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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

John Lott: With Criminals Being Let Out of Jail, Gun Stores are Essential Businesses

Dr. John Lott had this article over on the National Review web site yesterday.
With police cutting back their efforts and inmates are being released from prison, it is prudent for Americans to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and their families. Hopefully, people won’t need guns any more than they do in ordinary times. But in these precarious times, even some of the most anti-self-defense Democrats realize that closing gun stores isn’t going to do anything to reassure people.
When the Governor of Illinois of all people recognizes that gun stores are essential businesses, you would think other anti-rights governors could also recognize this fact.  Fortunately for Virginians, the Code specifically states that the Governor cannot infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, including purchases.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

VSSA Take on HR5717

A relative messaged me on Friday related to a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives - HR5717.  It includes a lot of bad stuff like firearm licensing, "universal" background checks, a "red flag" provision, and a ban on modern sporting rifles and suppressors.  Having said that, it only has 18 cosponsors, in the anti-gun House of Representatives, which indicates that this bill is a step too far for a lot of the gun ban crowd currently in office.  It is not unusual for bills like this to be introduced every session, and not go anywhere.  We should remain vigilant, but this isn't a bill with which gun owners need to spend a lot of time.  If the intention was to sneak this by gun owners, they have obviously failed as VSSA has been tagged in Twitter posts about the bill and as I said, gun owning relatives have reached out to me personally.

If the bill does start to gain some steam and our posture needs to change, VSSA will alert members as soon as that happens.

NSSF Resources for Gun Owners and FFLs During Wuhan Coronavirus

In light of Governor Northam's Executive Order related to "non-essential" businesses, it is a good opportunity to take stock of what this means for gun owners.  If a gun shop has the ability to limit the number of people in the store to 10 (I can't imagine this would not be possible given that Costco is able to limit the number of people entering the store), they do not have to close.  Indoor shooting ranges are specifically mentioned and are considered "non-essential" in his order, but gun shops are not mentioned and are in fact protected by law.  According to the NSSF COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR FFLS the Code of Virginia Title 44. Military and Emergency Laws: Chapter states:
3.2. Emergency Services and Disaster Law,
Nothing in this chapter is to be construed to:
...(3) Empower the Governor, any political subdivision, or any other governmental authority to in any way limit or prohibit the rights of the people to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia or the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, including the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms except to the extent necessary to ensure public safety in any place or facility designated or used by the Governor, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any other governmental entity as an emergency shelter or for the purpose of sheltering persons;
So, unlike New Jersey and California, Virginians are protected by the Code of Virginia from orders prohibiting gun sales.

Hat Tip Cam Edwards.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Wuhan Coronavirus Gun Sales Surge Straining Background Check System

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the FBI via Newsweek, are reporting delays in the completion of background checks as the sale of firearms surge due to the media induced panic surrounding the Wuhan Coronavirus.   At the same time, San Jose has shut down a gun store as a "non-essential" business.  First the increased sales angle from Newsweek:
Gun sales have skyrocketed in recent weeks as panic over the spread of COVID-19 worsens.

Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry's trade group, said the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) informed his organization that the number of background checks processed on March 16 soared by 300 percent over the same day in 2019.

Federal background checks—which are performed by the FBI and are required when transactions occur through licensed dealers—are seen as a general proxy for gun sales.

Oliva added that, since February 23, the NSSF was told that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been running roughly double the number of checks it was over the same period in 2019.
February was the third highest month ever for NICS background checks since they began in 1998 according to Newsweek. The system saw a 36% increase in background checks.  While not a perfect indicator of firearms sales, background checks do provide a snapshot of what is occurring.

After processing over 14,000 background checks last week, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations announced steps it was taking to assist with the increased demand for background checks.

And in Pennsylvania, one gun shop had this to say:
Marty Patterson, assistant manager of National Armory in Moon, called it a “panic.”

“They’re guarding their toilet paper, pretty much,” he said. “It’s media hype, really — a panic spread by the media. Mostly they’re buying stuff to protect their home, a lot of shotguns, but — of course — handguns, too.”
This is not to say the Wuhan Coronavirus is not serious, it is.  But there has been no proportionality related to media coverage of the illness.  This nation has seen two other serious foreign pandemics in the last 10 years (both originated in China) yet opponents of the President are using this to gain an advantage in this year's election.

Regarding the San Jose gun show closure, the Mayor has closed it due to the city's "shelter in place" order.  Cam Edwards has the story at the above link.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Virginia 2A T-Shirt Supports VSSA

Here's your opportunity to get a t-shirt that shows you support the right to keep and bear arms in Virginia, and support VSSA.  Stickers are available too!  Just click the link to "Accessories".

Order by 9 PM CDT March 22, 2020 and get free shipping on orders of $45 or more, so order multiple shirts. There are several colors from which to choose.  Use Code “FREESHIP320a7a121”.  Just click the link above.  A portion of each purchase will support VSSA.

Dick's Sporting Goods Pulls Firearms from Over Half of Stores

The Wall Street Journal has the story here.
The company’s plans to eliminate the hunting department at about 440 more Dick’s Sporting Goods locations follows the earlier removal of the department at 135 stores. The company had 850 stores at the end of the last fiscal year, most of which were Dick’s Sporting Goods locations.

In 2018, following the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, Dick’s said it would sell guns only to people at least 21 years old, and would stop selling assault-style rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores. The company stopped selling assault-style rifles at its flagship Dick’s stores following the 2012 deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Firearms and ammunition are a shrinking part of the company’s business but Dick’s CEO Edward Stack has taken a public stance on the issue and lobbied for more stringent restrictions on firearms sales.
That shrinking part is largely do to a number of gun owners ending their patronage after Stack joined forces with the gun ban lobby and actively pushed for increased gun control.  Shortly there after the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, expelled the retailer from the association's membership. 

The retailer also reported its latest financial results yesterday and said it expects same-store sales for this fiscal year to be between about flat to up 2%. Last year Dick's saw the company’s same-store sales increase by 3.7%.   Stack has admitted that the company took a sales hit after he became a proponent for gun control.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Realizing What Happens When You Don't Vote

A VSSA member replied to the last legislative update with an email that said this:
I am a VSSA member and did vote in this last election. I think we’re going to get creamed if we don’t get everybody out to vote next time. I’m surprised when I speak with people now after what’s happened & that they’re not even registered to vote or don’t know how.

Question for you, can we please put on the VSSA site front page a link on how to register or where to register to vote?
To answer the questions, a link will be put on the VSSA web site. But to the larger point, this member was willing to identify (by name) as one of what is likely thousands of gun owners who did not vote last year and are now seeing the result of that inaction.  The question is, how many of the others are now willing to do next time what they did not do in 2019?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Washington Free Beacon: Virginia Gun Sales Surge as Dems Pass Gun Control

Stephen Gutowski at the Washington Free Beacon writes that firearm sales in Virginia surged as Democrats in the General Assembly were busy passing new gun control laws:
Nearly 66,000 background checks were performed in Virginia in February as the state's Democratic-controlled legislature weighs a number of strict background checks—a steep increase from the 40,381 checks performed in February 2019. Virginia experienced one of the most dramatic upticks in background checks—a strong indicator of total sales—in the nation, according to data released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Gun sales are up nationwide with average growth rates of 16.7 percent, according to the report, but the surge was especially dramatic in Virginia where checks rose by 63.4 percent compared to 2019.

The spike in Virginia gun sales, which have increased for four consecutive months, shows that guns remain at the forefront of many residents' minds. While Democrats dropped a proposal to ban so-called assault weapons after facing public backlash from Second Amendment activists, they have moved forward on seven other gun-control measures; five have already passed through both chambers while two more are slated for a conference committee. The remaining proposals—including a red flag bill, a one-gun-a-month purchase limit, and a universal background check bill—appear to be enough to drive Virginians to their local gun stores.
The story quoted a representative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) as saying the increased sales numbers should send a clear message to lawmakers as they weigh additional restrictions.
"They see that their elected representatives are infringing on their Second Amendment rights and they're buying the firearms they want to provide for their own protection."
The General Assembly is scheduled to wrap-up work tomorrow. A number of bills, including reinstating handgun rationing and a red flag law are already on their way to the Governor. The handgun rationing bill does include an exemption for people who have a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) so expect the number of people with permits to increase along with the sales that have already surged.

Bills Slowly Move Out of Conference Committee

Several bills moved out of conference on Thursday:

HB 2 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty. This bill was amended by the Senate to only require background checks on the sale of firearms, loaning a firearm to a friend or neighbor, or giving a firearm as a gift would not require a backgound check. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (Senate Version of the bill) be accepted to resolve the matter under disagreement. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (54-Y 44-N) The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 70 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information check, penalty. No conference report has been provided but it is expected to be the same result as HB2.

HB 1499 Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund; created. The Senate Version of the bill removed all references to "gun violence" and simply created the "Virginia Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be rejected and that the engrossed House bill be accepted to resolve the matter, which reinserts all references to "gun violence" as it was introduced. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (64-Y 34-N) The Senate Still needs to vote.

Thursday the Senate agreed to the House amendments to the companion bill of HB1499, SB248, on a vote of (23-Y 17-N) which now puts both bills in the same status.

HB 812 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. (Handgun rationing). The Senate amended this bill to include an exemption for concealed handgun permit holders as the Senate version included. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be accepted to resolve the matter. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (51-Y 48-N). The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 69 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. The Conference Committee Recommended that the House Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be rejected and that the Senate engrossed bill (that included the exemption for concealed handgun permit holders) be accepted to resolve the matter under disagreement. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (52-Y 47-N). The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 71 Firearms; possession on school property. No conference report has been presented.

SB 263 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence, effective date. The House had amended this bill to remove all references to NRA Certified Training as an acceptable demonstration of competence in addition to removing the option for online training. The House had already accepted the Senates changes to the companion bill which had added NRA Certified Training back to the bill and only removed the online training option. The Conference Committee recommended the original Senate bill. This means that both version now include NRA Certified Training as an option for demonstrating competence. The House approved the conference report yesterday. The Senate has not voted.

SB 64 Paramilitary activities; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity if such person brandishes a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance while assembled with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof. Such unlawful paramilitary activity is punishable as a Class 5 felony. 03/05/20 House substitute agreed to by Senate (21-Y 19-N).

The Session is nearing its end. Expect the Senate to vote on the conference reports today.