Friday, May 1, 2020

Virginia Dominates National Championship

Collegiate teams from the Commonwealth recently competed in the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) Collegiate Nationals at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Talladega, Alabama facility. - The Liberty University Action Shooting Team and the Virginia Tech Corps Marksmanship Unit (CMU) competed against 10 collegiate teams who fielded a total of 46 competitive 4-person squads. SASP awards both squad and individual awards, and Virginia teams took the lion’s share of both across multiple categories.

In the Rimfire Pistol Iron Sights Division, Liberty University took the National Championship with the Virginia Tech CMU besting their archrivals the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit by nearly 20 seconds. At the individual level, Liberty’s Sam Verdoorn and Sam Stover took 2nd and 3rd place respectively among males. In the Rimfire Pistol Optic Division, Virginia Tech’s CMU took 3rd place and at the individual level CMU’s Cadet Adam Jardines took 2nd overall in the male category with Cadet Brianna Smiley taking 3rd in the female category.

In Rimfire Rifle Iron Sights, Liberty University’s “Blue” squad took the championship with its “Red” squad taking 3rd place. At the individual level, Christian Morgan took 2nd place in the male division. In Rimfire Rifle Optic Division, Liberty’s “Blue” squad took 1st place with Timothy “TJ” McFarland taking 2nd for males and Connelly Weems taking 2nd among the females.

In the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) Division, Liberty again took the national championship, thus capturing the national title in all divisions the university entered. An incredible achievement by the students and their Head Coach, Bill Crawford. At the individual level, Sam Verdoorn took 2nd for males and Connelly Weems took 2nd for the ladies.

SASP State Advisor Dr. Eliot Jardines stated, “Our collegiate teams have achieved tremendous success in a very short period of time. This was only Liberty University’s second time at Collegiate Nationals and their dominance is unquestioned. The Virginia Tech Corps Marksmanship Unit was established just before winter break in mid-December and largely practiced with simulators. To have placed 3rd in a division is a testament to the hard work the cadets put in and to Head Coach Jones’ vision. We look forward to seeing both teams again at the Virginia/West Virginia Championship later this summer at Shadow Hawk Defense.”

Both teams have established MidwayUSA Foundation endowment accounts and would greatly appreciate any donations to help them establish a firm financial foundation. Donations are tax-deductible – to donate please the links under each photo:
Liberty University athletes with the Tammy Mowry Rifle Cup
Cadets from the Virginia Tech Corps Marksmanship unit and their coach MGySgt Lance Jones

VSSA Vintage Sniper Team Success in Florida

Not long before all of the shutdowns around the country began due to the Wuhan Coronavirus, the VSSA Vintage Sniper Team competed at the Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club Vintage Sniper Match sponsored by CMP on Saturday, 22 Feb, 2020 in Palm Bay, Florida.  The Team of Mike Jamison and Paul MacAlester won the match with a score of 370 (out of 400 possible) at distances of 300 and 600 yards with vintage 1903/A4 rifles.  Great job guys!
 
 

This Year's General Assembly Gun Grab Was Just Round One

VSSA has warned that this year's legislative attack on our freedom was just round one.  According to gun ban advocate Lori Haas and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, besides another attempt at banning commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, they have a whole list of things lined up for next year.  They appeared on a left-leaning podcast in mid-April called "Transition Virginia".  During the interview, Haas said her group, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), is already working with legislators to pass a ban next year.  Pointing to the 4th Circuit ruling upholding Maryland's semi-auto ban,  Moran said so-called "assault weapons" are not protected under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is no surprise that Moran pointed to Maryland because that is model that the patron of HB961, Delegate Mark Levine, pointed to when promoting his bill this session.

You can hear the Haas and Moran interview here.  If gun ban groups are already working legislators to pass a semi-auto ban, gun owners need to be doing the same thing.  We can't wait until January.

Hat-tip NRA-ILA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Commonwealth Mulling Appeal to Loss in SafeSide Range Lawsuit

The Washington Post reports this morning that Attorney General Herring is considering appealing yesterday's ruling by Lynchburg Circuit Judge F. Patrick Yeatts’s that SafeSide Tactical in Lynchburg may reopen with social distancing and sanitizing guidance.
The office of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) said Monday that officials are mulling an appeal after the ruling.

“Governor Northam’s efforts to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19 are necessary and proving to be effective, but unfortunately, the gun lobby believes the ability to shoot a gun indoors during this pandemic is worth risking further spread of the virus and making Virginia communities and families less safe,” Herring said in a statement.
What Herring did not say is that most all of those outdoor ranges that the Governor allowed to remain open are private clubs and are not open to the public like indoor ranges.  The Governor lost this one.  It will be interesting to see if he decides to just lick his wounds and hope that this is the only setback before finally lifting his "stay-a-home" order, or if he tests his luck with the Virginia Supreme Court and tries to have the injunction overturned.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Lynchburg Judge Orders Temporary Injunction Allowing Lynchburg Range to Reopen

WSET ABC13 News reported earlier today that a judge has granted a temporary injunction in the SafeSide Tactical of Lynchburg suit against Governor Northam. The range can reopen but must practice social distancing and sanitizing guidance.  The ruling only affects SafeSide and does not affect any of the other indoor ranges that are currently closed by the Governor's Executive Order.

The key takeaway from the ruling is this quote from Judge Yeatts:
The Governor appears to argue that, when he declares a state of emergency, he can ignore any law that limits his power, even laws designed to limit his powers in a state of emergency.
Pretty much sums up both Governor Northam, as well as Attorney General Herring, who defended the Commonwealth/Governor in the suit.

SCOTUS Moots NYSRPA vs New York City

In what appears to be a surprise move, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a ruling "Mooting" the New York Rifle and Pistol Association vs New York City case.  Cam Edwards over at Bearingarms.com has the report.
A divided Supreme Court declared on Monday that a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City gun law was made moot by the city and state’s last minute move to change the law in question. The 6-3 ruling saw Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh siding with the liberal wing of the court, while Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the opinion, arguing that the decision “permits our docket to be manipulated in a way that should not be countenanced.”
Cam went on to detail what Kavanaugh wrote in a concuring opinion:
And I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.
Many had penned their hopes on this case as the first step in putting some teeth into Heller and McDonald, as Justice Justice Alito rightly states in his descent that many lower courts are simply ignoring.  VSSA joined in an amicus brief supporting our sister organization in this case.

There are a number of cases still pending before the court, including challenges to New Jersey and Maryland’s concealed carry laws requiring applicants to show “good cause” before they can be approved.  We will now have to wait and see which, if any, of those cases the Court decides to take.

Today's action by the Court illustrates how important it is to re-elect President Trump.  It is clear we still need at least one, if not two additional justices with an originalist view of the Constitution on the Court.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

VSSA's 2020 Crush'n Clays Event Cancelled Due to the Wuhan Coronavirus

It is with great sadness that the decision has been made to cancel this year's Crush'n Clays® event scheduled for June 13. We had all hoped that the current restrictions related to the Wuhan Coronavirus would pass in time for the event to proceed as planned. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. The decision announced April 15th by the Governor to extend the initial restrictions and the projected course of the pandemic in Virginia make it even more unlikely that we would be able to hold an event like Crush'n Clays® in compliance with requirements for social distancing, etc. VSSA has coordinated with our affiliated club and co-host, Arlington/Fairfax IWLA, and St Jude, in making this decision. Both the Arlington/Fairfax IWLA and VSSA look forward to the event's return next year, bigger and better than ever.

Crush'n Clays® is not only the 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! For 22 years, Crush'n Clays® has been held in partnership with the Arlington/Fairfax IWLA and is an amazing success story. This tremendous achievement would not have been possible without the tireless support of our sponsors, volunteers and participants. Over the last 21 years, we've raised more than $350,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

We look forward to you joining us next year. On behalf of the kids of St. Jude's, thank you for your longtime support of this event.

Monday, April 13, 2020

USA Today: Feds Allow Drive-Up Gun Sales to Ease Dealers', Buyers' Coronavirus Worries

Over the weekend, USA Today reported that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), in new guidance to federally licensed firearm retailers, said Friday that dealers can provide drive-up or walk-up service to reduce health risks posed by the coronavirus.
Licensees "may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property, on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license," the ATF said in a Friday bulletin.

Transactions may not be carried from "a nearby space" that is not part of the dealers' property unless they are participating in qualified gun shows.

Larry Keane, general counsel for the firearms industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation, said Friday that the organization raised the issue with the ATF more than two weeks ago as dealers sought to navigate various government orders limiting business activity.
The new guidance comes as gun sales continue to spike due to the Wuhan Coronavirus. While indoor ranges are closed in many states (including Virginia) guns stores remain open in states with the exception of Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York and Washington. The new ATF guidance in no way alters the requirements for background checks.

USA Today went on to suggest that the new guidance may help the sales surge to go higher:
The new guidance could only further fan the surge in gun sales that has shadowed the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the FBI reported 3.7 million background checks, the most in a single month since the launch of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in 1998. The March numbers surpassed the previous single-month high of 3.3 million checks in December 2015.
Firearm retails have provided anecdotal evidence that many of those sales are to first time gun owners.  NSSF last week announced a list of resources for first time gun buyers and NRA announced that they have some distance learning alternative firearms training to fill the gap left from indoor ranges being closed in may places.  The NRA courses are live video conferencing and are basic safety courses that are easily delivered in a distance learning environment.  Video conferencing offers a way to interact with students.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

NRA Steps Up to Offer Online Training for New Gun Owners

Recognizing that many indoor ranges are closed, and we heard from one member here in Virginia that the outdoor ranges to which he belongs are also closed, NRA General Operations has announced a number of online training opportunities that can provide some important knowledge for the first time gun owner.
"These courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don't have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time," said Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations. "While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home."

Those courses include:
  • Gun Safety Seminar
  • NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course - Distance Learning
  • NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course - Distance Learning
  • NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course - Distance Learning

Each course, lasting from one to eight hours, is available at NRAInstructors.org.
The Distance learning options are live instruction, not a pre-recorded training.  I checked one offered this month and the course is live online instruction via video conferencing.

Hat tip Bearingarms.com.

March Gun Sales In Virginia Jump 75% Over March 2019.

The Times Dispatch reports that he Virginia Firearms Transaction Center recorded 80,228 transactions in March.  That's a 75% jump over March 2019 and the highest total for any month on record since state police began tracking the data in 1990, according to mandatory criminal background checks on Virginia gun buyers.
The March number surpasses the previous Virginia record of 75,120 transactions in December 2012, which experts said was fueled by fears of increased gun restrictions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.

The March record also adds to what has become Virginia’s longest sustained spike in monthly gun sales ever. It began with December’s 73,849 transactions and continued in January and February with 65,839 and 64,070 transactions, respectively.

State firearm dealers say the surging sales can be attributed to the virus scare, along with the lingering effects of increased gun control measures passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.
With so many first time firearm purchasers, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has created the below resource that will help in making the purchase, and safely storing the firearm at home when not in use.
With indoor ranges still considered "non-essential" by Governor Northam, and most outdoor ranges are private gun clubs, it will be difficult for these new gun owners to receive training (VSSA is working to get the Governor to change his order on indoor ranges).  There are resources however that can be helpful.  Gun Talk Radio's Tom Gresham has the "First Person Defender" video series.  There is also Rob Pincus' Personal Defense Network web site which has numerous free training videos as well as videos behind their pay wall.  While not the same as live fire training, you will learn valuable information from such training videos.  Besides the info graphic above, NSSF has a number of resources for first time gun owners.  If you know someone that has purchased their first firearm and you have access to an outdoor range, offer to take them so they can learn to safely use their new firearm.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

NRA Suspending All Sanctioned Matches through April 30

Due to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, the NRA is unfortunately suspending all sanctioned matches through April 30th 2020. Any requests for sanctioning of new matches, beyond April 30th, are also suspended until further notice. As a result of this suspension, the NRA will no longer accept match fees or scores. The NRA will continue to monitor the situation and make additional statements as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Please contact the NRA Competitive Shooting Division at comphelp@nrahq.org or follow the NRA Competitive Shooting Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nracompetitiveshooting/​  or monitor https://competitions.nra.org