virginia

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:47
Gabriella Hoffman, a conservative blogger and media strategist, wrote in Monday's Richmond Times Dispatch that Governor Terry McAuliffe should sign two bills currently sitting on his desk, HB1852 and SB1299, which would allow victims of domestic violence to carry a concealed firearm without a permit for 45 days.  If they apply for a concealed handgun permit during that time, they would get an additional 45 days from the date of the application.
Two bills sitting on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk — House Bill 1852 and Senate Bill 1299 — would make it easier for victims of domestic abuse to protect themselves. If signed into law, these bills would allow anyone seeking a protective order to temporarily carry a concealed handgun without a permit. Virginia already allows law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm openly without a permit. The bill would protect a woman from criminal prosecution if she placed her handgun in her purse or under a jacket. It just makes sense.

In Virginia, a person seeking to carry a concealed handgun must get a state-issued permit. The process requires submitting an application to your local circuit court, paying a $50 fee and consenting to a background check. Under Virginia law, the state has up to 45 days to process a CHP application. That waiting period is often too long for victims of domestic abuse.

In March 2014 a 43-year-old mother of five in Loudoun County, Michelle Castillo, was found murdered in her home, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband. Last April, a Leesburg mother of three, Christina Fisher, was shot to death at her home, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. Last November in Big Stone Gap, 38-year-old Janina Jefferson was allegedly murdered by her ex-husband. What do these three cases have in common? The murdered women each had a restraining order against the men who allegedly killed them. All three women might be alive today if they had been able to protect themselves with a concealed handgun.Last year, McAuliffe vetoed similar legislation saying:
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 626, which provides that for a period of 45 days after the issuance of a protective order, the person who has issued the order may lawfully carry a concealed handgun. This bill eliminates the application and training requirements associated with concealed handgun permits and allows petitioners to carry a concealed handgun immediately upon the issuance of any protective order.That bill allowed any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm under state or federal law and is protected by a protective order for 45 days after such order was issued or until such order expires or is otherwise dissolved by the issuing court, whichever occurs first. If the individual applied for a concealed carry permit during that time, the exemption would be extended for an additional 45 days until the application was processed.  So, McAuliffe is presuming that everyone that may take advantage of the statute would just get a gun and not be trained in how to protect themselves.  Remember that even a hunter safety course qualifies someone in Virginia to apply for a CHP so McAuliffe is on thin ice on the training issue.

In his veto message, McAuliffe also referenced the compromise that restored the reciprocity/recognition agreements with 25 states which had been ended by Attorney General Mark Herring in December of 2015.  Part of that agreement included legislation that required abusers that were subject to a protective order to get rid of their firearms (to date 28 firearms have been turned over to law enforcement) as a reason SB626 would be unnecessary, as if someone bent on doing harm is going to comply with the law.

Gun owners need to contact the Governor's office and urge him to sign both HB1852 and SB1299.
Categories: News

Even Bloomberg's "The Trace" Understands Falling Gun Sales Represent a "New Normal"

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:05
They say even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then and that must also mean that even Bloomberg's mouthpiece "The Trace" can read background check data and see that lower background checks still means that more people are buying guns than three years ago.
As we pointed out yesterday, the FBI is out with its gun background check data for February — the first full month since the NRA-friendly administration of President Donald Trump took office. On first pass, the numbers, which are the most commonly-cited proxy for gun sales, suggest that the firearms industry has settled into what some analysts are calling a "Trump slump." ( Or, if you prefer, "Trump trough.") While Barack Obama was in the White House and Hillary Clinton was campaigning for it, exaggerated fears of strict new regulations sent some gun fans rushing to stores to stock up while they still could. Now that the fever has broken, demand is slipping: The total number of checks completed by NICS fell to 2.2 million last month, from 2.6 million in February 2016. It’s the third month in a row to end with a year-over-year dip.

But a dive into historical background check stats shows that the gun business is hardly in a freefall. The recent numbers are low only when compared to the unprecedented stretch that lasted from May 2015 through November 2016, during which new monthly background check records were set 18 months in a row. Yes, February 2017 was down, but not by that much: The FBI still processed more background checks last month than in any month before the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012.The Trace pointed to Ruger CEO Michael Fifer's response to questions from Business Insider for the industry's perspective on the numbers:
"I think we've kind of seen the story before where you'll get a big politically-driven spike: they tend to be fairly short and they're followed by an offsetting decline in demand for a while, and then everything's returned to what I would call normal. You've got the same factors driving interest. You've got more concealed carry in more states. You've got more new shooters coming along. You've got – generally, it's more socially acceptable to admit to your friends that you actually like guns and enjoy having them, and by the way, come look at the newest one I just bought, let me show it to you.

All that stuff drives demand. And in some municipalities, you have the cops backing off. They're being seen by the media too often as the enemy. And so, they're backing off, and crime rates in those cities are soaring to the roof. Those people could care less who's President. They want to defend themselves.

So, all of those drivers come back, so every time you have a really tiny spike or some political reason, it's usually offset. I think we could be observing that now. And then it returns to normal. And I don't think any of the other reasons have changed, so I doubt that the new normal will be materially lower than where we were going before.

It appears to me, if you look over multiple years, that there's wider acceptance of guns, wider availability. There's more exciting, new products from all the competitors, not just Ruger. There's more reasons to have guns now than ever before. And so, I'm not going to read too much into the current situation."Looking at those background check numbers, you get a picture of what the "new normal" is:
It's all about changing with the market, and it appears that is what the industry is doing.  NSSF has even offered suggestions for dealing with the new times in what will be a four-part series "From the Counter" where they talk with retailers to get a sense of how they are dealing with the new environment.

Just a little anecdotal evidence, I was purchasing a new handgun last month and there were six other people doing the same on the week night evening I was doing so, two were a husband and wife and both purchased a handgun.  The guy behind the counter said he could not believe how many people had been in on a Wednesday night to buy a gun.
Categories: News

Last Chance to Get Friends of NRA Gun Raffle Calendar

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:27
The Friends of NRA 2017 Gun Raffle Calendar is still available for sale but this is your last chance to purchase a calendar that gives you the opportunity to be entered in a raffle for a gun every week between now and February 2018.
No calendars will be sold after March 31.  Click the image above to purchase a calendar.

Categories: News

HotAir.com: Brady Gun Shop Law Suit Sets Dangerous Precedent

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:46
VSSA's Executive Director sent this article to me earlier today about a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Brady Campaign against a gun shop in Missouri that sold a firearm to a woman whose mother had warned should not be allowed to buy a gun.  Jazz Shaw writes while the situation is a tragedy,  it's a dangerous precedent that may create a template for future suits:
As with most liberal causes, the Brady campaign is seeking to exploit the tragedy experienced by this family for their own benefit. We see the same tactics used in the debate over illegal immigration, where liberal groups find the most heart wrenching example of a child being separated from their parent in an attempt to pluck at the sensitivities of voters. The case of Ms. Weathers is indeed a tragedy which should be a call for action, but not the sort which the Brady campaign is seeking.

Something went desperately wrong in Janet Delana’s family, but it wasn’t the fault of the gun shop. As the article documents, Colby Sue was not some marginal character with a few questionable incidents on her record. She had, by the family’s own admission, been in and out of mental hospitals on numerous occasions and demonstrated worrisome if not outright dangerous behavior. This is clearly not the sort of person who should be purchasing firearms. But whose responsibility is it? Colby Sue had people who cared about her and were clearly worried about both her safety and the safety of others. How is it then that this young woman was not brought before a court and adjudicated as mentally unbalanced? Even more to the point, she obviously was not receiving all the treatment that she needed to deal with her psychosis. Shaw links back to the Washington Post article that tells the complete story of what unfolded leading up to this tragedy.  The gun shop, likely on the advice of their attorney and their liability insurance carrier settled the suit before it went to trial.  It is one of the rare successes for Brady in such cases.   Shaw points out what the real problem was in this case:
The case of Colby Sue Weathers does highlight a problem, but it’s the fact that mental health services in this country are still woefully inadequate and the families of mentally ill persons need access to a lot more education and resources when dealing with their afflicted family members. The result of this lawsuit will unfortunately open the door to all sorts of additional mischief on the part of gun grabbers. Using this case as precedent, all they need to do is find out when someone is thinking of making a gun purchase and begin calling around to gun shops and making false claims that the person is “crazy.” This will put business owners in a quandary where they have no good options left while doing nothing to help the mentally ill who are truly in need of assistance.
Categories: News

Putting Those Reports of Colt Layoffs in Perspective

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:10
You may have seen posts on several firearm blogs late last week about Colt laying off staff at several company facilities.  Today, Mark Keefe adds some perspective to the stories at NRA American Rifleman:
It probably should've happened a while ago. News started leaking out last week that there have been layoffs at Colt’s Manufacturing Co. in West Hartford, Conn. Like many other companies that ramped up when demand was high over the past few years, Colt has been laying off employees, reportedly at least 10 percent of the workforce over the first quarter of this year—and Colt isn’t alone in that.

And many assumed the sky was falling for an entire industry. Well, Chicken Little, put your Big Bird pants on and remain calm. First of all, the Colt Custom Shop has not been closed. It’s under new management. We’ll get to that in minute.

Of course, there is less demand for the principal product manufactured by Colt’s. And that is the M4/AR platform. I say “less demand,” but what I really mean is less frenzied, artificially inflated demand caused by activist anti-gun presidential candidates and an Oval Office hostile to the rights of law-abiding Americans who own firearms. Interest in the semi-automatic AR platform is likely higher than ever, but there is little in the way of external political forces motivating buyers to pick one up today.

I just received an excerpt from my friend Steve Fjestad—he owns the Blue Book of Gun Values and is in the process of completing the 38th Edition—in which he lists the hundreds and hundreds of makers of the AR platform. That's a pretty crowded market. There is a race to the bottom with ARs retailing for less than $500, and as one Colt official told me, “We can’t and shouldn’t compete in that space. That’s not what Colt does.” That's good, because Colt simply cannot.We are likely going to see a lot of changes in the industry as the market continues to settle down in a "less frenzied" environment.  The antis are going to make much of this but it should be expected without the constant attacks we endured from the Obama administration the last four years.
Categories: News

Vote for Ginny Thrasher - Semi-Finalist for the AAU Sullivan Top Amateur Athlete in America Award

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 08:30
Virginian Ginny Thrasher is a semi-finalist for the AAU Sullivan Award recognizing the top amateur athlete in America. Thrasher, a 19-year-old NCAA national champion and member of VSSA affiliated Arlington/Fairfax IWLA (AFCIWLA), represented the U.S. in Rio, earning the country's first gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in the 10m air rifle. She defeated her veteran opponent in the finals by a full point, a wide margin in perhaps the Games' most precise sport. Thrasher is a West Springfield High School grad, currently attending WVU, and a prodigy from the early days of the AFCIWLA Sills Air Range. Her mom Valerie is an air rifle coach and her dad Roger is the Sills Air Range manager.
The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the AAU Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country.

World-renowned golfer Robert “Bobby” Jones received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973), University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) and Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (2014) have also earned the prestigious honor.

Vote now for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award. You can vote once every 24 hours.

Ginny Thrasher: https://aausullivan.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/1/details/121
Categories: News