Wednesday, February 22, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 2/23/12

Not yet a VCDL member? Join VCDL at:
VCDL's meeting schedule:
Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT:

1. Christiansburg Supper Meeting on Monday, February 27th!
2. VCDL Meeting, Thursday, March 1st, 2012 in Charlottesville!
3. VCDL meetings at RRPC 2012
4. Holder tells Congress the Obama administration wants to ban guns
5. Kaine tries to use one-gun-a-month repeal against Allen, Marshall
6. Gun permit debate gets pointed
7. Tough targets: When criminals face armed resistance from citizens
8. RTD LTE: Criminals don't buy their guns in stores
9. Who needs a gun in a National Park?
10. Chicago resident chooses to carry illegally, possibly saves his life
11. Rossen Reports: Anyone can buy guns, no questions asked
12. Emily got her gun, and she wants to make it easier for you
13. **Some VA-ALERT subscribers were unsubscribed - spread the word**

1. Christiansburg Supper Meeting on Monday, February 27th!

**Street address below has been corrected from "NW" to "NE" ***

VCDL will have a supper meeting on Monday, February 27, 2012 at:

1130 Cambria St NE
Christiansburg VA 24073


Fellowship starts at 6:30 PM
Buffet meal starts at 7 PM.
VCDL meeting starts by 8 PM--we expect the meeting to last 1 to 1.5 hours.

Cost: $12.00 per person including buffet, salad for the tables, drink, and tip. (Does NOT include alcoholic beverages.) Speaker(s) to be announced. This is a FAMILY event.

Special considerations: Parking is limited to about 50 spots, so car pooling is encouraged.

SEATING in the meeting room is limited to about 50 persons. Additional attendees will have to sit in the main part of the restaurant and join the meeting after the meal.

We are asking for RSVPs by midnight, February 25th. Please indicate number attending in your group. Firm numbers are needed so the buffet can be prepared properly. (IF we should have less than 20 attending, the meal will be ordered from the menu).

RSVP to:


From I-81 take exit 118B (Virginia Tech exit) to 460 bypass, then take the Christiansburg exit, then immediately take the Downtown exit. Turn left at light on Cambria Street. Restaurant on left.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2. VCDL Meeting, Thursday, March 1st, 2012 in Charlottesville!

Our next meeting in Charlottesville will again be at the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club. RRPC has been a gracious host and we appreciate their continued hospitality!

We sincerely hope that you can join us. As always, you do not need to be a member of VCDL or RRPC to attend; in fact, we encourage you to bring your friends and neighbors. For those of you living in the area who are not members of RRPC this is an excellent opportunity for you to check out a very nice range. RRPC has been a valuable asset to the shooting sports community for many years and is very active in firearms education and safety.

We will begin at 6:30 PM with a pot luck dinner; the main course of corned beef and cabbage will be provided, as will beverages. Please bring a dish if you are able. If you can't bring something to share, please don't let that stop you from attending. We always have plenty! For food planning purposes, RSVP to

and include the number *eating dinner* in the subject line (example: 3/1 VCDL meeting, 2 for dinner).

Meeting will follow the dinner, probably around 7:30 PM, and we should be done by 9:00 PM.

Directions, from I-64 take exit 120 SOUTH (5th Street exit). Turns into Old Lynchburg Road. Follow for just under 4 miles to range on right, there will be a sign on the right just before the driveway. Go through the entrance gate and up the hill to the clubhouse.

1570 Old Lynchburg Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

3. VCDL meetings at RRPC 2012

Besides the meeting in item #2, above, there will be future meetings in the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club on the following dates:

Wednesday, June 6
Wednesday, August 29

4. Holder tells Congress the Obama administration wants to ban guns

Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:


From The Daily Caller:

By Chris Cox
February 8, 2012

Last Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer questions about his role in the deadly "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal. However, instead of answers, Congress got more defiance, more arrogance, and more wasted time with an attorney general who clearly feels no sense of obligation to the American people or our rule of law.

But for all the stonewalling, there was at least one telling moment at this hearing, and it should concern law-abiding gun owners and all Americans who expect accountability from our government.

In a rash attempt to deflect attention away from himself and his own irresponsibility, Holder let Congress know that the Obama administration is still working toward the day when it can reinstate former President Bill Clinton's so-called "assault weapons" ban. According to Holder:

This administration has consistently favored the reinstitution of the assault weapons ban. It is something that we think was useful in the past with regard to the reduction that we've seen in crime, and certainly would have a positive impact on our relationship and the crime situation in Mexico.

It's difficult to follow Holder's logic here, but it goes something like this ...

The Obama administration - particularly Eric Holder's Justice Department - oversaw an epic scandal whereby our own federal government illegally funneled thousands of firearms into the hands of Mexican drug lords. This contributed to the death of one U.S. Border Patrol agent and hundreds of Mexicans.

Despite being head of the Justice Department and our nation's chief law enforcement officer, Eric Holder claims he doesn't know how or why this scandal occurred, or even who under his charge may have authorized it. He also refuses to turn over critical documents to congressional investigators that could help prevent something this tragic and corrupt from ever happening again.

Therefore, Obama and Holder are confident that if they can ban a large number of the legal firearms that law-abiding Americans use every day for self-defense, hunting, and recreational and competitive target shooting, it will help solve Mexico's crime problem.

What's particularly galling about Holder's shallow and illogical attempt to use "Fast and Furious" to further the Obama administration's gun-ban agenda is that during the same hearing, he lectured Congress for playing political "gotcha" games in an election year.

Amazingly, Holder seems incapable of understanding that this isn't a Republican or Democratic issue, it's an American issue, and all Americans deserve to know how and why their government purposefully allowed thousands of guns to flow into the hands of murderous Mexican drug cartels. The family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry deserves to know why two of these guns were found at the scene of Terry's murder.

Eric Holder's Justice Department oversaw this illegal operation, but all Holder is willing to do is call for gun bans on law-abiding Americans, withhold critical information from Congress, and pat himself on the back for a job well done. As Holder told Congress on Thursday: "I'm proud of the work that I've done as attorney general of the United States, and looked at fairly, I think I've done a pretty good job."

Eric Holder has long since proved himself inept and incapable of holding the trust that Americans place in our nation's chief law enforcement officer. The longer Holder refuses to step down as attorney general, the more lasting his damage to this sacred institution will be.

5. Kaine tries to use one-gun-a-month repeal against Allen, Marshall

Kaine and Allen...what is the difference?

From The Washington Post:

By Anita Kumar
February 8, 2012

U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine (D) is urging his successor in the governor's mansion to veto a bill to repeal the state's one-per-month limit on handgun purchases.

Kaine is also using the contentious bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday to draw a distinction between him and at least two of the Republican candidates for Senate, George Allen and Robert G. Marshall, who support lifting the ban.

"I hope that others will stand with me in supporting this common sense measure which has improved public safety in Virginia and helped the Commonwealth shake its reputation as a supplier of handguns along the East Coast," Kaine said in a statement. "The long-standing law strikes an appropriate balance between the 2nd amendment rights of Virginians and the public safety interests of our citizens."

Pro-gun lawmakers have tried for years to end handgun purchase limits, imposed in 1993 under Democratic Gov. L. Douglas Wilder to curb gun trafficking.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who voted for the cap as a delegate but vowed to lift it as a gubernatorial candidate, has indicated that he will sign the legislation.

Kaine sent out an e-mail about the bill to supporters. McDonnell's opponent, whom Kaine supported for governor, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), was one of two Democrats who voted to lift the ban.

Marshall said in an interview that he never supported the limit, which he called unnecessary government encroachment, and added that there has been no proof the limit has helped.

Bill Riggs, an Allen spokesman, said, "We believe the way to make Virginia communities safer is by targeting crime and criminals, not law-abiding citizens."

Wilder did not return repeated phone calls. McDonnell's office declined to comment.

6. Gun permit debate gets pointed

From Lynchburg News and Advance:

By Ray Reed
February 7, 2012

About one-third of Virginia localities obtain fingerprints from people who apply to carry concealed handguns, and a bill to end the requirement produced vigorous debate on the House of Delegates floor Tuesday.

Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, argued fingerprints no longer are needed because advances in technology provide the same information that can be gained from a check of fingerprints.
Several Democratic delegates challenged Cline's HB 754, but Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville may have won a debating point when he asked Cline which legislator sponsored the code section his bill would repeal.

"Is the gentleman aware this provision was actually placed in the code in 2004 by no one other than the Honorable Robert F. McDonnell, presently the governor of the Commonwealth?" Toscano asked.

Catcalls and a few whistles from House members acknowledged Toscano, drawing a reprimand from Speaker William Howell.
Cline smiled and replied "times change," and noted Charlottesville is among localities that no longer require the fingerprints.

Toscano responded, "I'm voting with my governor. I'm voting against this bill."

The Republican-dominated House, on a voice vote, advanced the bill to its third and final reading.

7. Tough targets: When criminals face armed resistance from citizens

Steve Wirt emailed me this:


From CATO Institute:

By Clayton E. Cramer & David Burnett


The ostensible purpose of gun control legislation is to reduce firearm deaths and injuries. The restriction of access to firearms will make criminals unable to use guns to shoot people. Gun control laws will also reduce the number of accidental shootings. Those are the desired effects, at least in theory. It is important, however, for conscientious policymakers to consider not only the stated goals of gun control regulations, but the actual results that they produce.

What would be the effect of depriving ordinary, law-abiding citizens from keeping arms for self-defense? One result seems certain: the law-abiding would be at a distinct disadvantage should criminals acquire guns from underground markets. After all, it is simply not possible for police officers to get to every scene where they are urgently needed.

Outside of criminology circles, relatively few people can reasonably estimate how often people use guns to fend off criminal attacks. If policymakers are truly interested in harm reduction, they should pause to consider how many crimes murders, rapes, assaults, robberies are thwarted each year by ordinary persons with guns. The estimates of defensive gun use range between the tens of thousands to as high as two million each year.

This paper uses a collection of news reports of self-defense with guns over an eight-year period to survey the circumstances and outcomes of defensive gun uses in America.

Federal and state lawmakers often oppose repealing or amending laws governing the ownership or carrying of guns. That opposition is typically based on assumptions that the average citizen is incapable of successfully employing a gun in self-defense or that possession of a gun in public will tempt people to violence in "road rage" or other contentious situations. Those assumptions are false. The vast majority of gun owners are ethical and competent. That means tens of thousands of crimes are prevented each year by ordinary citizens with guns.

8. RTD LTE: Criminals don't buy their guns in stores

Board member Dennis O'Connor emailed me this:


From Richmond Times-Dispatch:

February 6, 2012

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Mark Sprowl ["How many guns are enough?"] cited the recent slaying of a Hanover teen by another teen as a case against the repeal of Virginia's one-gun-a-month law. In our state, one cannot purchase a handgun in a store below the age of 21. Therefore, logic would dictate that the shooter (who was 19) acquired his gun illegally, through a private seller, or by presenting false identification to the store clerk.

Regulations do not stop criminals from getting guns; they simply prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Criminals generally obtain their weapons from friends and acquaintances or by stealing them because any gun bought in a store can be easily traced back to its original buyer. Although there are special cases (like that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) where criminals purchase their weapons through stores, most criminals won't make that mistake.

A 2004 study by Jim Kouri, the fifth vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, interviewed prison inmates who divulged where they obtained their guns. Only 8 percent said they bought them in stores, while 39 percent said they obtained them illegally and nearly 40 percent claimed they had bought them from friends or family.

Sprowl's heart is in the right place, but most guns aren't bought in stores. If criminals aren't buying their guns in stores, how would stricter gun regulation preclude incidents of violent crime?

Zachary L. Edwards.
Fork Union.

9. Who needs a gun in a National Park?

Jay Minsky emailed me this:



Who needs a gun in a national Park?. The father managed to get the mountain lion to release his son by stabbing it with a pocket knife. In this case a firearm would have been more effective and faster.

From FOX News:

February 8, 2012

Texas boy, 6, attacked by mountain lion at Big Bend National Park

A 6-year-old Texas boy is recovering after being attacked by a mountain lion while walking with his family at Big Bend National Park.

Rivers Hobbs was attacked late Sunday by the animal as his family returned to their room from the park's main lodge, reports.

"It sneaked up on me," Hobbs told the station.

The boy's father, Jason Hobbs, pounced on the mountain lion as it clamped onto Rivers' face. Hobbs ultimately stabbed the animal in the chest with a pocketknife, causing it to flee.

"The cat was clamped onto his face, I reached down and got my pocket knife out and stabbed the cat in the chest and it let go at that point," Jason Hobbs told the station.

The boy's wounds on the right side of his face took 17 stitches to close. The family is expected to return to their Leander, Texas, home late Wednesday. Once there, Hobbs will have to go though a series of rabies shots, the station reports.

10. Chicago resident chooses to carry illegally, possibly saves his life

From The Truth About Guns:

By Robert Farago
February 6, 2012

This just in from a member of TTAG's Armed Intelligentsia:

"As I begin to write this, not 20 minutes beforehand, I pulled my gun in self defense. For the second time in 4 months. In the gun free city of Chicago. I already know what you're thinking, I'm not allowed to carry a gun in Chicago. Let's get this out of the way, I have made the decision to conceal carry in Chicago. Yes this is stupid, but it has already been beneficial for me. Not once but twice.

A little background, I'm a FF/Paramedic that lives in the downtown Chicago area and works in the near suburbs. I work for a municipality on a paid department that I commute to using the CTA. I am a transplant from South Florida that is only here temporarily while my wife finishes school.

I'm not a large guy, but I'm not what would be considered a soft target. I participate in Crossfit and swim for health and strength. I've taken some force on force training and have taken self defense classes with my wife.

As most emergency service providers, I've learned to always be aware of my surroundings and situations that I'm entering. I've been first on scene for shootings, highway accidents, domestic disputes, drug overdoses and other terrible incidents. My main focus is the safety of myself and my partner first, above and before everyone else. We are trained this way.

All this being said, I have been part of many situations that have been defused with nothing more than words.

This morning I was running late to the "L" and ran the 1/4 mile to the station. Just as I made the platform, the train left. No big deal, I give myself leeway for this very reason. As I'm waiting for the next train, three men step on to the platform on the opposite side of the tracks. They say some words to each other that I'm way too far away to hear and step off the platform and out of sight.

Not a minute later these three same men step onto my side of the platform from the near by staircase. They quickly look around and start walking toward me with fists clenched, I scan around me and I'm the only one on the platform except them. I'm standing about half way down the platform, with both staircases behind these guys.

The man closest to me asked me for a smoke, he was standing still about 5 feet from me. I told him I don't smoke with a firm voice well above normal volume but not a yell while making eye contact with him.

He then said, "I'll take your f***ing wallet then d*ck" while reaching out to me.

I smacked his forearm away with my left hand as I took 3 steps farther down the platform and drew my gun from its five o'clock spot on the right side of my body. As I drew I yelled 'back off' very loudly. They all turned tail and ran while cursing their lungs off after giving me saucer eyed unbelieving looks. I thank God that they had the sense to not even move in my direction.

If they had, there's no question I wouldn't be typing this right now. It felt like I stood there for a solid 10 minutes before the train arrived but it couldn't have been more than 2-3. I re-holstered just before the train pulled into the station.

I boarded and spent the ride attempting to calm down. I'm writing this as a way to vent and direct my anger in a positive way. I'm hoping for some sort of an assessment or some feedback from someone. I hope I can get it from you guys here, as I will not be telling anyone around Chicago about this for obvious reasons.

Thanks for taking the time to read this."

Below is an off-the-record response from a Chicago cop.


From The Truth About Guns:

Chicago Cop Responds to Train Station DGU

An email from a TTAG reader who experienced a DGU at a Windy City train station has generated a lot of traffic and discussion. Here's a comment from a Chi-town cop:

"I'm glad that you were not harmed during your encounter on that "L" platform. Yes, CTA does have some very, very good video surveillance on their platforms, buses. Sad part is that if those 3 mutts had called the Police, we would have to check it (and you if still on the scene ) out. Don't believe the BS that having a firearm in a fanny pack is having it in a container (such as in a vehicle). Also if there are any rounds in that gun, magazine, chambered or any combo of both, that gun is loaded. Being a 26 yr. Chicago Police Officer, currently a Detective, I've investigated, responded to more homicides, shootings, robberies than I could ever count. Although I am sympathetic to you (and other law abiding citizens) as to carrying concealed, I would have no option not to arrest . . .

First off instead of just thinking "concealed" think "covertly concealed." The gun may be really hard to get at, but it may keep you out of jail for that one time someone spots it on you. Another thing, if you have to pull that gun, keep it at your side , barrel pointed down, until the last instant that you may have to shoot. If you did this in your encounter, this would lend credence to your version .vs their version that "he pointed that gun at me."

As far as being arrested with a gun. You do have the right to remain silent, but remember that only leaves me with one version of what went on. Your version will come out during your felony trial. Once arrested, I would interview all parties involved, then contact the Cook County State's Attorney's Felony Review Unit. They will ultimately make the decision of to charge you criminally with a felony (having only one side of a story presented, they will).

Next roll of the dice is what judge you will get at a bond hearing (you will sit in Cook Co. Jail until then). He may give you a $5000 or $500,000 bond, which you will have to come up with 10% cash to get out of County, or sit until your trial, which can be over a year down the road. If convicted, even though you may only get probation, you are now a felon. The FF job is gone. Believe me if I responded to your incident , and found out you were a FF on his way to work, I would do everything in my power (which I will not get into on a public blog) to keep you from an arrest.

But realize that some of these options may jeopardize my and my partner's jobs. If you keep in your head that the ONLY time that gun comes out is when you HAVE to shoot, you may be fine. Not pulling it when you are apprehensive or scared. Again, your freedom and job will depend on #1 who the Police are that show up on the scene #2 Detectives investigating your incident #3 which Cook Co Asst. State's Attny answers the phone #4 what judge is sitting on the bench the day of your bond hearing #5 what judge and / or jury is in that courtroom for your trial.

The gun laws are what they are in this State and I don't see them being voluntarily changed anytime soon. Just be smart, only do what you have to to defend yourself, and don't do something "to prove a point." Believe me, myself and many other coppers are on your side, but can only do what the law allows us to."

11. Rossen Reports: Anyone can buy guns, no questions asked

Mike G emailed me this:



By Jeff Rossen

Today marks the debut of Rossen Reports, a new unit led by national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. First out of the gate: A hidden camera investigation exposing how easy it is for anyone - even criminals - to buy dangerous weapons.

Some say it's a major loophole in the law. At gun stores, you have to get a background check before you can buy a weapon. But online in most states, anyone from law-abiding citizens to dangerous criminals - even terrorists - can get just about any weapon they want, no questions asked. Our hidden camera investigation shows the deals going down in broad daylight, in suburban mall parking lots.

Hundreds of thousands of guns are for sale, on hundreds of websites. We responded and set up meetings at popular shopping malls. We bought everything from a police-grade pistol to a semiautomatic assault rifle. We did it over and over again, even hinting that our buyer is a criminal.

Within 12 hours, we bought eight dangerous guns - even a 50-caliber weapon so powerful it could take down a helicopter.

Remember, at gun stores, background checks are required, but online - nothing. Believe it or not, in most states it's completely legal.

'A bazaar for criminals'
NBC News hired Steve Barborini, a former supervisor for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to help with our investigation. Barborini said that the online sales loophole permits what he called "a weapons bazaar for criminals. There's no background check: Anybody that has a murder conviction can simply log on, email someone, meet 'em in a parking lot, and buy a freaking AK-47."

In fact, 34 people are murdered every day in gun violence, with many of the weapons traced back to private sales. Jitka Vesel, for example, was killed by a stalker - a Canadian man who crossed into the U.S., bought a gun online in Seattle, then shot her 11 times as she got in her car. No legitimate gun store would have sold this man a gun, because he's not a U.S. citizen. He wouldn't have passed a background check, yet he was easily able to buy a gun online.

To find out what kind of dangerous weapons we could buy, we went online and responded to gun ads in Phoenix, Ariz., one of the many states where such sales are legal. Within minutes we had meeting set up. Our gun buyers were two Arizona security experts we hired, posing as husband and wife.

We were watching from nearby vans as our buyers paid cash for a tactical assault rifle modified to use bullets for an AK-47, along with an easy-to-conceal pistol - no questions asked.

Gun sales arranged online are often conducted in broad daylight with no questions asked for the purchaser.

For our next meeting, we bought a Glock-23 with hollow-point bullets, made to inflict serious internal damage, even telling the seller point-blank that we probably couldn't pass a background check. Another seller showed up with a tactical shotgun, an assault rifle and his 7-year-old son. Remember, our buyers could have been dangerous felons!

But the scariest transaction came after dark in a pharmacy parking lot. The online ad was for a 50-caliber sniper rifle, the most powerful gun legally sold in the U.S.: bullet range 5 miles. It can pierce armored vehicles, even bring down a helicopter. But the seller was so laid-back, you'd think he was hocking a used bicycle.

And it's happening nationwide. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg led another investigation, buying guns in 14 states, even after the buyers said they couldn't pass a background check.

So what's the government doing about it? It turns out there's a bill that would close this loophole, and require background checks for all gun sales, even online. But that bill has been tied up in committee for nearly a year. Its sponsor, New York senator Chuck Schumer, told us: "The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, and despite the overwhelming evidence that we should do something ... the odds of us being able to do something are not high."

The NRA says it opposes the bill because it has "many serious flaws," but wouldn't comment about online gun sales. In the past the NRA has fought background checks for any private sales. But victims say: Until the law is changed, more innocent people will die.

Remember: This is legal, and lots of people in this country support private gun sales without background checks. They say it's not about making money; it's about individual rights. As for the eight guns we bought, we turned them over the the Phoenix police department... where they will be destroyed.

12. Emily got her gun, and she wants to make it easier for you

Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



By Martin Austermuhle
February 9, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, Emily Miller walked out of the Metropolitan Police Department's headquarters the proud owner of a new, legally registered Sig Sauer 9mm handgun. She may have seemed like just another one of the 2,000 or so District residents that have registered handguns since the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the city's longstanding handgun ban was unconstitutional, but Miller used her journey through the registration process to pen a widely read series of articles in The Washington Times and become an advocate for simpler gun registration rules in the District.

The Baltimore native, Georgetown grad, former Bush administration appointee and longtime resident said she had never much thought about owning a gun until late last year, when an incident at a friend's house convinced her that she'd feel safer as a legal gun owner. And while it's no longer illegal to own a handgun in the District, Miller found out that doing so requires navigating 17 steps outlined in a 22-page booklet of instructions and forms.

In the process, she sought out the only gun dealer in the District, a man who briefly went out of business last year, leaving District residents with no means to purchase a gun and city officials scrambling to find him an office. (He now works out of MPD headquarters.) She took a required safety class, which involved calling all 47 of the trainers recommended by MPD. She purchased a gun in Virginia, and had it transferred in to the District. All told, she spent four months digging her way through the gun registration bureaucracy, took three days off of work to complete various steps and shelled out close to $500 in fees, on top of the $781 her gun cost.

There was also the untold frustration, which is harder to quantify. "It's my gun, it's my purchase and it's my right, and it felt so invasive of the government the way it is now. Anything that can be done that can get rid of some of these rules I'm in favor of," Miller told us yesterday, her voice rising in a steady crescendo as her disbelief with the process became more and more apparent.

"Frankly, I think if I had started this process and wasn't writing about and had gotten to the point where the [gun safety] class was five hours and $250, I definitely would have dropped out," she said.

Much to Miller's relief, the District's rules may soon be changing. Despite having been found constitutional by two federal courts, Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) announced late last year that he was introducing legislation that would allow residents to temporarily register their guns before they take the mandated gun safety course and scrap the existing ballistics test.

Miller isn't only aware of Mendelson's efforts, but she urged him to go further at a hearing last week and dump the gun safety course altogether. She isn't alone in that fight. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who otherwise supports the registration of guns, argued that hopeful gun owners shouldn't have to sit through a safety class when a simple video would suffice.

"I believe that requiring registrants to take a 4-hour class is not reasonable simply for firearm possession in the home. Instead, we urge the Council to consider our original proposal to allow MPD to provide a video on firearms safety and laws that registrants can watch at MPD or online," she said.

Miller would also like to see the instructions and fees be made more clear, electronic filing be implemented and re-registration requirements dropped. Mendelson was quiet on what changes he plans on working into his bill once it is marked up at the end of the month, but he seemed to hint that some would come.

"I believe fundamentally in the value of registration. I'm aware that the courts have made clear that while we can burden the right to own a gun with regulations such as requiring registration, we need to be mindful that what we're requiring has a real beneficial purpose to it. So, for example, I'm just not convinced that the ballistics test provides sufficient benefits and the training clearly has a benefit, but at the same time, how burdensome do we want to be? There's this balancing that I keep looking at with regards to specific requirements," he told us.

Of course, Mendelson hasn't only been criticized by Miller and other gun advocates, but also by those that seek to keep the District's registration rules intact. In a blog post after last week's hearing, Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence accused Mendelson of being too sympathetic to the gun owners' cause. (Clarification, 4:30 p.m.: Everitt was merely commenting on Mendelson having met with gun advocates, a gesture he said the advocates did not appreciate during the hearing.)

"I think that kind of rhetoric is unfortunate," said Mendelson, noting that neither the NRA nor some gun control groups have made his job at balancing competing claims any easier. (Mendelson did recognize that Miller's series likely caused MPD to update its list of trainers, which was out-of-date.)

Until she sees what Mendelson proposes, though, Miller isn't going to let her newfound gun ownership distract from her advocacy on the issue. And while her wish that the District's gun laws come to mimic Virginia's likely won't come to pass, Miller said that she plans on publishing a guide on how to easily register a gun in the city and hopes that some of what she said has an impact on Mendelson. She also expects that more District residents will start taking after her experience and registering their guns, especially if the rules are eased.

"The only thing this process is doing is stopping otherwise law-abiding citizens from registering their guns," she said.

For now, though, Miller is enjoying her newfound status as a gun owner in the District. Next up? She needs ammunition.

13. **Some VA-ALERT subscribers were unsubscribed - spread the word**

There was a snafu with the VCDL list server last week and about 1,000 VA-ALERT subscribers (our of 16,000) were unsubscribed. If you are on any chat lists where there may be other VCDL members, please put up a thread about this. If someone hasn't receive any VA-ALERTs since last week, please have them go to:

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