Thursday, January 14, 2021

Haner is Right - Virtual Assembly Amounts to Legislative Malpractice

Late yesterday afternoon, the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee convened via Zoom video conference to meet and take up legislation.  VSSA had previously signed up to speak in favor of HB1799, a bill that would add public land to the places that were allowable for Sunday Hunting.  Citizens were warned at the time of signing up that they would only receive a link to the meeting if it was anticipated that time may be available to speak - sign-up was "first come first served".  VSSA did receive a link to the meeting so it was presumed our representative would at least be given an opportunity to state the Association's support for the bill.  When the bill came up for a hearing, the chairman said 50 people had signed up and were in the waiting room to speak for or against the bill.  He said there was not enough time for all to be heard, and asked the patron if he and anyone he wanted to speak.  The person he suggested was a representative of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation.  He was the only person allowed to speak for the bill, and one person spoke against the bill - a representative of the Farm Bureau.  The bill was defeated on a 6-16 vote.

Last week, legislative veteran, lobbyist, and blogger Stephen D. Haner wrote about this year's session at the blog Beacon's Rebellion:

From our “Be Careful What You Ask for Department,” I give you the General Assembly “short session” that opens Wednesday, which is supposed to last only 30 calendar days instead of the usual 46. The Republican effort to limit the session’s possible output and impact is being answered by Democrats seeking to accelerate the process instead.

I was asked recently what my priority was for the coming session. The answer is to avoid a deep vein thrombosis from sitting all day, five or six days a week, straining to follow intense legislative discussions and legislative maneuvers with lousy sound and a screen that looks like Hollywood Squares crossed with musical chairs.

Doing a General Assembly at all under these conditions is legislative malpractice, a danger that should frighten all Virginians of any ideology. Nobody – not lobbyists, agency folks or average citizens – will have much luck getting input considered. Bills will be acted on far faster than even the digital tracking system can report. Expect fiscal and other impact reports to post well after bills have passed or even after the gavel falls “sine die” around Valentine’s Day.
Steve is write, what was experienced yesterday is nothing short of "legislative malpractice."

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

After Georgia Runoff Disaster Will Gun People Need to Follow This Path?

On Monday's Bearingarms.com's Cam and Company, host Cam Edwards talks about a piece written by 10th Amendment Center’s Matt Maharrey.  In the column, Maharrey urged gun owners to follow the lead of cannabis activists in going around federal law.  

Maharrey begins his open letter to “gun people” by acknowledging that Joe Biden poses a threat to the Second Amendment rights of Americans, even if the Senate were to remain in Republican hands. After all, he writes, “there are quite a few liberal Republican senators who might just go along with more gun control, especially if there is some kind of tragic shooting incident that gets people all riled up about guns again.”

We know that much is true. In fact, we’ve already seen Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey embrace the idea of “universal background checks,” even if there’s no way for the federal government to easily police private transfers of firearms. And Maharrey is also correct when he points out that “modern presidents have proven that they don’t really need Congress to implement gun control. They can do a lot of damage to the Second Amendment via executive order,” pointing to Donald Trump’s ban on bump stocks, which took effect in 2019.

None of that matters, according to Maharrey, “because the weed people have given you the blueprint to stop federal gun control in its tracks.”

Cam then goes on to lay out what Maharrey proposes. It is worth the time to listen.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Roanoke City Council Considering Gun Ban in Municipal Buildings

 The Roanoke Times has the story here.

The council scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Jan. 19 as it considers an ordinance to prohibit people from carrying guns inside the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, a goal of present and past council members for at least four years. Without discussion, the council set the public hearing as part of its consent agenda during Monday’s regular meeting.
If you live in Roanoke City, contact your council member and let them know you oppose this ordinance.  Also plan to speak at the public hearing on the 19th.   Roanoke City Council meetings are held in the City Council Chamber on the fourth floor of the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, located at 215 Church Avenue SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24011.  You can sign up to speak by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

ATF Raids Polymer80 - Maker of Firearm Build Kits

The Wall Street Journal broke the story last Friday:

The raid target, Nevada-based Polymer80, is suspected of illegally manufacturing and distributing firearms, failing to pay taxes, shipping guns across state lines and failing to conduct background investigations, according to an application for a search warrant unsealed Thursday after the raid took place.

The probe focuses on Polymer80’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit,” which includes the parts to build a “ghost” handgun. The kit, which Polymer80 sells online, meets the definition of a firearm, ATF investigators determined according to the warrant application. That means it would have to be stamped with a serial number and couldn’t be sold to consumers who haven’t first passed a background check.
Gun rights activist John Crump wrote on Ammoland:
The target of the raid centers around the company’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit,” which includes a slide, barrel, parts, the jigs, drill bits, and an 80% frame. The end-user would still need to mill out the frame to turn it into a working firearm. The ATF claims that because of the way the company sells the kits that these packages constitute firearms, and Polymer80 needs to serialize the frame.
After sharing the story on his web site, gun writer and radio host Tom Gresham asked the question "Is this the first of many moves to erode our 2nd Amendment rights or simply poor execution by Polymer80?"  Tom spoke with the Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb in the first hour of Sunday's program.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Messaging Matters

Cam Edwards has a piece over at bearingarms.com that illustrates that messaging matters.  While something may seem like a good illustration to make a point, it really does matter how we try to persuade people to our point of view.

The owner of a Castle Rock, Colorado plumbing company is apologizing after a digital sign for the business displayed a picture of a Nazi concentration camp guard shooting a Jewish inmate over the weekend. The picture, which was captioned with “Hitler gave Jews the gift of gun control, you know, because he cared about their safety,” was meant to serve as a warning about the dangers of anti-gun legislation, but Javier Hoggard, who owns Patriot Pros Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, quickly realized that the message was being lost when the complaints started coming in.
Just because something looks like it will make a great soundbite doesn't mean it is the best way to make a point.  It matters what we say and if we want to persuade others to our way of thinking when it comes to firearms freedom, we should choose our words carefully.

Tom Gresham Speaks with Clark Aposhian on the Larger Importance of his Bump Stock Law Suit

On yesterday's Gun Talk Radio, Tom Gresham's first guest was firearms instructor Clark Aposhian, who has a law suit pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Trump Administration's bump stock ban. 

Aposhian filed a lawsuit last January challenging the bump stock ban, arguing that outlawing the shooting accessory was unconstitutional because it amounts to the executive branch rewriting laws, a job reserved for Congress. He had asked a Utah federal judge to press pause on the ban while his lawsuit played out, but she ruled he did not show “a substantial likelihood of success” on the merits of his lawsuit.

A three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar decision in May, ruling he did not show he was likely to win his case or that the ban would hurt the public's interest.  His attorney's appealed that decision and asked for an enbanc review by the full court, which has been granted.  During yesterday's program, Aposhian discussed the larger inplications of his suit on gun rights in general and that this isn't just about bump stocks.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Thoughts on the Current Ammo Shortage

Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, VSSA's sister organization, shared the below information on the current state of ammunition availability with ISRA members yesterday.  VSSA thought you might be interested in this information:

The constant question everyone is asking is where all the ammunition is. There are all kinds of conspiracy theories out there but I don’t buy any of them at this time. The production of ammunition is more complicated than one might assume.

In the fourth quarter of each year, ammunition companies estimate what is going to happen in the following year. In 2019, ammunition manufacturers estimated how much raw material would be needed in 2020. Handgun and rifle ammunition requires lead, antimony, copper, zinc, aluminum, bismuth, bronze, rubber, steel, tin, tungsten, and several varieties of plastic. Additional waxes, types of oils, waxes, and other lubricants have to be purchased. In short, they have to buy a lot of stuff before they begin manufacturing.

The other factor is the ammunition companies run a full year’s production on one caliber and then reset the machine to run another caliber. There are not 9mm, 38 special, 380 ACP, 45 ACP or other calibers in ammo loading machines just sitting around waiting to be turned on. There is no order that says, “Hey Charlie, run over to the plant and run a couple million 9 mm’s.” It doesn’t work that way.

Think back to the Fall of 2019. The Election was a year away and things were relatively peaceful. In January, COVID-19 hit us, and later, George Floyd was killed. That is when things started to fall apart, at least as we know it. Ammunition sales went up and are now averaging 139% more than in 2019. There are 7,000,000 more gun owners in the United States than last year.

Ammunition companies are getting ready for the process to begin for 2021. They have to rebuy all the components that I mentioned earlier. Let’s guess they are buying 50% more than last year. That means the cost of materials may go up if supply is short. Remember, many other industries are using the same materials. That’s my take on the ammunition problem.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Blacksburg Town Council to Consider Ban on Firearms in Public Buildings and Permitted Events

 Blacksburg is the latest to take advantage of the gaping hole the Govenror and General Assembly created in Virginia's pre-emption statute.  The Roanoke Times has the story.

Blacksburg Town Council is set to act on a proposed ordinance to ban the carrying of firearms inside public buildings and on streets being used for festivals, among other places.

If passed, the ordinance would make Blacksburg one of just a handful of Virginia localities that have taken such action—something that localities can now do based on a local option measure passed by the General Assembly earlier this year and that took effect in July.

The council could take a vote on the matter at its Jan. 12 meeting.
If you live in Blacksburg you should contact council members now and let them know you oppose this proposed ordinance.