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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gun Owners Guide to Democratic Primary Pt. 1

There will be a primary next Tuesday, June 9th, to determine the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor. The Democratic candidate for Attorney General, Delegate Steve Shannon, has no opposition. To assist gun owners who plan to vote in the primary on Tuesday, VSSA offers some background on where the candidates stand on Second Amendment related issues. First up will be the candidates for Governor.

State Senator Creigh Deeds - Until recently, Deeds has been a 100% supporter of the rights of law abiding gun owners. He has consistently supported repeal of the ban on carrying concealed handguns in restaurants like Applebees, Olive Garden, and others that serve alcohol in addition to food. Until 2008, he consistently opposed attempts to force private citizens to conduct background checks on sales of firearms from their private collections. But using the tragedy of the Virginia Tech shootings, he has done a 180 on that issue, commonly referred to as "closing the gun show loophole." I have detailed on many occasions that there is no loophole so I won't repeat myself. But, I will provide some recent press coverage of Senator Deeds on the issue of firearms:

He has backed bills friendly to supporters of gun rights, such as a measure to let holders of concealed-weapons permits carry concealed guns into bars and restaurants. But this year he also authored a compromise version of a bill to restrict sales at gun shows. It passed in committee but failed to clear the Senate. Charlottesville Daily Progress May 24

Some progressive voters may look past Mr. Deeds, assuming he's too far to the right on social issues. They should look again. Yes, he describes himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment. He's willing, however, to put limits on gun ownership when the stakes are highest, brokering a compromise in an effort to close the state's notorious gun show loophole. May 22, 2009 Washington Post endorsement of Creigh Deeds

That record includes support for closing Virginia's so-called gun show loophole. Deeds backs the Second Amendment, but said he began to advocate tougher gun laws after the Virginia Tech shooting.

"The issue was that those parents put their grief, they funneled their grief, into that legislation. And I was determined to try to respond the best that I could," Deeds said.

Former Delegate Brian Moran: Delegate Moran was a consistent vote in favor of gun control until 2003. In 2005, he apparently decided he might be interested in running for statewide office and began to vote more in favor of the rights of law abiding gun owners. By 2007 he had raised he "D" rating to an "A". Based on the comments you will find below, I think it is safe to say if he wins the primary on Tuesday, that "A" rating will be down graded.

Moran also wants to close Virginia's so-called gun show loophole, as do both of his democratic opponents.

"That's all we're asking to do. Have a background check, close that loophole," said Moran. NBC

Moran Campaign responding to Washington Post endorsement of Deeds: We're entirely confident that Brian Moran's progressive vision will receive overwhelming support in Northern Virginia. He is standing firm …opposing guns in bars… Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog
Terry McAuliffe: The former Democratic National Committee Chairman has never held elective office. He says he is a hunter and a gun owner and offers platitudes about "supporting the Second Amendment." But judge for yourself after reading the comments below.

Like the other Democratic gubernatorial candidates, McAuliffe, who says he's an avid hunter, supports closing Virginia's so-called gun show loophole."It's not unreasonable to say that anyone who's buying a firearm ought to have a background check," said McAuliffe.
Finally, there is this clip from candidate's debate held recently at the College of William and Mary. The three candidates seem to fall all over themselves to see who is more in favor of gun control.

So, who should gun owners vote for on June 9th? I would normally say choosing Senator Creigh Deeds would at least insure that no matter who wins the general election we will be assured of finally repealing the "restaurant ban" but given what happened in Tennessee last week, nothing is assured.

If you don't know to what I am referring, last week, Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, who had said when he ran for re-election that he supported repeal of the ban on carrying in restaurants that serve alcohol, not only vetoed the bill when it hit his desk, he held a big ceremony to do so.

Given Senator Deeds has changed his position on background checks on private sales of firearms, I cannot feel confident that if a restaurant bill hit his desk, he would sign it. There is a better chance that he would sign it than either Moran or McAuliffe.

Therefore, VSSA has not endorsed in this primary race. Gun owners should use all available information in making a determination as to which of the Democratic candidates would protect our rights should they win the primary and the general election in November.

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