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Will the Focus on Guns Hurt Democrats in Mid-terms

VSSA - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:15
A poll released last week seems to indicate that the extreme focus on guns has hurt Democrats as they seek to take control of the House and Senate in November's mid-term election.  The Washington Post has the story:
The poll finds that the gap between support for Democratic vs. Republican House candidates has dropped by more than half since the beginning of the year. At the same time, there has been a slight increase in President Trump’s approval rating, although it remains low. Measures of partisan enthusiasm paint a more mixed picture of the electorate in comparison with signs of Democratic intensity displayed in many recent special elections.

One potentially new factor in the mix of midterm issues is gun policy, which has emerged as a major voter consideration two months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. More than 4 in 10 registered voters say it is extremely important that ­candidates share their views on gun issues. Fewer voters say it is critical that candidates share their views on Trump or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), leaders who are most likely to be targets in partisan messaging this fall.According to the Post, white voters are responsible for closing the gap.
The survey shows the GOP making a more pronounced shift among white voters, who now prefer Republicans by a 14-point margin over Democrats, up from five points in January. Republicans lead by 60 percent to 31 percent among white voters without college degrees, slightly larger than an 18-point GOP advantage three months ago.Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned posed the rhetorical question "what issue could that demographic possibly care about that could account for this?"

The Post noted that the renewed gun-control debate is a "wild card" in the midterm election. Several polls have shown increased support for restrictions aimed at curbing violence involving firearms following February’s Parkland school shooting.  But as is usually the case, support for gun control jumps after events like Parkland, then subside.  The same is true this time as a new Gallup Poll shows that those mentioning gun control as the most important issue facing the country has dropped by over half in April.  Gun control however still continues to be one of the highest-ranked issues named by Americans -- ranking fourth behind dissatisfaction with government, immigration and race relations.

Seven months is an eternity in politics.  Much can change between now and November.  The best way to make sure that the gun ban lobby does not win in November is to get active for pro-rights candidates in this year's campaign.

Take a Woman Hunting Week

VSSA - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:01
From the National Wild Turkey Federation:
April 21-28, during the 2018 Virginia Spring Gobbler Season, The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is promoting our 3rd annual statewide “Take a Woman Hunting Week” with the purpose of encouraging hunters and mentors to introduce women to hunting and share our hunting heritage.

By registering for this event, both the mentor and the woman hunting will be entered into a drawing for a shotgun. In addition, the woman will receive her choice of a custom turkey box call to commemorate the hunt, or a Women in the Outdoors event t-shirt. Registration is limited to Virginia residents.  You can find more information about the event at the above link.

The Future of Deer Hunting in Virginia

VSSA - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:18
The Virginia Gazette has this article titled "Deer Hunting is Endangered."  The point of the article was lack of access will ultimately kill deer hunting in Virginia:
As autumn approaches, Ray Respress gets busy clearing paths, building tree stands and gathering gear for the upcoming deer hunting season. His routine is on hold this fall until his Flat Iron Hunt Club learns if it will have anyplace place to go.

"We don't have a contract on it to date," Respress said about the last James City tract of land that the hunt club can lease. Usually the yearly contract is firmed up by July. "We don't want to go in there and spend three or four days cutting trails and removing brush if we aren't going to have the land," he said.

The situation is a byproduct of growth, as landowners look to more tightly control their lands, often with an eye toward development. For various reasons, hunting has declined by 4% nationally in the past five years, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The tracts are drying up.

"We've lost them all," lamented Andy Priestley, owner of Headhunter's Headquarters in Toano, an official station for hunters to gauge their catch. He said at least 20 hunt clubs have disappeared in the past five years. He can count only five left in the county. His own club, Grove Kennel, disbanded seven years ago after losing its hunting tract in Stonehouse. Years ago most hunting agreements were verbal, between old friends. But as the original landowners died, the land often passed to their children, some of whom were less willing to honor the agreements.The article focused on hunt clubs but lack of land access for private hunters is also a problem.  The state's public wildlife management areas are not always a good option.  With localities ever growing hunger for tax revenue, more and more undeveloped land is being sold to developers.  There was a time when it was relatively easy for a hunter to gain access to prime private hunting land simply by asking.  Today, this is less and less the case.

In an article earlier this year, Outdoor Life addressed the nation's declining hunting numbers and pointed out the larger problem is demographics:
Hunting participation peaked in 1982, when nearly 17 million hunters purchased 28.3 million licenses. Hunter numbers have steadily declined since. We lost 2.2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016 alone, according to the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-­Associated Recreation, a report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2016, just 11.5 million people hunted. That’s less than 4 percent of the national population. Outdoor Life looked at the demographics of the hunting population.  They noted that baby boomers make up the largest portion of the nation's hunters, and that they have already begun to age out of the sport.  Outdoor Life went on to point out that in the next 15 years, most will stop buying licenses entirely, and when they do, the hunter ranks could plunge by 30 percent.  The major downside to this is that with a reduction in the number of hunting licenses purchased also brings with it a plunge in critical funding for wildlife management as well as hunting advocacy because those fees go directly to wildlife conservation and management. 

The Outdoor Life article goes on to discuss how to reverse the trend and discuss some models that work.  For those of us who enjoy hunting and want to see it continued for future generations,  the trends are not promising, but, the Outdoor Life article says we turn it around, if we change the way we recruit new hunters.

Washington Post Profile of Texas AR-15 Owner

VSSA - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:20
Sunday's Washington Post had this profile of Fabian Rodriguez, a Texas gun owner who just purchased his first AR-15.  Given it is the Post, the article has a few things to quibble with (noted below) but it mostly did not put Rodriquez in a bad light given how vociferously anti-gun the editorial page is on the subject.  The author, Abigail Hauslohner, did infer that people who purchase or own AR-15 are mostly people who support the military but didn't serve, and that owning an AR-15 allows them to connect with that service without serving.  This inference was reinforced by the former ATF agent turned gun control proponent, David Chipman, who now works for the Gabby Giffords gun ban group.  He told the author that owning an AR-15 was a way to "kind of act patriotic without having to do it."

For his part, Rodriquez represented the gun owning community well.  He has been a shooter since he was eight and purchased his first gun when he was 18.  He explained why he wanted an AR-15:
But this is a gun that Rodriguez has wanted for a couple of years now, a gun that he thinks has been unfairly maligned because of a few people’s bad actions, and a gun that he believes is his right to own. He’s here this weekend not because he worries about an imminent ban, but because he just sold his Mustang and finally has the cash.

Rodriguez is among the sprawling population of American gun enthusiasts who own or aspire to own an AR-15, the semiautomatic weapon that the National Rifle Association has designated “America’s rifle.” Some say the weapon can be useful for hunting or home protection. For others, like Rodriguez, the sleek, easy-to-use design and customizable features make the high-powered rifle simply fun to own.Of course Hauslohner showed that she knows little about firearms herself with the description of the AR-15 as "high-powered", and later in the article when she described it as a "a gun that can fire 45 high-velocity rounds per minute, bullets that travel so fast that their shock waves mimic an explosion as they enter a body."

If there is one thing that should give us pause, it is Rodriquez's acceptance of some gun control proposals that give many pro-rights proponents concern.  It is likely he is not the only gun owner willing to give up some of his freedom:
“I’m a law-abiding, gun-owning citizen,” Rodriguez says. “If there was a procedure that said I have to go to a class and learn, I’m going to do it.”

If the government said he needed to produce a character witness, provide access to his Internet search history or submit to a home visit or a rigorous mental-health evaluation, he’d comply.

“If it takes a little more to have it, that’s fine,” he says.We've all seen the recitation of "poll results" that show a large majority of gun owners, including NRA members (these have to be self identified because the NRA does not sell it's membership list) support background checks.  It's likely because we've all gone through them for over 25 years that is the case.  But, it is also probably true that if you start detailing what is entailed in the various "universal" background check proposals that the numbers would significantly decrease.  I also don't think I should be required to have my home searched or undergo a "rigourous mental-health evaluation" to exercise a constitutionally protected right.

Overall however, it is an article worth reading.

North Carolina Pro-rights Activist Garners National Attention

VSSA - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 14:46
Greensboro resident Mark Robinson takes his Second Amendment rights very seriously.  Last week, we shared a video in the eBullet of his speech before the Greensboro City Council. In a polite, respectful, fact-based but passionate response, he debunked the talking points of anti-gun activists and asked when they were going to start standing up for the majority, the law-abiding. Since those remarks, he has been featured on Fox News Fox and Friends morning show as well as all of the live NRATV programing, including NRANews Cam and Company.  He told Cam Edwards that he went to the meeting because it was time to stop being a Facebook advocate for the Second Amendment. Robinson also said People need to get out from behind their computer screens and get involved.  You can see that interview below.

NRA Carry Guard Expo Coming to Richmond

VSSA - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 19:00
The National Rifle Association has announced that the next NRA Carry Guard Expo will take place Sept. 14-16, 2018, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo is a three-day educational and interactive experience dedicated to individuals interested in increasing their knowledge and skills of personal protection, concealed carry and home defense. This event will equip novices and experts alike with the products, skills, knowledge and mindset necessary to be prepared to respond when a threat arises.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo’s exhibit hall will features leading firearm and accessory companies showcasing their most advanced guns and gear designed for self-defense and concealed carry. The expo will also conduct a live product demo show in which concealment clothing and gear designed for men and women will be modeled.

Visitors can attend more than 120 seminars and workshops featuring the best personal protection and concealed carry practices taught and demonstrated by leading experts and instructors from across the country, including NRA Carry Guard, the nation’s most comprehensive coverage and training for those who carry a gun.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo is the firearms education event of the year. Seminar topics will include Emergency Preparedness, How to Interact with Law Enforcement while Carrying, Handgun Fit & Function for Women, Perfecting Practice on the Range and at Home, The Concealed Carry Lifestyle, Making Your Own First Aid Kit, Creating a Home Defense Plan and many more.

To learn more about the NRA Carry Guard Expo, visit the event website at www.nracarryguardexpo.com. Check back regularly to view updates on announcements, training opportunities, and seminars scheduled for the event. Learn more about NRA Carry Guard by visiting www.nracarryguard.com.

VSSA Affiliated Club Raffle to Benefit Youth Airgun Programs

VSSA - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 18:55
The Arlington/Fairfax IWLA, a VSSA affiliated club, is raffling a Model 1885 Low Wall .243 Centerfire Rifle. Proceeds benefit the club's youth air gun programs. Raffle tickets are $20 plus $1 for processing (costs of mailing tickets etc). The drawing will take place after 300 tickets have been sold. The winner need not be present to win. To purchase tickets, simply go to the club's web site at http://afc-iwla-sillsairrange.org/.  For more information simply download the raffle flyer by clicking here.

Liberty University Opens Campus Shooting Range

VSSA - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 13:24
Fox News has the report here:
The lower part of the 600-acre, state-of-the-art gun range has rifle, pistol, and three-gun ranges in a valley located on the other side of Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, a year-round ski and snowboard slope, and at the top has shotgun venues, which include skeet, trap and sporting clay facilities.

Liberty is now the only campus with a venue fit for all Olympic shooting sports and it hopes to be one of the most luxurious facilities in the world once the project is fully completed.One student, Landon Dalton, a sophomore, told Fox News that he was introduced to a whole new world through the university's competitive shooting program.

The range will open to the public and to law enforcement following commencement.  Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., was on NRATV's Cam and Company Wednesday to talk more about the new facility and said there's still some final work to do, but it's already seeing a great deal of use. During the interview Falwell also discussed school safety.  He said Liberty University has set a standard for the country to provide a safe educational environment for our children. The K-12 school that shares the property where Liberty U. is located, Liberty Christian Academy, has one door in and out. Armed security officers are supplemented by faculty members that carry concealed. The campus has installed magnetometers and brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to increase security. President Falwell notes that licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed through security onto what, in his opinion is the safest campus in the country.

California Style Gun Control Introduced in Congress

VSSA - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:49
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz wants a federal law that would require background checks for people who buy ammunition. This is just like one of the new laws that went into affect statewide in California in January of this year.  That law was part of new gun laws that passed in 2016. The law requires anyone selling ammunition to have a license from the Department of Justice. Ammunition purchased over the internet must go through a licensed ammunition vendor. And buyers have to pay a $1 fee to pay for the background check.
“I really think it’s important to underscore that without bullets a gun is just a hunk of useless metal, and a would-be killer lacks the means to actually kill or maim,” she said Monday.Just to show you how some of these people think, she continued later in her remarks:
“You do not have the right to bear bullets,” Wasserman Schultz said at a news conference at the Pembroke Pines Police Department, where she was joined by political leaders, a police representative and teachers and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.It is legislation and comments like this that shows just how important this year's election really is.

Dave Kopel: Gun Ban for Young Adults Would Be Wholly Unconstitutional

VSSA - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 11:37
Dave Kopel, Research Director at the Independence Institute, and Joseph Greenlee, a fellow at the Millennial Policy Center in Denver, had this op/ed at www.TheHill.com yesterday making the case that banning 18-20 year-olds from buying rifles and shotguns is unconstitutional.  Beyond laying out why such proposals are unconstitutional, Kopel and Greenlee profer this question:
Some young adults 18 to 20 are married with children. These families deserve to protect themselves as much as any family does. If these adults are not mature enough to be trusted with firearms, then logic would suggest that they are not mature enough to marry in the first place.

For that matter, perhaps they are not mature enough to vote If they cannot be trusted with a squirrel rifle, how can they be trusted to elect leaders who wield nuclear weapons?Kopel was on NRATV's Cam and Company yesterday and talked in more detail about the article.  Read it at the above link.  It makes some great points.  We'll see if those points come up in the NRA lawsuit against Florida's new law.

2018 General Assembly Ends With Mixed Results on Guns

VSSA - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:00
The 2018 General Assembly adjourned Saturday, March 10, but it will return for a special budget session soon as it was not able to come to agreement by Saturday.  Work on all other legislation has been completed. Of the 87 firearm related bills (both good and bad) that were introduced this session, only one HB287, a bill that the gun ban lobby put in to create a "Stop Gun Violence" license plate, was approved by the Assembly.  That bill includes a special annual $25 fee in addition to the annual license cost.  For each $25 fee collected in excess of 1,000 registrations, $15 will be paid into the state treasury and credited to the a special non-reverting fund known as the Stop Gun Violence Fund established within the Department of Accounts. These funds will be paid annually to the Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Fund and used to enhance and ensure for the coming years the quality of care and treatment provided to individuals receiving public mental health, developmental, and substance abuse services in Virginia.  That bill is now before the Governor for his signature, possible amendments, or veto.

All of the gun ban bills were defeated before Crossover.  Unfortunately, the two good bills that made it out of the State Senate, one that would do away with the "good and sufficient reason" requirement to carry in a church during regularly scheduled services, and one that would have allowed firefighters and EMTs to carry on the job, both died in the House. No pro-rights bills made it out of the House of Delegates, even with a one vote pro-gun majority. Elections do have consequences. When you look at the list of bills introduced this year by the gun ban lobby, it is easy to see how quickly Virginia would have become almost identical to New Jersey or California if the pro-rights majority that is currently in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate became an anti-rights majority because Governor Northam would have signed every one of those bills.

It is more important than ever to be a VSSA member.   Gun owners are under attack, organized, orchestrated and very well funded.  You have the "National March Against Gun Violence" that is being heavily orchestrated, by the gun ban lobby and progressives.  You need to be involved in your state association because the same gun ban laws are being circulated and distributed to gun ban legislators in every state.  What we saw introduced in Virginia this year mirrors what has already passed in states like California, Oregon and Washington State.  They are written by the Bloomberg folks and they provide all the support material behind it like talking points etc., and they bring people in to speak in support of the bills.  We need to be able to do the same.  If gun owners show up in larger numbers at committee meetings than the other side, legislators will take notice.  If the other side shows up and we don't legislators will notice that too.  Make no mistake, the other side is energized like never before.

How do you make your voice heard?  Join your state association.  Some states have a state association as well as other gun rights groups.  Join all of them, but especially the state NRA affiliated association.  State associations are full service organizations.  Not only do they lobby for our rights, they are promoting the shooting sports to the next generation so that we have people to follow us as advocates for our freedoms.   State associations are the tip of the sword at state legislatures. NRA State Liaisons cover multiple states and can't be in two places at one time. VSSA has a legislative presence everyday of the session. If you know a gun owner who isn't a member, please urge them to join today.

House Kills Last Pro-gun Senate Bill on House Floor Today

VSSA - Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:41
Today, the House of Delegates defeated SB715, a bill that allows any firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel to carry a concealed handgun while engaged in the performance of his official duties, provided that such firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel has been approved to carry a concealed handgun by his fire chief or emergency medical services chief.  The bill was defeated on a vote of 35 - 62.  This bill had previously passed the State Senate 22-18.

House of Delegates Kills Senate Bill Allowing Carrying Concealed During Worship Services

VSSA - Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:26
Yesterday, the House of Delegates effectively killed SB372, a bill that repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without "good and sufficient reason" to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes.  This bill simply freed churches to make their own decisions on security 24 hours a day, while current law limits options during a service.  SB372 was left in committee on the last day to hear legislation before the end of the Session, which is Saturday.   SB372 had passed the Senate while a companion House bill was killed earlier in the Session after it was re-referred to committee from the House floor just before Crossover.  The State Senate is considered to be more "moderate" than the House, even with the House GOP majority being greatly reduced after last year's election, yet this bill was approved (along party lines) in the Senate.

As noted in an earlier post, word is, Democrats intend to reverse former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion that self-defense is a "good and sufficient reason" to carry in a church during a regularly scheduled service.

Not All Survivors of Parkland School Shooting Are Pushing Gun Control

VSSA - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:47
Guy Benson has a great profile at Townhall.com of Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting who is not getting the attention that some of his classmates:
On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, Kyle Kashuv found himself in the midst of a waking nightmare, huddled in a classroom closet for two harrowing hours, attempting to console and reassure terrified fellow students. An apparent fire drill had abruptly turned into a bloodbath after a gunman calculatingly lured potential victims into the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by pulling the fire alarm -- a ghoulish maneuver designed to maximize the bodycount. Teachers began following protocol by locking classroom doors after an active shooter alert was announced over the campus intercom system. Kashuv ended up piling into one room only after an instructor made a judgment call to unlock her door to accommodate a group of panicked students. The closet felt "like the safest place to be," he remembers. "I was trying to calm people down who were crying hysterically, letting everyone know that everything would be alright." Kids frantically checked their phones and social media feeds for emerging information as they remained holed up, waiting for a SWAT team's liberation. It finally came around 4:30pm. They had survived; seventeen others had not.You haven't seen this young man on the legacy media though. You see, he supports the 2nd Amendment and doesn't believe the acts of one deranged individual should turn the Constitution upside down.  When asked by Benson why his views have not gotten the attention of media darling David Hogg, he said:
..."I don't know," he says, hesitantly. "Maybe because I don't use inflammatory language. I speak calmly and logically without much emotion. I don't necessarily make the very best headline." He's politely referring to some of his more "famous" peers' propensity to launch provocative and partisan attacks, such as repeated assertions that people who disagree with their political or policy preferences "don't care" about dead children, or have 'blood on their hands.' But Kashuv knows that the disparate treatment he's lived isn't merely attributable to stylistic differences; he's convinced that the substance of his views is what has diminished his appeal to many activists and journalists.

"I'm a very strong Second Amendment supporter and I will continue to be throughout this entire campaign." he tells me. "As of right now, my main goal is to meet with legislators and represent to them that there are big Second Amendment supporters in our community. Through this entire thing, my number one concern has been making sure that the rights of innocent Americans aren't infringed upon." He says that when he visited the state capitol to talk to lawmakers shortly after the tragedy, he consistently asked for guarantees that the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners wouldn't be attacked or abridged. He's waded into this debate "kind of reluctantly," he admits, observing that at some point he realized that he was one of the few conservatives in his school who were speaking up in public. "It's not even by my choosing, it's just come to that," he remarks. "I feel somewhat obligated to do this because the other half of America needs to be heard. I'm doing this because I have to."He told Benson that he supports much of the "Never Again" cause, just not the gun control part, and feels "ostracized and ignored" by students and the adults  who disagree with his conservative politics. It's basically "you're with us or you're against us."   Read the entire profile.

CNN Focus Group on AR-15's

VSSA - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:24
CNN's Alisyn Camerota (formerly of Fox News) continues to display her anti-gun bias (note that she can't even get her terminology right), this time at a CNN focus group.  The discussion focused on AR-15's and their usefulness for home defense.  NRATV's Grant Stinchfield and Conservative Review's/NRATV's Dan Bongino point out how some of the males on the panel talk down to a female who clearly understands why an AR-15 makes a great home defense firearm for her.  Stichfield also makes a great point at the end of the below clip that the right home defense firearm is the one that the home owner feels most comfortable using.

New YouGov Poll Results Should Cause Concern for Gun Rights Community

VSSA - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:54
A new YouGov poll reports 82 percent of Democrats support the banning of all semi-automatic weapons (gun related poll data starts on page 28).  As Allahpundit at HotAir.com notes, that's weapons, which includes pistols, not just rifles.  55 percent of all Americans support such a ban.  There was a 50/50 split on whether it is more important to protect an individual's right to own firearms or more important to protect people from "gun violence".

On Friday, NRATV.s Cam Edwards spoke with National Review Online editor Charles Cooke about the poll results.  During the interview, Cooke said he wanted to know how the questions were asked (you can check the poll results linked above and it appears they simply asked "Do you favor or oppose the following gun control measures", then listed various options).  Cooke pointed out that the results show 37 percent of Republicans favor a semi-auto ban then asks "Does that seem plausible?"  He told Edwards while he doesn't think it's time to panic, make no mistake, the results do not bode well for Second Amendment supporters.  You can see the complete interview about the poll below.

Virginia Democrats Continue to Push Gun Ban Policies Late in Session

VSSA - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 13:42
Even though all of the gun ban bills were killed before crossover, and the only way to get such a bill considered during the closing days of the General Assembly is for the Governor to send down a bill, they held a press conference yesterday pushing gun control.  Via WRIC TV8.

20th Annual Crush'n Clays® Registration Open

VSSA - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 13:32
It's hard to believe that Crush'n Clays® is entering our 20th year! Crush'n Clays® is an amazing success story. It is the longest running shooting charity event in the country. This tremendous achievement would not have been possible without the tireless support of our sponsors, volunteers and participants. Over the last nineteen years, we've raised more than $348,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. We look to continue this successful achievement with the 20th Annual Crush'n Clays®.
This year's event will be held on Saturday, June 9th, 2018 at the Arlington/Fairfax Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America in Fairfax County, Virginia.

We look forward to you joining us in the 20th Annual Crush'n Clays®. On behalf of the kids of St. Jude's thank you for your consideration.

Registration is now open.

AP: Trump's Gun Stance a Struggle for Congress, NRA

VSSA - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 12:55
The Associated Press reports that President Trump's erratic statements pushing gun control has caused efforts to come to a virtual halt in Congress.  For those of us supporting the right to keep and bear arms, that is a good development.
Action on gun legislation has skidded to a halt in Congress — not for a lack of bipartisan proposals, but because President Donald Trump’s stunning shift on gun policy left some in his party confused, irritated and scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Republicans squirmed over Trump’s call for stricter gun laws after the assault on a Florida high school, while Democrats seized on the opening to reach beyond a modest measure gaining traction in Congress. They unveiled a more ambitious priority list, with expanded background checks and even a politically risky ban on assault weapons.

The tug of war over the appropriate response on the school shooting remains far from settled.

Late Thursday, Trump tweeted that he’d had a “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”At the same time, the President's comments on Wednesday that guns should be able to be seized from those thought to be a danger to themselves or others and we should deal with due process later should give all of us, whether we support gun rights or not, great pause.
We shouldn't be surprised by the President's shift, despite gun owners strong support for him in 2016.  As National Review's Jim Geraghty pointed out yesterday, the President's love for gun control isn't that sudden.  Geraghty recounted his thoughts from the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting at the time the NRA leadership endorsed Trump's campaign:
My memories of the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016 were mostly happy ones, and not merely because it was held in Bourbon Wonderland. But I do remember sitting with Charlie Cooke in a mix of mild surprise and bemusement as the organization enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump, earlier than it had ever endorsed a presidential candidate before.

Sure, the NRA didn’t have much choice. The Democratic nominee was Hillary Clinton, a gun-control advocate who had declared in a private meeting that “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case time and time again,” and who was so shameless that she later claimed in a nationally televised debate that the D.C. handgun ban was aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of toddlers.

But Donald Trump, a Manhattan real-estate mogul who had traveled with his own personal security for years, had never really been a “gun guy.” He says he has a concealed carry permit (hard to get in New York state). In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he wrote, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

The NRA traditionally declined to endorse candidates that supported policies like that, and the group rarely was credulous about conveniently timed changes in position. An endorsement that touted Trump as a longtime defender of the Second Amendment just wouldn’t be accurate. NRA officials Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox did the best they could, speaking extensively about the menace that Hillary Clinton represented, and then touting Trump as . . . well, not Hillary.

“In a few minutes, you’ll be hearing from a man who offers a very different White House,” LaPierre said in his introduction to Trump.

Even in his remarks accepting the endorsement, Trump made comments that suggested he found owning a lot of guns . . . kind of worrisome. “My sons are members,” Trump declared. “They have so many rifles, so many guns, that even I get concerned. I say, ‘That’s a lot!’” The crowd greeted that admission with what can best be described as polite silence.Let's look at the list of things President Trump has offered over the last week as Geraghty listed them in that article:
  • Endorsed the Assault Weapons Ban.
  • Endorsed background checks for private sales at gun shows.
  • Endorsed raising the age to purchase firearms to 21.
  • Said concealed-carry national reciprocity, “will never pass.” (This has been a priority of the NRA since Trump's election)
And let's not forget he parroted the talking point of the gun banners by saying members of Congress were “petrified of the NRA”.  He then went on to say he was not. “They have great power over you people. They have less power over me.”

Gun owners need to contact the White House and Congress and politely make it known we do not support any of the proposals listed above and that law abiding gun owners had nothing to do with the atrocity that took place in Florida.  It was the failure of government at the local and federal level that did not heed the multiple warnings about the shooter and we will not be the fall guy for their inaction.

Two Richmond Area Gun Stores Have Long Standing Policy to Not Sell AR Rifles to Buyers Under 18

VSSA - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 12:09
I received an email from a VSSA member yesterday informing me that two local firearm retailers had a long standing policy of not selling AR style rifles to buyers under 21.  This was news to me so I did a quick search and sure enough I found this report from WRIC TV 8 where they decided to ask a couple of local gun stores their thoughts on the announcement by Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling firearms to anyone under the age of 21, including shotguns and all rifles, in their stores.  It should be noted that Dick's only sold AR style rifles in their Field and Stream branded stores.  They haven't sold them in the main chain since the Sandy Hook school shooting.  Anyway, it turns out that Greentop, the retailer that sells more firearms than any other gun store in Virginia, and Bob Moate's Sport Shop in Chesterfield both have long standing policies of not selling AR style rifles to buyers under 21.  First David Hancock from Bob Moate's:
Hancock says they don’t sell any assault-style weapons to anyone under 21. He says it’s a policy they’ve had for years. Hancock says they believe there needs to be a maturity level to own something like an AR-15.

Hancock says while some of their younger customers haven’t done anything illegal with them, they’ve made questionable decisions.

“We’ve had people go out and handle them a little more recklessly than we’d like to see,” said Hancock. Next up was CEO Blaine Altaffer of Greentop:
8News also reached out to Green Top Hunting and Fishing. While they declined to weigh in on Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision, CEO Blaine Altaffer says his store will not sell assault-style rifles to anyone under 21. He says they have had that policy for decades.I'm wondering how many other people knew that both Greentop and Bob Moate's had this policy.

Since Dick's made their announcement, other retailers also have made similar announcements including Walmart, which said they will not sell firearms or ammo to anyone under 21, and Kroger (I know, who knew Kroger sold guns - apparently they do in Fred Myer branded stores in western states).  L.L. Bean has also announced they would no longer sell guns and ammo to anyone under the age of 21.

Those pushing to end rifle sales to buyers under 21 cite the current ban on purchasing pistols to that age group.  But if the goal is to prevent mass shootings, it would appear they are aiming for the wrong age group.  The average age of those who have committed a mass murder with a firearm is 35.  But, this isn't really about preventing these incidents, it's about appearing to "do something" which never makes for good policy.