Friday, July 3, 2020

Some Great 2A News Resources

If you would like some great resources for up-to-date Second Amendment News, here is a list of some of the VSSA Legislative Director's live Daily and Weekly sources:

Weekly Sources
Tom Gresham's Gun Talk Radio Show - Sundays 2PM-5PM Eastern
Mark Walter's Armed American Radio - Sundays 8PM-11-PM Eastern

Bearing Arms Cam and Company  - Usually posted by 3PM Eastern daily
Lock and Load RadioMon-Fri: 6:00pm-9:00pm Eastern

These are all great sources for the latest 2A news.  There are also many good podcasts available on a number of firearm related topics.  Just go to your favorite podcast aggregator (Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts etc.) and use search terms like firearms, or gun rights to find them.

General Assembly August Special Session and Gun Control

In Monday's VSSA eBullet Member Newsletter, we mentioned that Governor Northam believes the new gun control laws signed into law are a good start and wants more.  Since that email was sent to members there has been a lot of chatter online that the Governor doesn't intend to wait until January of 2021 to begin that push, but will use the planned August Wuhan Virus Special Session to begin his push.  What we know for sure is that special session will address budget issues related to the virus as well as "Police Reform" measures.  The Legislative Information System as of today does not have a Special Session Page so there are no bills posted for that session.  We will continue to monitor that site for any changes.

As to reports of the Governor's intentions on gun control, Monday's eBullet shared a link to a podcast where gun ban advocate and unofficial gubernatorial gun ban advisor Lori Haas said she had a whole list of changes she wants.  Reports floating around the web include many of the failed measures that didn't even get a hearing during the last session which include taxes on firearms and ammo, restrictions on indoor and outdoor ranges, and of course, the big enchilada that eluded the Governor this year, HB961 - Delegate Levine's ban on most all semi-automatic firearms.  Gun owners should remain vigilant and use the next month to contact your legislators.  If you live in the districts of Senator's Chap Petersen, Creigh Deeds, John Edwards, or Scott Surovell, please contact them and urge them to oppose any attempt to revive HB961.  The bill was carried over until the 2021 Session but could be revived in August.  If you are a member of a gun club that is in their districts (Senator Petersen's district is just outside of the Arlington/Fairfax IWLA boundaries but he referenced the club during the session), invite them to the club to see how modern sporting rifles are used for competition by the members.  As more news is available, we will contact members.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

New Gun Control Laws Take Effect Today

Today, the gun control bills passed by this year's General Assembly and signed by Governor Northam take effect. These bills are:
  • HB 2/SB 70 Criminalizes private sale of firearms - All sales of firearms, including private sales must now undergo a background check before the transfer can be made. Firearm loans, gifts, and transfers that do not involve an exchange of value (money) may still occur without a background check.
  • HB674/SB240 Red Flag Laws / Extreme Risk Protection Orders
  • HB 812/SB 69 Handgun Rationing limits purchases to one per month. Individuals that possess a valid concealed handgun permit are exempt from this limit.
  • HB9 Mandatory reporting of lost/stolen firearms.
  • HB1083 Penalties for "recklessly allowing minors 14 and under access to firearms will now carry a penalty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (the penalty for this had been a Class 3 midemeanor)
  • SB35/HB421 allow localities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events.
  • SB479/HB1004 prohibit individuals subject to protective orders from possessing firearms, require them to turn over their firearms within 24 hours, and certify to the court that they have turned over their firearms.
VSSA, working with the NRA and other firearm groups, successfully lessened the impact that many of the above bills would have had if they had passed as originally introduced.  These efforts were also successful in beating back the most heinous of the bills, Delegate Levine's so-called "assault weapons" ban (HB961).  Northam has made it clear he plans to come back for more next year. He even appointed gun ban advocate Lori Haas to the Virginia Crime Commission. Haas, and Northam's Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran recently appeared on a leftist political podcast and outlined what they had planned. Haas said she has a "big list" of what she wants to do next year.

Now is the time to push back on any new gun ban bills.  We can beat Northam's gun ban if we continue to work with the four Senators who helped defeat HB961.  If you live in the districts of Senators Creigh Deeds, Chap Petersen, John Edwards or Scott Surovell , please reach out to them and ask to meet with them and explain why modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 are the move popular rifle in America.  If you compete with these rifles, share this information with them and let them know how these rifles are used in competition most every weekend across the nation.  They need to hear from you now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Federalist: SCOTUS Gun Case Denials Signal Conservative Justices Don’t Trust Roberts With The Second Amendment

Larry Keene, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation has a piece at The Federalist, that digs deeper into Monday's SCOTUS denial of cert to almost a dozen Second Amendment related cases. Keene says it appears to be an admission that the conservative associate justices think Chief Justice John Roberts can’t be trusted to protect the Bill of Rights.
These four associate justices could have voted to hear any of the 10 petitions, but not all four chose to bring the cases before the court. That’s telling in as much as it is disturbing. The fact that four justices who complained the court needed to hear Second Amendment cases passed on 10 chances to do so tells us much about the court’s “swing vote.”

One or more of the conservative justices are in essence telling us Roberts cannot be trusted to interpret the Second Amendment as written, or faithfully apply the precedents of the Heller and McDonald decisions. He ruled in the 5-4 majority in both those cases.
Keene is right when he says that means the 2020 election will put the direction of the Supreme Court back into focus, just as the 2016 election did. It's clear it will take at least one more solid originalists justice to move the court in a direction that will protect our Second Amendment Rights. That makes it critical that every gun owner is registered to vote and then exercises that vote in November for the only candidate that will be able to assure that result - Donald Trump.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Roanoke Times: Virginia Gun Sales Skyrocket in First Five Months of 2020

The Roanoke Times reported yesterday that FBI statistics show that criminal background check requests submitted for gun sales in Virginia during the first five months of this year are up 77% over the same period last year:
Robert Marcus, the owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in downtown Norfolk, said he's seen gun sales jump many times during the three decades he's owned the store, but never like this.

“It's incredible,” Marcus told The Virginian-Pilot. “There are are a lot of extraneous things going on now that have caused guns to become very desirable.”
According to the Times, sales first started to increase due to the Democrats winning a majority in the General Assembly, then the Wuhan Virus hit in March and now you have the civil unrest. It is all a recipe for a surge in gun sales and new gun owners.

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

Virginia’s Junior Olympic Pistol Athletes

The Commonwealth has seen an explosive growth in junior Olympic pistol shooters in the past year with a record 23 qualifications for the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship. Athletes competed in 10-meter Air Pistol and/or 25-meter Sport Pistol, both of which are Olympic events. In order to receive an invitation to the national championship, athletes must have achieved a qualifying score at a junior Olympic state championship.

The Virginia Junior Olympic Championship for Air Pistol was held in Centreville and hosted by the Arlington-Fairfax Izaak Walton League. The Sport Pistol championship was held in Fairfax at the NRA Headquarters Range. 25-meter Sport Pistol and 10-meter Air Pistol are Olympic events which are regulated by USA Shooting, the national governing board for Olympic shooting sports. Junior athletes from across the Commonwealth recently received invitations to compete in the national championship which is held at the National Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the event has been postponed until later this season.

Both the 25-meter Sport Pistol and 10-meter Air Pistol Virginia Junior Olympic Championships were organized by Coach Mark Budgeon of the NoVA Sharpshooters. Arlington-Fairfaix Izaak Walton League President Mr. Tom Ciarula was on hand for both competitions to award USA Shooting medals to the top athletes. Coach Budgeon has been the driving force in the explosive growth of Olympic pistol in Virginia having personally coached the overwhelming majority of the athletes who received an invitation on the NoVA Sharpshooters and LoCo Motion teams.

(over 20 athletes from across the Commonwealth participated)
The following athletes received invitations to National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship:

(Left to right:  Lauren Creese - Bronze, Cristina Alvarez – Silver and Suman Sanghera State Champion)
Women’s Air Pistol
Christina Alvarez – NoVA Sharpshooters
Lauren Creese – NoVA Sharpshooters
Lillianna Holland – Independent Athlete
Josephine Mou – NoVA Sharpshooters
Suman Sanghera – NoVA Sharpshooters (State Champion)

(Left to right:  Derek Liddle – Bronze, Ethan Jardines – Silver, Bhavjeet Sanghera State Champion)
Men’s Air Pistol
Justin Berry – Rockingham 4-H Rockin’ Shots
Zachary Dantzlerward – NoVA Sharpshooters
Paine Gronemeyer – NoVA Sharpshooters
Ethan Jardines – NoVA Sharpshooters
Derek Liddle – Rockingham 4-H Rockin’ Shots
Victor Mou – NoVA Sharpshooters
William Regala – NoVA Sharpshooters
Bhavjeet Sanghera – NoVA Sharpshooters (State Champion)
Connor Shea – NoVA Sharpshooters

(Left to right:  Lori Ann Madison – Silver, Suman Sanghera – Gold, Paine Gronemeyer – Bronze, Victor Mou – Gold, Josephine Mou – Bronze, Bhavjeet Sanghera – Silver)
Women’s Sport Pistol
Lori Ann Madison – NoVA Sharpshooters
Josephine Mou – NoVA Sharpshooters
Suman Sanghera – NoVA Sharpshooters (State Champion)

Men’s Sport Pistol
Jack Bright – Team LoCo Motion
Maccoy Gilkison – Team LoCo Motion
Paine Gronemeyer – NoVA Sharpshooters
Ethan Jardines – Team LoCo Motion
Victor Mou – NoVA Sharpshooters (State Champion)
Bhavjeet Sanghera – NoVA Sharpshooters

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 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.