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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Virginia's Changing Demographics and Gun Rights

I have written in the past (here and in VSSA's publication - The Bullet) that more liberal minded urbanites and suburbanites moving into rural areas are driving the fight that we have been engaged related to gun ranges. Much of this is liberal anti-gunners escaping the Beltway after retirement but a friend who is a political consultant said this also explains why Henrico County, a western suburban county in the Richmond area, has voted for Democrats two out of the last three statewide elections (with George Allen squeaking out a win in the county over Jim Webb last year). In Henrico, the arrival of the Philip Morris national headquarters brought with it many New York liberals.

Jim Beacon over at Beacon's Rebellion analyzes this in more detail after House Speaker Bill Howell's comments about the states "newest residents" and how they may not embrace the "share values we have in Virginia." Most commentators and Democrat detractors have focused on immigrants (both legal and illegal) in discussing this comment - trying to drive a wedge in this important election year. But Beacon, understanding what Howell was getting at, writes about the massive influx of out-of-staters, mostly northerners, into Virginia and how it is altering the commonwealth's political complexion. This will not only impact who controls the State Capitol but has implications for gun rights as well. It is no secret that as you move north from Virginia, that with the exception of Pennsylvania and Vermont, guns are tightly regulated.

Beacon's comments are worth the read. While he does not talk about guns, gun owners should think about the changes he does mention and what they will do to our issue by extension. I agree that the changing demographics are "something that we have to adjust to." I rework the question Beacon poses by substituting "changing economy" and "economic opportunity" with guns and gun rights to get the following: Will northern-born voters bring the same values and re-create the same kind of political climate that constricted the rights of gun owners in their home states? Are the attitudes of the newcomers toward guns and role of government compatible with Virginia maintaining its gun rights friendly atmosphere? Bottom line: Is Virginia's government destined to look more like New York's and New Jersey's and less like North Carolina's and Georgia's? If so, what will that mean for our firearms freedom?

You can read Beacon's post here.


Jack Landers said...

I want to gently point out something you are doing which tends to alienate many other would-be NRA supporters. In the course of this blog entry you wrote the following:

"Most commentators and Democrat detractors have focused on immigrants..."

See, the appropriate and polite way to phrase that is 'commentators and Democratic detractors...'

A couple of years ago, the whole 'always say 'Democrat' rather than 'Democratic' thing got handed out as a talking point by some Republican strategists. I realize that most Republicans now just do it unconsciously rather than an intended insult. But understand that to any member of the Democratic party, that jumps out from the screen like you are giving them the middle finger.

If you were just a Republican blogger I wouldn't bother to mention it. But you are writing as an official representative of the NRA - not the Republican party.

I happen to be a Democrat and I have also given money to the NRA. I hold a hunting license and a concealed weapon permit and an 03-FFL. And I really don't appreciate being subtly given the finger when I work hard to protect our Second Amendment rights.

The NRA is not a part of the Republican party. But it was only when you endorsed Creigh Deeds for AG that I finally felt like I was welcome enough to send in my dues and join up. I can't even remember how many times I have heard NRA representatives grousing about all of the millions of 'free-loaders,' or gun owners who do not support the NRA. Well, when you make half of the country feel unwelcome through an overall Republican tone, I don't believe that the NRA has any right to complain about freeloaders.

I know a great many other Democrats who support the Second Amendment and own guns but will not consider supporting the NRA because they see you as a mere extension of the Republican party. It's a lot of little things that add up to that image. Please start welcoming us along with our dues and our votes and start with the way that you refer to us in your blog.

VSSA President said...


Thanks for your comment. Just for the record, I am not an official representative of the NRA. This is a blog for the Virginia state affiliate association and NRA does not control the content (though we do not make any recommendations or endorsements that go counter to what NRA makes).

It was not meant to slight gun owners who are Democrats. In fact VSSA has worked with several Democrats in the the General Assembly (Senators Roscoe Reynolds, Ed Houck, Creigh Deeds, and John Edwards come to mind) that are good friends of gun owners.

Again, thank you for your comment and I will keep your suggestion in mind when posting in the future on political matters. I hope you will continue to visit the blog and will consider joining VSSA if you have not already done so.

Jack Landers said...

vssa President,

Thanks for your kind words. I got the wrong impression from the text reading 'The Official NRA State Association' on the main page. I don't know much about the VSSA but have enjoyed reading your blog.