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Will Gun Control Do More for Ralph Northam than Hillary Clinton?

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:53
Lt. Governor and current candidate for Governor Ralph Northam is making gun control a central part of his campaign for Governor this year.  NBC29 has the story.

Northam seems to think his experience in the state legislature will be helpful to do what others before him have not been able to do, pass gun control.

I'll be on NRATV.com this afternoon around 3:40 discussing this with NRANews Cam and Company host Cam Edwards.

Baltimore Considers "Guns for Bail" as Way to Reduce "Gun Violence"

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:25
The Baltimore Sun has the story here.
Trevor Brooks, a convicted murderer who attended a Silicon Valley entrepreneurship program after getting out of prison, has an idea he thinks could reduce the rate of gun violence in Baltimore: Let people use an app to turn in guns and make bail.

Given the choice between giving up a gun or sitting in Central Booking, "they're going to turn the guns in as fast as they can," Brooks said.

On Monday, the City Council took up a resolution that would lend its support to the idea. The council will consider the measure as the city scrambles to contain a surge in gun violence that has killed 118 people this year and wounded 200 more, and has city officials leaning on the federal government for help.

Councilman Brandon Scott, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, introduced the measure. He said Brooks' company, GunBail, could offer a new option.This enterprising former convict has come up with a mobile app that allows someone to take a picture of the firearm from within the app, specify the inmate and his location, and pay the GunBail Shipping & Handling fee. GunBail will send box and tell the individual where to drop off the firearm, all while granting amnesty during the process.   According to the GunBail web site:
Once the firearm is surrendered it can take up to 3 days for local law enforcement to receive it. Once we've turned it over to them your loved one can post bail as early as 48 hours depending on the local law enforcement agency. Regardless the GunBail team is with you every step off the way to make sure your loved one gets released and illegal guns stay off the streets. It's a new twist on the so-called "gun buy-back" scheme, but now it will get a perp out of jail.  But supposedly, unlike the "buy-backs which rarely involve firearms that have been used in crimes, this would "target people in the criminal justice system" and get the guns they use in crimes.

The problem with this idea is, according to the article, "nonviolent" offenders in custody would be the ones that are eligible, and, like the "buy-back" schemes, law enforcement would agree not to investigate whether the gun had been used in any other crimes.

Mark Warner Comes Full Circle to Pre-2001 Gun Control Stance With Opposition to National Carry Reciprocity

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 15:59
Politico reports that Virginia Democrat U.S. Senator Mark Warner will oppose National Carry Reciprocity:
Warner (D-Va.), who supported a similar measure in 2013 and whose support for gun control initiatives has fluctuated over the past several years, said in a statement Wednesday he'd been moved to oppose the bill in light of the numerous mass shootings occurring in recent years in the U.S.

"With the tragic rate of gun violence today, I simply cannot support efforts to further weaken our nation’s gun laws," Warner said. "That includes renewed efforts this Congress to relax the standards for issuing concealed carry permits or to establish a national system that would further erode state-level concealed carry standards."Prior to 2001, Warner opposed Virginia's efforts to pass "shall issue" concealed carry, among other gun ban policies he supported.  When he ran for Governor in 2001 he did an about face in an effort to keep the NRA from endorsing his Republican opponent.  As Governor, he signed 17 substiative pro-rights bills and did not veto any pro-rights legislation.

But since 2012, he has slowly crept back to his old positions.  He supported outlawing the sale of firearms by private individuals with support for so-called "universal" background checks in 2013. He has now come full circle, opposing putting concealed carry permits on par with drivers licenses by allowing someone from say Virginia to carry concealed in any state in the union with a valid Virginia permit.

Warner's excuse is the "tragic rate of gun violence today" but concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law abiding people in the country which begs the question Senator Warner, exactly how does keeping National Carry Reciprocity reduce "gun violence" when permit holders are not the people that are committing crime?

Seen at the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting - F&D Defense Folding AR

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 12:08
One of the new products getting a lot of buzz at last weekend's NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits was F&D Defense's XAR Folding AR.  The prototype is an AR-10 but it will soon be available in an AR-15.

Regarding the question of retaining zero, Eric of  IraqVeteran8888 You Tube channel tried it out ahead of the show and that doesn't appear to be a problem.

According to F&D Defense's promotional information:
F&D Defense’s previous innovation of the 4-bolt lock up system is the prime reason the XAR technology is even possible. By removing the limitations of a barrel nut and adding the XAR folding innovation, F&D Defense has created the most compact, fastest deployed AR rifle in the industry, without sacrificing the reliability, durability, and accuracy demanded and expected. Faster deployment, faster takedown, no loose parts.”F&D Defense will release the XAR Invicta in the summer of 2017. For more information on F&D Defense, the XAR technology, or the F&D Invicta, visit FDDefense.com.

Hat tip to Matthew Moss at taskandpurpose.com

Delegate Todd Gilbert Receives the NRA Defender of Freedom Award

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:35
On Friday, April 28, Delegate Todd Gilbert was presented the 2017 NRA Defender of Freedom Award at the NRA Annual Meeting's and Exhibits.  Delegate Gilbert has been a tireless defender of our firearm freedom in the Virginia House of Delegates.. He has sponsored numerous bills to restore our freedoms and has worked to defeat bills that infringe on those freedoms.  This year, he was the House sponsor of legislation that would have allowed victims of domestic violence to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after a protective order was issued. The bill also provided 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 would serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit.   Governor McAuliffe vetoed the legislation.  He spoke with NRATV while he was at the Annual Meeting.

Sig Sauer's John Hollister on Prospects for Hearing Protection Act

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 11:04
At the NRA Annual Meetings last weekend, John Hollister of the SIG Silencer Team and Michael Bane of The Outdoor Channel talked Suppressors.  During the conversation Bane asked about the prospects for passage of the Hearing Protection Act (HPA).  Hollister said he believes it will pass, but not this year (at the 4:38 mark of the below video).
I had the opportunity to speak with Hollister in the hotel Saturday afternoon and he said he believes it may take several years to pass the HPA but he does believe it will eventually pass.  I told him my fear was if it is not done in the next two years, or at least the next four, our window of opportunity may close due to politics and political changes in Congress or the White House.  He said every gun owner needs to go to the American Suppressor Association web site and complete the form that will send an email to your congressman and senators to support the Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 367) in the House and the Hearing Protection Act (S.59) in the Senate.  

April Background Checks Second Highest on Record

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 09:46
But, Bloomberg's mouthpiece, The Trace leads with "Gun background checks were down 16 percent month-over-month in April."  By contrast, Fox News' headline on the subject read that sales (background checks are not a perfect indicator of sales but trends can be projected) remain near record levels.  Add this to the fact that this year's NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits saw the second highest attendance ever behind just 2013's meeting in Houston, and we get a picture that in post Obama America, the industry and the public's interest in firearms is still strong.

In the Trump era, where attacks on our rights from the White House are, for now, a thing of the past.   That is not to say there are no attacks. As I.C.E. Training owner Rob Pincus posted on his Facebook page from the NRA meetings, attacks are still coming at the state level and that is where the fight will continue for now:
The election for Governor this year could determine the direction for our rights for years to come as the next Governor will determine how state legislative districts are drawn.  If the next Governor is anti-rights like Terry McAuliffe, you can guarantee he will veto any redistricting plans that do not give his party more seats in the legislature.

Now is the time to join VSSA if you are not already a member, and get involved in this year's election.  That is the only way to protect our rights.

CNN Reporter Learns About NRA and America's Support of Gun Rights

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 10:19
I think most of the firearms community would agree that introducing new people to firearms will go a long way to protect our rights.  NSSF has in the past hosted media days in the hope of having the media more informed on a subject they may have to cover.  So, it was refreshing to read an article this morning where a CNN reporter openly admitted she did not understand America's fascination with firearms and decided to take the opportunity of the NRA Annual Meeting taking place right across from her employer, to learn more.

The reporter, Moni Basu is a native of India who became a U.S. citizen about 10 years ago.  She begins by talking about how she was raised in "ahimsa, the tenet of nonviolence toward all living things"  and how the county overthrew British rule by "Gandian-style civil disobedience, not a revolutionary war."

Basu said when she returns to India her friends and family want to know about America's "love affair" with guns.  Her report is an honest look at people attending the NRA Annual Meeting with no pre-conceived opinions interjected.  For instance:
Self-protection, I discover, is a huge reason many Americans own firearms.

Take Chloe Morris. She was born in Atlanta to Filipino parents; on this day, she's brought her mother along to hear Trump, the first sitting President to speak at an NRA convention since Ronald Reagan.

Morris is 35, petite and soft-spoken, but she's fierce about her opinions on guns.

"I'm 5 feet tall and 100 pounds," she tells me. "I cannot wait for a cop to come save me when I am threatened with rape or death."

Morris was once opposed to guns. "Extremely opposed," she says.

She earned a master's degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University. "I know the law," she says. "For me guns were not the answer."

But a few years ago, a dear friend was assaulted in her own home in an upscale Atlanta subdivision. The incident struck fear in Morris. She would never let herself become a victim.

She took shooting classes and became a Glock instructor. "I teach for free. I want women to be safe.

"I own 10 guns. I have a 14-year-old son. I started teaching him to shoot when he was 5. I'm a lifetime member of the NRA."

She pauses, and her next sentence surprises me.

"I don't think I can even kill another person -- except when my life is in danger."She also relates the discussion of freedom many people mentioned to the experience of India where the people were disarmed by the British to keep them from rebelling against colonial rule.  She ends the article with:
I leave the convention trying to reconcile what I've gathered on this day with the philosophy of nonviolence with which I was raised. I am not certain that vast cultural differences can be bridged in a few hours, but I am glad I got a glimpse into the world of guns. I have much to consider.It's a long article but an honest look at some of the folks attending the NRA Annual Meetings, and a good read.

McAuliffe Vetoes Final Two Gun Bills

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 16:22
As expected, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed the two gun related bills after the General Assembly rejected amendments he made to the bills.  The first bill,  Senate Bill 1023 had been amended by a substitute bill that would have reinstated handgun rationing (one gun-a-month) in the Commonwealth.  McAuliffe claimed the bill was opposed by the state police:
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1023. This bill, which is opposed by the Virginia State Police, would prohibit the sharing of Virginia concealed handgun permit information with another state’s law-enforcement agencies if Virginia does not have a concealed handgun reciprocity agreement with that state. The bill also would require the State Police to publish a list of states recognizing the validity of Virginia concealed handgun permits on its website.

Information sharing is the bedrock of effective cross-jurisdictional law enforcement, and the withholding of information adversely impacts investigations and jeopardizes the safety of officers. Depriving law enforcement officers of this critical, potentially life-saving information would put them in harm’s way -- an unacceptable outcome that I cannot support.

During the Reconvened Session, I offered a substitute to Senate Bill 1023 which would have enhanced public safety by restoring Virginia’s “One-Handgun-A-Month” law. Since this law was repealed in 2012, Virginia has once again become a prime location for criminals to purchase weapons in bulk. This amendment was not adopted. SB1023 would have protected concealed handgun permit holders from the various fishing expeditions that law enforcement in anti-gun states will sometimes put gun owners through during routine traffic stops once they find out the individual is a permit holder.  It would have prevented the state police from sharing CHP information with law enforcement in anti-gun states.

The second bill vetoed was Senate Bill 1315.  SB1315 would have allowed foster parents to carry a firearm on their person.  It also required firearm to be securely locked when not in use. McAuliffe said in his veto message:
Many children in foster care have suffered difficult childhood experiences and struggle to find a stable home.  The state has a special responsibility to ensure that those children enjoy living conditions that are as safe as possible.

  To provide an extra layer of protection from unintended use of weapons in foster care homes, the state currently requires firearms and ammunition to be stored in separate, locked locations. Senate Bill 1315 would eliminate this added protection, increasing the risk that children might gain unauthorized access to firearms and ammunition.

  During the Reconvened Session, I offered a substitute amendment that would have strengthened the gun safety provisions by requiring compliance with local ordinances, requiring firearms to be stored separately from ammunition, and clarifying the required use of safety mechanisms. This amendment was rejected.

  The unintended use of weapons can pose a serious danger to children and adults in foster care homes.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.Neither bill would have endangered the public as CHP holders are some of the most law abiding individuals in the country. Additionally, gun owners are also safety conscious.  Unintended deaths involving firearms are at all time lows.  SB1315 would not have endangered children who are in foster care.

These actions further demonstrate the need to elect a pro-rights Governor in the 2017 statewide elections.  Please vote in the June nominating primaries then get involved in the campaign of pro-rights candidates.  If we want to advance good legislation, the only way to do that is with a pro-rights Governor.

There is Still Time to Register for the 19th Annual VSSA's Crush'n Clays

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:10
There are still a few open spots for the 19th Annual VSSA's Crush'n Clays benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Over the last 18 years, this event has raised over $300,000 to support the important work of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  St. Jude is the largest pediatric research facility in America established solely for the study of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases including pediatric AIDS and sickle cell anemia.  Crush'n Clays is not only the longest running shooting charity that supports the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but also the longest consecutive running charity shooting event in the country!

This event is an annual sell-out.  In 2016 it sold out a full month before the event date.  Don't miss your chance to participate in this year's event.  You can register and pay online by clicking here.

Event Details:June 10th, 2017 Arlington-Fairfax IWLA Check-in begins 8:00 AMTrapshooting Team Format Individual Awards Lewis Class 50 Target Event/Person 25 – 16 yard targets 25 handicap targets Annie Oakley Side Event (ammunition for side event available for purchase at range)

Entry Levels:  Individual Participant - $60* (*After May 20th - $65) Team Sponsorship - $230 - One 4 person team  Patron Sponsor - $750 One 4 person team Sponsor Sign at Clubhouse Apreciation Plaque  Silver Sponsor - $1250 -  Complete package for one four person team  Gold Sponsor - $2500 -  Complete package for two four person team
You can also download an entry form and mail it to VSSA but the fastest way to insure you reserve a spot is to use the online registration. 

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

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 10:09
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.

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

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 11:58
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

When Deadly Force is Involved

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 22:43
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.

This is What Successful Activism Look Likes

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 14:42
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.

New Quinnipiac University Poll Addresses Gun Issues in Virginia

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:55
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.

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

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:41
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.

Gun Ban Lobby Hopes Grammatical Error Dooms Georgia Campus Carry Bill

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 09:47
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.

General Assembly Veto Session Wrap-up

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 12:51
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.