Friday, November 15, 2019

When Shooting Doesn't Fit Narrative, Change the Narrative

I guess the gun ban lobby has decided when the weapon of choice in a shooting is not the one they have demonized (i.e. the AR-15), then you come up with a new name for what was used.  Bloomberg's mouthpiece, The Trace, in reporting yesterday's school shooting in Los Angeles County, described the firearm used, this way:
Gunfire shattered another American school yesterday as a student armed with a powerful handgun went on a brief, deadly rampage in Southern California. "It's like a dream," said a sophomore. "But not a good dream, like a nightmare you can't wake up from." —Jennifer Mascia, engagement writer
You learn later down the daily newsletter that what the shooter used was a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

I don't want to get in a debate on whether the .45 is more power than say the 9mm or .40.  Depending on what one owns, they will have their reasons and believe they are the best firearm for them.  I'm guessing if the shooter had used one of the other two, the Trace would have described it the same as they did the .45.  So, get used to seeing "powerful handgun" used more in the future instead of just saying "the shooter used a handgun." It's all about demonizing every firearm.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Don't Despair Virginia Gun Owners

In Friday's eBullet, we shared an article about Governor Northam considering gun confiscation (even Bernie Sanders says that is unconstitutional, while admitting he wants to ban your ability to buy AR-15s in the future).  We know the other list of things he want's to do.  You may ask, with Democrats in control of everything, what can we do?  There are things we can do and we need to start now. 

If you have a Democrat Delegate or Senator, let them hear from you: I can't tell you how many times people have told me it's a waste of time to talk to gun control legislators.  That's bull.  If they know they have thousands of gun owners in their districts, they will take note.  There was one election this year decided by 18 votes, and in 2017, one was decided by a coin toss.  Letting a Democrat legislator know they have a significant number of gun owners in their district might be enough to make the difference between going full bore New Jersey in one session, or settling for just their top priorities (handgun rationing, "assault weapons" ban, "universal" background checks).    Don't just email them.  Find out when they have office hours and meet with them in person.  Also get everyone you know that is like minded to do the same thing.  We especially need women and youth shooters to be a part of this effort.  VSSA has a number of young shooters in the High Power Rifle Program.  AR-15s are used in some of this competition. You may know others.  They need to be the ones telling legislators this story, not the adults.  They should be at the Capitol on Martin Luther King Day when a lot of the lobbying groups are there to talk to legislators.  In the past gun control bills have been heard on this day.  Since that is a school holiday, we need youth shooters at the General Assembly on that day.

Litigation: In the past, VSSA has been proud to join forces with our sister state organizations to challenge unconstitutional gun control laws.  We were part of Heller, McDonald, the case against Maryland's "assault weapons" law, California's Peruta case, and are now part of the NYSRPA vs. New York case.  Now we need to be ready to be on the front end and challenge unconstitutional laws that may be signed by Governor Northam.  This can be costly, but we are laying the groundwork now.

The good news is there are several cases either already at the U.S. Supreme Court or on their way.  If the Court finds in NYSRPA vs New York case that gun laws must be looked at using "Strict Scrutiny"  that means the legislature will have to have passed a law to further a "compelling governmental interest," and must narrowly tailor the law to achieve that interest.  That is a difficult test to pass and could severely limit what the gun ban crowd can do.  VSSA will post more on these efforts as we move forward.

The bottom line is, don't be defeatist.  Yes, our work is cut out for us, we have to do the work to protect our rights.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Election Post Mortem

If you went to bed early last night, you woke up to the news that the Democrats flipped the needed seats in the State Senate to take complete control of the Virginia General Assembly in a generation.  It is the first time they have had control of the House of Delegates in 20 years.

Two things most likely contributed to last night's results  - turnout and a court redrawn assembly-district map.  Appropriations Chairman Christ Jones lost his race in the 76th House District.  Jones' district boundaries were basically flipped on a 90 degree turn by the court after racial gerrymandering was found by the court.  Northam failed to come to an agreement on a new map with House Republicans which set up the court to redraw about 11 districts.  This year's election will be the only one under the court drawn districts but Democrats and the Governor will have complete control of the 2021 Redistricting.  This morning, State Senator Elect Joe Morrissey said on John Reid's WRVA morning program that Democrats should follow through on passing a resolution form a "non-partisan" redistricting commission but he said he fears Democrats will want to exact retribution on Republicans and district them into oblivion.  Morrissey said that would be a mistake.

Also, it appears that turnout could be a record for an "off-year" election.  Typically these elections feature low turnout.  Since President Trump's election  Democrats have worked hard to turn out their voters in state and local elections.

Speaking at a victory rally last night, Governor Northam said that voters had spoken in favor of Democratic priorities like gun control.  Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, who survived the redistricting of his district to defeat three-time candidate Sheilia Bynum-Coleman, said Republicans would work with Democrats where they could and "speak out against overreaching policies where we must, and always seek to guard the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia."  Cox raised an unprecedented $1.8 million in a Virginia House race.  While Cox was sounding conciliatory, House Minority leader Todd Gilbert sounded a more ominous tone saying "Make no mistake: radical liberals from out of our Commonwealth will soon demand a return on the tens of millions they invested to elect a far-left Democratic majority."

Earlier this week, Fletch Daniels provided a warning at the American Thinker.  He said what has happened in Fairfax, Virginia, a formerly Republican bastion, is a warning for the rest of the country:
My home county of Fairfax, Virginia was once a safe suburban area with some of the best performing public schools in the nation. It's now a blinking warning sign to America as it hangs on the edge of complete disaster thanks to unchecked immigration and Democrat takeover of the government.

Even with the high concentration of government workers, Fairfax County was once a Republican bastion before it became a political battleground. The Bush/Cheney ticket won the county in a close race in 2000 and then lost it badly in 2004 due to a significant increase in Democrat votes.

Fairfax's descent into its current state started with a wave immigration, much of it illegal, into the area which washed away Republican political viability.
Former Delegate and VSSA member Bill Janis warned about this very thing - a change in the demographics - when he spoke to the attendees of the 2005 Annual Meeting.  He told us then that we needed to reach out to those new residents or they would have no connection to our 2nd Amendment freedoms.

So having said all this, what is the take away from last night's results?  One, don't throw away your base when you are running in a re-election simply because you think those issues like the 2nd Amendment that got you elected in the first place, are now an albatross.  Glen Sturtevant's campaign is a perfect example of this.  Tidewater based talk show host John Fredericks said yesterday:
This is the epitome of the silliest GOP campaign run this cycle. Does anyone have a clue what Sturdevant stands for? Or care? His television ice cream and soccer ball ads were laughable. We mocked them on our show on a daily basis. He abandoned his base on every key issue, and ran clear away from President Trump.
While Sturtevant was losing, Kirk Cox won by five points, even while his district went from being 63% GOP to 46.8% GOP (based on previous voting results).  He worked hard, and did not abandon his core or support, including his strong support for the 2nd Amendment.  Another example was Senator Amanda Chase.  She was beat up relentlessly by the Richmond Times Dispatch and an outside pack called Fund Her Virginia PAC.  In the end, she never backed away from her strong 2nd Amendment stance and she won by 11%.

In the end, the House lost 6 pro-rights members and the Senate lost 2.  Gun owners will need to be engaged so your legislators know where you stand.  VSSA will work our relationships with legislators with the intent of defeating legislation.  For instance, Senator Chap Peterson has been someone we have been able to work with on concealed carry issues.  He was a big reason that Terry McAuliffe overrode Mark Herring's attack on reciprocity.  When necessary, we will adopt what has been used in states - the courts - when necessary.

We need all gun owners on board.  If you have friends at your gun club that are not VSSA members, encourage them to join.  This is an all hands on deck moment.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Contributions was Never the NRA's Strength in Elections is reporting that Bloomberg's Everytown is outspending the NRA in Virginia this election.
October brought more donations to candidates in Virginia's elections and more knocks on constituent doors from both sides of the gun lobby.

Democratic coffers — which have reached historic levels of reported fundraising — swelled with October donations from Everytown for Gun Safety, a lobby group focused on reducing gun violence.

Everytown contributed $938,238 to the Democratic party in 2019, according to The Virginia Public Access Project. Over $600,000 of that total was given in September.

Everytown outspent the National Rifle Association this year, which donated $273,000 to Republican candidates. In September, based on campaign finance reports, the NRA donated a little over $54,000.
Bloomberg's mouthpiece The Trace is taking delight in sharing the report.
A gun reform group is vastly outspending the NRA in the run-up to Virginia's election. Everytown for Gun Safety contributed more than $600,000 to Democrats in September, while the NRA gave $54,000 to Republicans. Gun violence has emerged as a pivotal issue in the state’s upcoming legislative elections in the wake of the Virginia Beach mass shooting in May, which claimed 12 lives. “The politics of guns in Virginia has changed dramatically over the last few years,” Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, told the Capital News Service. (Everytown's non-political arm provides grants to The Trace.
But the fact is, money was never the strength of the NRA in elections, its strength was grassroots activity to turn out gun owners on elections day. NRA's Catherine Mortensen points out that is what they have been focused on this year as well.
The NRA has also been busy encouraging voter turnout this election. NRA grassroots activists knocked on 100,000 doors of targeted voters in recent months, according to Catherine Mortensen, NRA media liaison.

Also, the NRA rallied members at the State Capitol during the July special session that adjourned quickly with no action taken.
I was at the Capitol for the Special Session and the line of gun owners stretched around the building and it got longer and the time it took to get in the building took over an hour. 

Election day is November 5th. Make sure every gun owner you know votes!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Republicans Start from Behind in Election by not Challenging Seats Held by Dems

Yesterday, Jim Geraghty from National Review joined Cam Edwards on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about what’s at stake in this year’s elections.  Cam noted that there is a troubling sign from Republicans: the large number of seats currently held by Democrats that aren’t even being contested. He rightly pointed out that you can’t win if you’re not even competing, and before a vote is even cast Democrats and gun control advocates are already halfway to their goal of 51 seats in the House of Delegates. Jim Geraghty pointed out that if gun control groups are successful at flipping Virginia’s legislature, you can be certain they’ll take their game plan to dozens of other states in the 2020 election cycle.  Take a look at the interview below.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

What Starts in California Moves Across the Country

Craig DeLuz of the Firearms Policy Coalition spoke recently at the Gun Rights Policy Conference.  Without mentioning Virginia, he laid out pretty well what will likely come our way if we don't hold our pro-rights majority in this year's election.  Please take the just over 6 1/2 minutes of the video to watch his entire remarks.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mass Killings: Myth, Reality, and Solutions

Attorney Dave Hardy released a book in June on mass killings.  I'll let him tell you about it via the email he sent alerting VSSA to the book:
The one area where the anti-gun movement can still damage us is in the wake of a mass killing. (When was the last time you heard an anti argue for gun control as a solution to street crime? It was probably twenty years ago).

I researched the issue, and released a book via Amazon, “Mass Killings: Myth, Reality, and Solutions.” It buries the argument for gun control based on mass killings. Background checks? Mass killers will pass them all. Waiting periods? They plan for months. Ban AR-15s? They rarely use them. Ban standard cap magazines? Almost all carry two or more guns. And in any event, the most deadly mass killing in the world (in China) involved explosives, the most deadly in the U.S. involved a can of gasoline.

What will work? Media self-restraint. The killers are mostly extreme cases of narcissistic personality disorder: they’re willing to kill and die if it makes them an instant (evil) celebrity. If the media begins to ignore the killers’ names and pictures (as they did with the attack on Rep. Steve Scalise), the killers will have no motive. Beyond that, we can arm teachers: civilians have a track good record for stopping mass killers (I found the cases).

Here is the book’s Amazon page:
At less than 60 pages and less than $6.00, you don't want to pass up this book.