Monday, July 28, 2014

NRA Youth Education Summit Returns to Virginia

The NRA Virginia Youth Education Summit was held July 10th-13th and was another smashing success.  VSSA acts as the financial agent for the program using funds provided by the NRA Foundation.  This year 16 Virginia high school students traveled to Richmond to experience a little of Virginia government, a local shooting range and even toured the Federal Reserve Bank. 

Senior NRA Field Rep for Virginia David Wells, said credit to the success of the event goes to a team of volunteers  that planned, coordinated and chaperoned this event. The program is made possible through the proceeds of Friends of NRA events throughout Virginia.

Three participants earned scholarship money and all had a great time.  A full report on the weekend can be found here.

DC Carry Ruling Could Positively Impact Hill Staffer and Lobbyist Caught With Gun At Capitol

Roll Call reports that Saturday's ruling by Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. in Palmer v. District of Columbia could affect currently charges against a Hill staffer and lobbyist recent caught carrying a firearm at the U.S. Capitol. Neither were charged by Capitol Police but were turned over to Metropolitan PD to be charge for violating DC gun laws:
Charges against two men whom Capitol Police allegedly stopped from bringing 9 mm handguns to Capitol Hill could change, as attorneys scramble to interpret the effect of a federal judge overturning the District’s handgun ban. 
On July 26, Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. ruled in Palmer v. District of Columbia that D.C.’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. In the 19-page decision, Scullin wrote that he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism. 
D.C. police were subsequently instructed not to enforce the law against carrying pistols in public. In two separate incidents that are raising questions about campus security, Hill staffer Ryan Shucard and pork executive Ronald William Prestage were charged with violating that law when police uncovered handguns and magazines during administrative searches at the Cannon House Office building.  
The order not to enforce the law came from Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier on Sunday and is being implemented “until further notice,” according to her notice.
Likely stopped, at least for now, by the ruling from proceeding on charges related to violating DC city ordinances, federal prosecutors are considering charging both with violating the prohibition on possessing a firearm at the Capitol building or grounds.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Former N.J. Governor Jim Florio Offers Lame Response to Lott Op/Ed on Christie Magazine/Gun Ban Veto

Last weekend, the New Jersey Star-Ledger printed an Op/Ed by Dr. John Lott that logically explained why Governor Chris Christie's veto of a magazine/gun ban that was passed by the N.J. General Assembly during the 2014 session, was the right decision.  Today, former Governor Jim Florio, no friend of gun owners, took to the paper's editorial page to give an opposing view, and infers Lott is nothing but a shill for the NRA:
First, his book echoes the National Rifle Association’s executive director’s stated view that the answer to gun violence is more guns for everybody. Most people reject this Wild West attitude to law enforcement by shootouts. He offers the fact that there is no evidence to justify limits on magazine capacity.

Aside from the fact that the NRA has forced Congress into prohibiting gun violence research, by following his logic, there is no hard evidence that proposed limits don’t provide better protection. Common sense, however, dictates that when seconds count, a mass killer needs time to change magazines.
Note that Florio trots out the gun ban lobby's talking point about the lack of research.  But Lott has addressed that too:
Despite his widely publicized claim, no evidence has been provided that firearms research actually declined either after the Dickey Amendment to the Centers for Disease Control funding was passed in 1997 appropriations or restrictions were imposed on the National Institute of Health and other federal health agencies funding gun research. What Bloomberg measures is firearms research relative to all other research. And, indeed, after the 1996 restrictions on federal funding, firearms research in medical journals did fall as a percentage of all research but total research on firearms has increased over that time.

Florio goes on to endorse all the policies Obama trotted out last year, and throws in a ban on .50 rifles, even though no one can tell us when the last time a gang banger or your average run of-the-mill criminal used .50 rifle into a convenience store to commit a robbery.

Dr. Lott has in the past posted on his blog point by point responses to his critics.  I'm looking forward to him taking Florio's argument apart.

Roanoke Times Op/Ed: The Fault in Ourselves, Not Our Guns

A Virginia NRA member and hunter had this op/ed in today's Roanoke Times as a response to a previous letter to the editor.  The writer, Glenn Watson, pointed out what was wrong with the opinions laid out in that letter, then pointed out that while firearm sales have increased, crime has decreased.  He closed with:
People make choices their entire life and have to live with those choices and accept responsibility for their actions.
Kyle Scott, who teaches American politics and constitutional law at Duke University and the University of Houston,  referred to it as a lack of a moral compass.  Watson would probably agree.

Let me just add to the points Watson made related to gun sales, between 2006 and 2012, firearm sales in Virginia increased 101% while at the same time, crime dropped 28%.  And last year, murders were down in the City of Richmond to levels not seen in 30 yearsThe total for 2013 was 37.  Within the first four months of 1994, 60 murders had been committed.

While a number of factors lead to a reduction in crime, it is clear, that more guns do not equal more crime.

More Evidence the "40% of Gun Sales Don't Include a Background Check" Claim Is Untrue

The "40% of gun sales don't undergo background checks" claim gets even weaker thanks to this report out of Colorado.  Previously the Washington Post gave President Obama "Three Pinocchios" for making the claim.  Colorado used the number to justify a budget increase to pay for what they said would be an increase in background checks after they passed so-called "universal background checks" in 2013:
Gun-control advocates have long asserted that 40 percent of gun sales nationwide are made by private sellers and thus not subject to background checks. President Barack Obama cited the number last year, unsuccessfully urging Congress to pass a law mandating "universal background checks." 
But that figure, which Colorado legislative analysts and CBI officials say was the best available for the basis of their estimation calculus, comes from a 1997 National Institute of Justice report that gun-right's activists criticize as inaccurate. 
Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said that using the 40 percent figure as a basis for Colorado's projection "calls into question lawmakers' access to accurate information on not only this, but all firearms-related legislation."
That 1997 NIJ report was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. The questions concerned purchases dating as far back as 1991 which was before the Brady Act became law.  This means that some, if not many, of the firearm sales included in that study were bought in a pre-Brady environment.  But of course, the gun banners retreat to their time worn "if we only stop one person..."
"The bottom line," he said, "is even if one, or five, or 10, or 10,000 or 20,000 people are being blocked, that's less dangerous people walking around with guns."
Never mind that most criminals are going to buy their firearms legally to start with.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

August Events of Interest to Virginia Sportsmen

August is when various outdoor shows and events take place in Virginia that get hunters ready for the upcoming season.  Here are some of the more popular events via the VDGIF Outdoor Report:

The 31st Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building which will include a new air gun shooting range sponsored by Crossman, an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams, casting range for kids and much more. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Celebrity guests R.J. Molinere and Jay Paul Molinere - Swamp People on the History Channel, Kip Campbell, Host of Red Arrow TV and Fred Abbas Co-Host of TV's A-Way Outdoors will be featured at this year's show.

The Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend will be held at Holiday Lake August 22-24. This program open to ages 11-90+ offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have. Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include pistol, rifle, shotgun, skeet, trap and muzzleloading shooting, archery, survival, game processing, cooking, preserving your wild game harvest, and a variety of big and small game hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the VA Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. Registration is open until August 8, 2014 and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included); a discounted fee is available before August 1, 2014. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit, call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail​​​​

The Annual Farmville Outdoor Festival sponsored by Riverside Community Church is being held  Saturday, August 23 at the Five County Fairgrounds, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar from Quaker Boy Pro-Staff followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest and Appomattox River Kennels is sponsoring a Big Buck Contest.  This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!  For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Non-Resident Ensnared by D.C. Gun Laws

Roll Call reports that this time it is an agricultural lobbyist from South Carolina:
Capitol Police confiscated a 9mm Ruger handgun from the bag of Camden, S.C., resident Ronald William Prestage shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning at the Cannon House Office Building. Prestage, 59, was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a District of Columbia offense that carries up to five years in prison.
Are there really this many people that don't know about D.C.s gun laws and their propensity for make examples of anyone caught with a firearm inside the city?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Congressional Staffer Gun Case Highlights Problems with Patchwork Gun Laws

Roll Call has this story on the Ryan Shucard case.  Shucard is the press secretary to two term PA Republican Congressman Tom Marino who was arrested after allegedly carrying a firearm and ammunition into the Cannon House Office Building.  Shucard lives in Alexandra, VA where it is legal to own a firearm.  Roll Call notes that the Capitol grounds are not governed by DC Law.
...Jason Kalafat, a partner at Price Benowitz LLP who has been hired to represent Shucard in D.C. court, had no comment on his client’s status as a gun owner in Virginia. He said there is no allegation that Shucard had the gun unlawfully, and pointed out that he is not being prosecuted for the federal offense of carrying on Capitol grounds, which carries up to five years in prison.

Kalafat said the difference between gun regulations in D.C. and Virginia creates a “big problem.” 
Because the Capitol grounds are federal property, they are not subject to the District’s strict gun laws.
The same thing could happen in Virginia were it not for pre-emption, which prevents localities from passing their own gun laws.  Say for instance, if Virginia did not have pre-emption, a gun owner traveling from one state to the next would have to know all the gun laws for every locality between the starting point and the final destination to make sure they did not get ensnared by them.

Shucard's case reminds me of the cases where gun owners have mistakenly attempted to take firearms through airport security.  It's obvious that they intended no harm.  Unfortunately in the case of Shucard, DC seems intent on making an example of him.

NRA Kicks Off 2014 Campaign Season

The NRA has kicked off the start of the 2014 campaign season with this web site and video:
Protect your rights! Make sure all of your gun owning family and friends are registered to vote.

Monday, July 21, 2014

John Lott on Christie's Veto of NJ Magazine and Gun Ban Bill

John Lott had this op/ed over the weekend in The New Jersey Star-Ledger explaining that N.J. Governor Chris Christie's reasons for vetoing the magazine/gun ban bill were sound and on target:
But there is a reason that gun control supporters, such as Malloy, don’t provide evidence that Christie is factually in the wrong. There have been plenty of studies on assault weapon bans by criminologists and economists alike, but there isn’t any evidence that limiting magazine size helps fight crime.

Take the work of two criminology professors, Chris Koper and Jeff Roth. They were hired by the Clinton administration to evaluate the original assault weapons ban, which limited magazines to 10 bullets. They found: “the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect (i.e., that the effect was different from zero).”

At the time, Koper and Roth suggested that after the ban had been in effect for more years, it might be possible to find a benefit. Seven years later, in 2004, they published a follow-up study for the National Institute of Justice with fellow criminologist Dan Woods that concluded, “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”
Even a bureau of the U.S. Department of Justice included Lott's article in their news clips for the day.

At least they don't completely dismiss the other side of the gun control debate as completely out of hand.

Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club 3d Archery Match

The Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club will hold a 3D Archery Match on Sunday, July 27th.  Sign-in, safety meeting, and warm-up begins at 8:30 and shooting begins at 9:00 AM.  Fee is $10.  Shooters should meet at the 100 yard rifle range.  The shoot will take approximately two hours and is open to the public so bring a friend or two.  Compound, recurve, and yes, even longbow shooters will be there.

To register, email

Saturday, July 19, 2014

VSSA High Power Rifle Team Update from Camp Perry

Just got a call from VSSA High Power Chairman Mike Jamison.  He reported that of our five two-man youth teams, VSSA #1 finished 20th out of 81 teams in the National Junior Team Match:

Coach: Darnell, Mike
Captain: Darnell, Mike
Team MemberStandingSittingProne RFProne SFAggregate
Thome, Dominic 95  - 3 95  - 3 94  - 0 184  - 4 468  - 10
Reinboldt, John 92  - 0 99  - 0 91  - 0 174  - 1 456  - 1

VSSS #2 finished 30th:

Captain: Jamison, Michael
Team MemberStandingSittingProne RFProne SFAggregate
Allison, Robert 90  - 0 97  - 3 93  - 1 178  - 3 458  - 7
Slota, Anne CIV 89  - 2 98  - 5 84  - 2 176  - 1 447  - 10

VSSA #3 finished 38th:

Coach: McKaig, William CIV
Captain: McKaig, William CIV
Team MemberStandingSittingProne RFProne SFAggregate
Sawyer, Benjamin CIV 89  - 1 96  - 2 97  - 2 187  - 5 469  - 10
Kissik, Anthony 75  - 0 93  - 2 90  - 1 165  - 1 423  - 4

VSSA #5 finished 56th:

Coach: Jamison, Michael
Captain: Darnell, Mike
Team MemberStandingSittingProne RFProne SFAggregate
Imel, Tyler  CIV 76  - 0 90  - 1 85  - 0 179  - 2 430  - 3
Moore, Collin 85  - 1 63  - 1 83  - 0 173  - 4 404  - 6

VSSA #4 finished 68th:

Coach: MSgt  Hicks, Donnie ANG
Team MemberStandingSittingProne RFProne SFAggregate
Cavender, Samuel CIV 74  - 0 87  - 1 82  - 0 166  - 3 409  - 4
Ross, Andrew CIV 83  - 0 87  - 0 61  - 0 132  - 0 363  - 0

In the CMP-USMC Jr Highpower Clinic EIC Match, Dominic Thome finished 40th,  out of 146 shooters, Anne Slota finished 66th, John Reinboldt finished 72nd, Samuel Cavender finished 77th, Andrew Ross finished 89th, Robert Allison finished 90th, Collin Moore finished 96th.  Benjamin Sawyer finished 96th, Tyler Imel finished 107th, Anthony Kissik finished 122nd.

In the National Trophy Junior Team Individual, Benjamin Sawyer finished 27th out of 170, Dominic Thome finished 30th, Robert Allison finished 52nd, John Reinboldt finished 58th, Anne Slota finished 71st, Tyler Imel finished 105th, Anthony Kissik finished 113th, Samuel Cavender finished 131, Collin Moore finished 138th, and Andrew Ross finished 157th.

Mike and his team of coaches have worked hard to recruit new youth shooters to VSSA's high power rifle program.  Congratulations to all of the shooters and look for more updates from Perry as our teams, adult and youth continue to compete.