Thursday, April 24, 2014

NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits Coverage

I'm in Indianapolis for the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits.  Over the next three days, look for posts and photos about new products on display. Right now the exhibitors are working feverishly to complete their booths.  There will be a live taping at 2:30 of NRA's Gun Gurus and the annual NRA Foundation Banquet.  The Wall of guns is also being set up and there are a lot of great guns that will be won this weekend. So, check back over the course of the weekend to get a flavor of what and estimated 70,000 people will see this weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VDGIF Public Comment Period on Hunting Regulatory Proposals

After the passage of several bills related to hunting during the 2014 Session of the General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed several regulatory amendments related to those bills.  A public comment period on the regulatory proposals is now open and runs until 5:00 PM on May 26, 2014. The Board will consider the proposals for possible adoption as final regulation amendments at its June 10, 2014 meeting.

Regulation 4VAC15-20.
Definitions and Miscellaneous: In General.

4VAC15-20-65Hunting, trapping, and fishing license and permit fees.
4VAC15-20-130Endangered and threatened species; adoption of federal list; additional species enumerated.

Regulation 4VAC15-30.
Definitions and Miscellaneous: Importation, Possession, Sale, Etc., of Animals.

4VAC15-30-40Importation requirements, possession and sale of nonnative (exotic) animals.

Regulation 4VAC15-50.
Game: Bear.

4VAC15-50-11Open season; generally.
4VAC15-50-71Muzzleloading gun hunting.
4VAC15-50-110Use of dogs in hunting bear.
4VAC15-50-120Bear hound training season.

Regulation 4VAC15-80.
Game: Crows.

4VAC15-80-10Open Season.

Regulation 4VAC15-90.
Game: Deer.

4VAC15-90-10Open season; generally.
4VAC15-90-70Bow and arrow hunting.
4VAC15-90-80Muzzleloading gun hunting.
4VAC15-90-91General firearms season either-sex deer hunting days.
4VAC15-90-260Hunting with dogs prohibited in certain counties and areas.
4VAC15-90-293Chronic Wasting Disease deer carcass importation restrictions.

Regulation 4VAC15-240.
Game: Turkey.

4VAC15-240-10Open season; generally.
4VAC15-240-20Open season; certain counties and areas; Saturday prior to the last Monday in October and for 11 hunting days following, and on Thanksgiving Day.
4VAC15-240-31Open season; certain counties and areas; Saturday prior to the last Monday in October and for 11 hunting days following, on Thanksgiving Day, and on the Monday closest to December 2 and for 11 hunting days following.
4VAC15-240-40Open season; spring season for bearded turkeys.
Written comments on the proposed amendments must include the commenter's name, address, and telephone number.  Comments can be submitted online at, or email at or snal mailed the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn. Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230.  Again, they must be received no later than May 26, 2014.

Virginia Gun Ban Advocate to Accompany CSGV Billboard at NRA Annual Meeting

Got an email from CSGV around 11:00 this morning alerting me to the rolling billboard they will have in Indianapolis during the NRA Annual Meeting and said they wanted me to be one of the first to see it.  They also asked for money.  Below is the image that accompanied the email.
 The email went on to say:
As I explained previously, the NRA is hoping to dominate the media cycle with their usual propaganda about freedom, liberty and "good guys with guns" during the convention, but we are not going to let them get away with it. It's time the media and public learned that the NRA is run by a group of extremists who routinely trample on any freedom that gets in the way of gun industry profits and unfettered access to firearms.
The billboard is supposed to circle the convention center all weekend and highlight the  "offensive remarks" by NRA Board Members and staff that the group says it has catalogued.  They also plan to send Lori Haas, mother of one of the Virginia Tech shooting survivors and former member of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's transition team to Indianapolis to speak for the group.

Reconvened Session to Take Up McAuliffe Anti-Gun Amendment at Noon Today

The Reconvened Session of the 2014 General Assembly is at noon today to take up Governor Terry McAuliffe's vetos and amendments to bills passed this year.  There is only one bill, SB377, that has implecations to gun owners.  SB 377 sets up a voluntary process for licensed firearm retailers who are taking a firearm in trade or sale from a non-dealer, to check to see if the firearm in question has been reported lost or stolen.  The non-dealer seeking to trade or sell the firearm would be required to sign a consent form allowing the check.  As passed, if the firearm was found to not have been reported lost or stolen, the consent forms would have to be destroyed within two weeks.  Governor McAuliffe amendmend the bill to specify the forms could not be destroyed prior to 90 days and also makes no mention of a requirement to destroy the forms, setting up a backdoor registration process.  VSSA has asked Senators to reject the amendment.  As soon as the bill comes up for action on the floor, we will share the results on the VSSA Twitter feed and on Facebook.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shannon Watts, Bloomberg, Use Virginia as Proof They Will Win

It's become a standard talking point for Mike Bloomberg and the people associated with his various offshoot organizations and it continued with this interview by David Gregory of NBC's Meet the Press:
We’ve shown that we can make a difference in the voting booth too: Joe Baca in California. Robin Kelly in Nevada. And just look at the triple crown in the most recent elections in Virginia, also home to the NRA. Terry McAuliffe, the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General all won by making fixing Virginia’s gun laws a campaign issue. And they won because of – not in spite of – this position.

According to Bloomberg et al, gun control is why McAuliffe and his running mates won in Virginia in 2013.  The inconvenient truth is that Cuccinelli's campaign was the worst run since the 2001 Mark Earley campaign and McAuliffe avoided talking about gun control until many polls showed him with a 10 point lead. The GOP Lt. Governor candidate while a solid conservative had made some comments that were easily taken out of context, causing him to lose by more about twenty points, which likely dragged down GOP Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain to defeat by about 907 votes.  The talking point works for those who don't know about or follow Virginia politics but there were a lot of reasons that McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli and being a proponent of gun control was the least of them. 

The fact is McAuliffe did not actively support or lobby for any of the gun control measures introduced during the General Assembly.  He has resorted to amending a total of two pieces of legislation that easily passed both houses of the legislature by attaching gun control measures to them. He was defeated on one before the end of the session and the second bill awaits action on Wednesday of this week during the reconvened session.  It is likely to fail as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why Mark Warner is Still Popular

Yesterday was the annual Wakefield Shad Planking. For those not familiar with the event, The Wakefield Ruritan Club has hosted The Planking since 1949 on the wooded property of the Wakefield Sportsmen's club near Route 460 in Sussex County, Virginia, about an hour southeast of Richmond and an hour west of Virginia Beach. It is held on the third Wednesday in April each year.  Originally an all Democrat, all male, all white event, today it is overwhelmingly Republican and open to all interested in drinking free adult beverages and eating shad -- the oily, bony fish smoked for the occasion on wood planks over an open flame.  It's a place for candidates to see and be seen and for the politically active to renew old friendships and talk about the likely winners and losers of the year's coming campaign season. 

U.S. Senator Mark Warner was yesterday's featured speaker and Bearing Drift notes that even though Warner has become uncomfortable talking about his support for Obamacare, he at least should be given credit for doing something that the last two statewide Democrat candidates decided not to do, show up.  Warner hasn't abandoned what go him elected in 2001 - going to rural Virginia.

And Warner played his usual "bipartisan" self in his remarks to the assembled crowd:
“Today, we’re not Democrats or Republicans; we’re Virginians and Americans, first and foremost,” Warner said, thanking the Wakefield Ruritans for raising money for rescue squads, Little Leagues and scholarships.

“Of course, looking at this crowd, I realize I’m here as an endangered species, a Virginia Democrat,” he added, pausing a bit for the laughter to subside.

“Looking around the crowd, that’s kind of like Republican women here as well — not many of either one of us,” Warner said, smiling to a burst of energetic female screams meant to prove him wrong. “I knew I’d get ’em,” he said.
Shows why even with Ed Gillespie raising over $2 million over the last 75 days, why he has an uphill battle unseating Warner this year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bloomberg Plans to Spend $50 Million to Create "Grassroots" Support for Gun Control

The New York Times has this story on how Michael Bloomberg is going to spend $50 million creating an "umbrella group" to create grassroots support for gun control:
Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.
Looking to model his approach after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Times reports that Bloomberg is going to get away from the usual TV advertising campaigns that have long been a staple of the gun ban groups and plans to:
...put a large portion of his resources into the often-unseen field operations that have been effective for groups like the N.R.A. in driving single-issue, like-minded voters to the polls.

He's basically personally taking over Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Shannon Watts' Moms Demand Action, putting them into a new group called Everytown for Gun Safety.  Never mind that none of these groups have anything to do with teaching gun safety, and everything to do with banning firearms they don't like.

Democrats who want to retain control of the U.S. Senate have been less than thrilled with Bloomberg's efforts of late since he has targeted "Red State" Democrats as well as Republicans who did not support his positions.  Trying to put forth a bipartisan persona, he is also creating an advisory board that include individuals associated with both parties.
Underscoring his desire to work with both parties, Mr. Bloomberg is bringing on a new advisory board with prominent Republican and Democratic figures. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush; Eli Broad, the philanthropist; Warren Buffett, the investor; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Mr. Bush and President Obama, will all be board members.

The difference between the NRA and gun ban groups is the NRA has actual members who have some skin in the game - protecting their rights.  They own firearms and want to continue to be able to do so.  That's why even though the paid membership of the NRA is only about 5 million out of an estimated 110 million gun owners, a lot more than 5 million people associate their views with that of the NRA.  I'm not really sure there is this groundswell in a segment of the public to do for the gun ban lobby what gun owners are willing to do to protect their rights like volunteering to help like minded politicians and get out an vote for that issue, sometimes at the expense of other issues they support.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have Americans Finally Had Enough of Government Overreach?

Opening up the news feeds this morning and I find what I think is a pattern. 

As Many As One Million Armed New Yorkers Are About To Break The Law

Feds play waiting game at Nevada ranch

Now that second one is a little more complicated and it is not as easy to come down squarely with the ranch owner but there is also some appearance of cronyism by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Having said that, the picture of citizens  (mostly unarmed) standing up to armed federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff is striking

Courtesy of National Review Online
Tom Gresham addressed the latter during the first few minutes of his "After Show" on Sunday.  Add to this the stories of Connecticut gun owners resisting registration of their firearms and ammo magazines by the deadline and you come to the question, has the American people, or at least a portion of the public, finally seen that government is taking away more and more of our liberty and had enough?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bob Marshall Makes National Review's Bad Primary Candidates List

It's primary season and National Review Online had this article by John Fund yesterday on a couple of tea party aligned candidates that Fund considers to be disasters for the GOP if they win their nomination contests.  Virginia's own Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) makes the list.

Marshall is currently one of several candidates hoping to replace retiring 10th District Congressman Frank Wolf.  The so-called GOP establishment has circled the wagons around Delegate Barbara Comstock.  But Comstock is no RINO (Republican in Name Only), which is usually who Tea Party aligned candidates target.  Comstock has an "A" rating from the NRA, and beat back a Bloomberg funded candidate to win reelection in Northern Virginia in 2013.  She has also secured the endorsement of conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin, no fan of the GOP establishment and a big fan of the Tea Party, and movement conservatives like Morton Blackwell.

There is a "fire house" primary scheduled for Saturday, April 26 to decide the GOP nominee.  While not a party convention that usually only the most dedicated activists attend, a fire house primary still has lower turn out than an actual primary.  Fund notes that Marshall has performed well in these low turnout environments in the past, like in 2008, when he lost a U.S. Senate primary to former governor and NRA Board member Jim Gilmore by just 66 votes out of more than 10,300 votes cast at a state GOP convention. And that could be the problem.  If he wins there will be a lot of past statements that Democrats will use against Delegate Marshall:
Marshall’s problem is that his extreme rhetoric marks him as easy prey for Democratic attack ads in November. In my view, he is a dead-weight loser — and I almost never reach such a conclusion about a conservative candidate in a competitive district.

Last Thursday, the Washington Times did an analysis of his record and noted that “Marshall has said disabled children can be God’s vengeance against women who have had abortions.” Indeed, in 2010, Marshall spoke at a rally calling for an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood. “When you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” he claimed. “This is a special punishment, Christians would suggest.”

After an uproar, Marshall waited five days to offer a quasi-apology, saying he had been misconstrued. But days after this walkback, he took to the House floor and claimed his statement had “been repeated endless times in print and in the electronic media without anyone producing the smoking-gun tape.” In reality, his words had been posted on YouTube for several days and can still be found there.

“He’s Todd Akin on steroids,” adds one Northern Virginia conservative activist who has endorsed no one for the seat. He noted that after last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down a gay-marriage ban in California, Marshall said, “For all I know, [Justice Anthony] Kennedy is a homosexual.” When asked by the Washington Times about his comment, he defended it: “Clearly, some of the people making these decisions must be rationalizing their own bad behavior.” Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been married for 51 years and has five children.
Marshall has support from the Tea Party in his home county.  The fact that tea party booster Mark Levin is on Comstock's side, may be what she needs to overcome Marshall's claims that she is not conservative enough.  Anyone who has listened to Levin knows he is not going to support a squish.  In the end however, she has to turn out more people than the other candidates on April 26.