Friday, October 26, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 10/26/12

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

1. VCDL to have dinner meeting in Marion on November 13th!
2. Volunteers still needed for Madison Gun show THIS weekend
3. Emily Miller to speak at VCDL meeting in November!
4. Machine guns with Virginia front and center
5. Westmoreland County makes bizarre demand on CHP applicants
6. Words mean things: Alan Korwin suggests gun owners do some rethinking
7. Proud pro-gun business in Floyd, VA
8. Flashback: Study shows Brady Bill has had no impact on gun homicides
9. More thoughts on campus carry
10. University of Mary Washington finalizes their gun ban
11. As military suicides rise, focus shifts to private guns
12. HOLMBERG: Recent murders and robberies the beginning of a cycle of violence? [VIDEO]
13. Man cited for handgun in bag at Richmond airport
14. Who needs a gun outside Richmond City Hall?
15. Obama website shows gun control never really went under the radar
16. Stallone is a hypocrite
17. Violent crime shows a jump, but not for guns
18. Second Amendment Foundation working preemption issues in Virginia
19. Academic gun controllers lining up their attack on guns for possible Obama second term

1. VCDL to have dinner meeting in Marion on November 13th!

VCDL will have supper meeting at:

142 East Main St.
Marion, VA 24354

The meeting will be on November 13, 2012 and is open to the public.

Fellowship starts at 6:30 PM, with food to be ordered from the menu starting at 7 PM.

Special that night is a $5.85 Hamburger.

SEATING: If attendance is under 25, we will meet on the ground floor--if attendance is over 25, we will meet upstairs--capacity 40; stairs may be steep for some members.

IT IS IMPORTANT that members RSVP if they are coming so the proper room can be set up. Please advise name and number in your group attending. Speaker to be announced.

Email RSVPs to:

Thanks for Board member Al Steed Jr. for making the arrangements for this meeting.

2. Membership Renewal - Phase II - PayPal

The Membership Processing Center (MPC) Coordinator has completed working off the backlog of applications and is now ready to accept renewals by way of PayPal.

Please consider a generous gift in addition to your dues.

Every penny helps!

You can get to the renewal page here:

For those who prefer not to renew online, you can renew by mail when we progress to Phase III

3. Emily Miller to speak at VCDL meeting in November!

Emily Miller, the Washington Times's reporter who has been writing a series of articles about Washington D.C.'s horrible gun-control laws, will be speaking at our November 8th membership meeting in Annandale! Emily has almost single-handedly pushed the D.C. City Council into improving laws regarding the purchase and ownership of handguns.

Emily also just received the Second Amendment Foundation's "Journalist of the Year" award for those articles.

The meeting is open to the public and is held at the Mason Government Center in Annandale. Fellowship starts at 7:30 PM and the meeting is called to order at 8 PM. The meeting will adjourn at 9:30 PM, with many heading to a local restaurant for continued fellowship.

Directions can be found here:

4. Machine guns with Virginia front and center

Virginia leads the nation in the number of lawfully owned machine guns! Cool. But, those numbers are inflated because of the various government agencies in Virginia that have machine guns.

From the Roanoke Times:

Virginia tops U.S. in machine gun owners
By Laurence Hammack

The Roanoke Times

The submachine gun that Richard G. Webster kept in the bedroom of his Franklin County home came to the attention of law enforcement by chance.

After responding to a call about an assault at Webster's house on Sept. 10, 2011, sheriff's deputies were greeted by the heavy scent of marijuana. That led to a search warrant, which led to Webster's Sten Mark III model 9 mm submachine gun.

Webster, 48, pleaded guilty last month in Roanoke's federal court to illegal possession of a machine gun. Such charges are rare in Western Virginia.

Less rare, it seems, are cases of machine guns that are lawfully owned, whether by law enforcement agencies, gun dealers or private citizens.

There were 30,220 registered machine guns in Virginia as of March, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

That's more than any other state in the nation.

Florida and California, with far larger populations than Virginia, ranked second and third in the number of registered machine guns, with 29,128 and 28,774, respectively.

Nationally, there are nearly 500,000 registered machine guns, according to an annual report compiled by the ATF. [PVC: Privately owned machine guns are somewhere around 300,000 as I recall.]

Ginger Colbrun, an ATF spokeswoman, declined to say how many of the machine guns — either nationally or in Virginia — are in the hands of police officers, as opposed to private citizens. Because a $200 tax is levied on each registered gun, Colbrun said, privacy issues prevent releasing even a breakdown of ownership by category.

Virginia State Police, which maintains a separate registry of the state's machine gun owners, also declined to provide a breakdown, but for different reasons.

The information is not readily available, spokeswoman Corinne Geller said, and a Freedom of Information Act request seeking a percentage breakdown would take at least six weeks to process.

Not a safety threat

With the two agencies that compile the records declining to elaborate, others were left to speculate about the numbers.

"Why do we have so darn many in Virginia? Who knows?" said Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

"When you see a number like that pop out of a report you say, 'Wow, 30,000,'" said Schrad, who years ago researched the use of machine guns as a staff attorney for the Virginia Crime Commission.

But Schrad and others said the fully automatic weapons — not to be confused with the larger class of semi-automatic "assault weapons" — are rarely used to commit crimes.

Federal law defines a machine gun as any weapon that will repeatedly fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger.

The number of registered machine guns is on the rise nationally. This year's total of 488,065 is up from about 240,000 in 1995, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. [PVC: Those new registrations HAVE to be the governments buying more, since those available to citizens can't grow and haven't significantly changed since 1986.]

More than 30,000 machine guns in Virginia don't necessarily pose a public safety risk, Schrad said, "because if these guns are registered, they are less of a threat because we know who owns them and who is currently holding them." [PVC: What gibberish. Criminals don't register guns, so the government has no idea who everyone is that has a machine gun. And even if the government does know who has guns doesn't make the guns or the gun owners "safe". Registration doesn't make guns less of a threat. Instead, it makes government confiscation more of a threat.]

Private citizens who want to legally own a machine gun face a lengthy approval process. Meeting the standard requirements for gun ownership — including no felony record, no psychiatric commitments and no domestic assault convictions — is just the beginning.

After passing a background check, applicants must submit their photograph and fingerprints to be used in a registry maintained by the ATF. Also required is a signed statement from the chief law enforcement officer in the locality where the applicant lives, stating there is no indication the machine gun would be used illegally.

(Police departments in Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem said they receive a few such requests each year. A total of 40 machine guns have been registered since 2002 in Roanoke County, which was the only locality contacted to track those numbers.)

The applicant is also required to affirm that he or she has a "reasonable necessity" to own a machine gun, and to describe what that is.

Only gun dealers with a special license from the federal government are allowed to sell machine guns.

Such stringent requirements, combined with registration records that can make it easy for police to track a weapon, is the reason machine guns don't get used very often by criminals, said Daniel Vice, senior attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. [PVC: The Brady's want to have all guns registered (and then confiscated) so badly that they will say anything. Registration is not the reason that machine guns aren't used in crime. If registration worked, D.C. would be the safest city in the United States.]

"Machine guns actually are a really good example of why strong gun laws work," Vice said.

Numbers hard to explain

So assuming that machine guns are not being used by criminals, why does Virginia have so many?

Experts suggested several factors. One is that police departments are taking a more "militarized" approach to fighting crime, with SWAT teams equipped with armored vehicles and high-caliber weaponry.

An increase nationally in the number of machine guns "is at least partly a reflection of the increasing militarization of policing in the past 25 years, which has occurred despite a decline in crime and violence," Gary Kleck, a criminology professor at Florida State University who researches gun issues, wrote in an email.

The Roanoke Police Department has 14 registered machine guns, a spokeswoman said. Roanoke County has six. Other police agencies either declined to say how many they had or did not respond to questions.

Another factor is that Virginia, long considered a gun-friendly state, has a large retired military population that might be inclined to own machine guns as collector items.

And with census data ranking the state among the nation's top 10 in personal income, it may be that more Virginians can afford the guns, which can sell for $10,000 or more.

"These are the Mercedes owners of gun owners," Schrad said. "These are people who can afford those kinds of collectibles."

One reason the weapons are so expensive is a law passed by Congress that restricted private citizens from legally possessing machine guns manufactured after 1986. So as the supply remained flat, prices rose.

'A blast to shoot'

For those who can afford them — and want them — machine guns can offer a recreational shooting experience like none other.

"They are a blast to shoot," said Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League.

"They are a hell of a lot of fun. Shooting a gun is fun anyway, and this just magnifies it."

Gun clubs often hold machine gun shoots in rural locations, with participants pumping loads of lead into targets with a single pull of the trigger.

"Fun for the Entire Family," read a flier for one such event in the Roanoke Valley.

Such events are not without risk, however. In Massachusetts, an 8-year-old boy was killed at a machine gun shoot in 2008. According to media accounts at the time, the boy was firing a micro Uzi when it recoiled and turned upward, sending a bullet though his head.

Another concern is when machine guns wind up in the hands of people not allowed to own them — people like Webster of Franklin County.

At a Sept. 26 hearing in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Neese provided an account of how sheriff's deputies came to find the World War II-era weapon in Webster's Hardy home. (The visit by police also resulted in Webster being charged with possession of marijuana. That misdemeanor charge is pending in state court.)

It's rare for authorities to bring a separate charge of possessing a machine gun such as in Webster's case, said Brian McGinn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for Western Virginia.

What happens more often, he said, is for a suspected drug dealer to be caught in possession of a machine gun. When that happens, the gun charge is often incorporated into the drug prosecution, McGinn said.

While those cases are not common, McGinn said, "we do encounter machine guns from time to time." He did not have firm numbers on how frequently that happens.

Likewise, ATF officials said they could not provide national numbers on illegal machine gun prosecutions.

No details were given during Webster's brief hearing about why he had the weapon. His attorney, Rhonda Overstreet, did not return calls to her office.

If Webster was simply a gun collector who didn't follow the registration rules, his hobby could prove to be costly.

At a sentencing hearing scheduled for January, he faces a fine of up to $250,000, and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. [PVC: All because he didn't pay a one-time $200 tax on the gun.]

5. Westmoreland County makes bizarre demand on CHP applicants

Turns out that Westmoreland County has had a bizarre requirement for permit holders, that goes all the way back to at least 1995.

When the County sends a CHP applicant his permit, they have also been sending two other documents: the judge's order authorizing the permit's issuance and another letter ordering the CHP holder to "carry both (Order and permit) with you at all times."

VCDL member William Martin was stunned when he read that letter and contacted the Circuit Court Clerk's office about it. Everyone seemed to be denying they had anything to do with that letter.

I called the Circuit Court Clerk's office on October 25th and Deputy Clerk Betty Horner acknowledge the letter, saying it was a mistake and that letter is no longer being sent to CHP applicants. She said in the all the years that letter has been going out, Mr. Martin was the first person to complain about it.

Her comment points out why it's important to challenge extra legal requirements levied by localities: they are not legal and will continue as long as the population acts like sheep and accepts whatever they are told.

So, if you got such a letter from Westmoreland County, just disregard it. All you need to carry is your CHP whenever you are carrying a concealed sidearm.

6. Words mean things: Alan Korwin suggests gun owners do some rethinking

Here is the audio of Alan Korwin's presentation to the Gun Rights Policy Conference in September. Alan, who is the author of the Virginia Gun Owners Guide, is a strong and articulate proponent of the right to keep and bear arms. In the presentation, Alan makes the case that words mean things and that those in favor of gun ownership need to change their vocabulary.

7. Proud pro-gun business in Floyd, VA

EM John Wilburn spotted a sign on a business in Floyd, Virginia and sent me a photo of it:

"Guns are welcome on premises (sign shows a gun in a circle and there is NO slash through it)
Please keep all weapons holstered unless need arises. In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated."

Sounds like a place I'd spend my money! Here's the business information:

Joe's Garage Inc.
418 Floyd Highway N.
Floyd, VA 24091

8. Flashback: Study shows Brady Bill has had no impact on gun homicides

Get some Malox shipped to the Brady Campaign! The Brady Bill has had no impact on gun homicides?

Actually this story is from back in 2003. We still have the Brady Bill and it is still a failure.

My comments are interspersed.

Study Shows Brady Bill Had No Impact on Gun Homicides

The Brady Bill, the most important piece of federal gun control legislation in recent decades, has had no statistically discernable effect on reducing gun deaths, according to a study by Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor of public policy, economics and sociology. "The Brady Bill seems to have been a failure," Cook told a sparsely attended lecture in Caplin Pavilion March 11. "But that doesn't mean gun control is doomed to failure." [PVC: The record since this was printed proves otherwise.]

Regarded as the nation's foremost authority on gun control, Cook spoke on "Evaluating the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act" to inaugurate a new lecture series on public health, law and ethics issues. Elected in 2001 to the prestigious Institute of Medicine, Cook is also known for his work on alcohol problems. In a 1981 study, he demonstrated that alcohol taxes have a direct effect on reducing drinking.

Passed in 1993, the Brady Bill was named for Ronald Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, who was badly wounded in the assassination attempt on Reagan in March 1981. Brady's wife Sarah subsequently became widely known for advocacy of the law and gun control in general.

The Brady Bill had two iterations, Cook explained, but in each the law applies only to handgun sales by federally licensed gun dealers. In the first version, in effect from 1994 to 1997, there were background check and waiting-period provisions. In 1997, the Supreme Court struck down the background check component on 10th Amendment grounds, ruling that the provision usurped states' rights. A new version was passed in 1998, this time covering all guns, instituting an "instant" background check of states' and FBI databases identifying criminals and requiring a three-day waiting period. Fingerprint checks have never been required. At the time it first passed, the law obliged 32 states to change laws to come into conformity. Laws in 18 states were already in compliance and these made an ideal control group for a study, Cook said. Following the 1998 revision only two states—Ohio and Arkansas—did not reestablish background checks, but Cook said they nonetheless remained in the group considered "treatment" states by the study.

Data shows a slow gradual decline in gun homicides from 1993 to the present, a trend that started before the Brady Bill passed [PVC: And continues today], but figures from both the control and treatment states track virtually identically. "Control and treatment states had the same gun homicide rates before and after the Brady law passed," Cook said. "It made no discernable difference. There is no statistically significant effect."

Data on gun suicides showed the same trends, though Cook said there is "some hint of an effect" on the gun suicide rate for persons over age 55, some of whom appear to be deterred by the waiting period. But overall suicide rates do not decline, suggesting that some people simply changed their method when they couldn't get a gun more easily. [PVC: Japan's suicide rate is much higher than the U.S. and almost all those suicides do not involve a firearm.]

Cook, who acknowledged that his personal sympathies are for gun control, said, "Maybe the law did save a handful of lives, a couple hundred per year," and that other public health and safety laws are enacted to save similar numbers of lives. [PVC: And this was prophetic as gun control is now starting to be pushed under the guise of "public health and safety." On the "saving lives" comment - how many lives were LOST due to someone not being able to purchase a gun in a timely manner?]

On the plus side, there is strong evidence that the law undermined gun-running operations that were buying large numbers of guns in southern states and transporting them north for resale, he said. The law has also helped improve criminal history records. Proponents of the law also point to the 60,000 people trying to buy guns who were turned down after background checks revealed that they were felons. But a later California study showed that the turndowns had no effect on criminal activity. [PVC: Bloomberg would disagree on the Brady Bill slowing down gun trafficking. So again, an utter failure for the Brady Bill.]

Cook said the real problem is the law's "gaping barn door" for unregulated sales, mainly at gun shows, but no one knows how many guns are bought with false IDs or exchanged privately, to say nothing of those being stolen. [PVC: Er, if no one knows how many private sales, fraudulent sales, or thefts of guns there are, how does Mr. Cook know that any of that is the "real problem?"]

He praised an Illinois law that requires gun owners to have ID cards and to record the ID numbers of individuals they sell guns to. Failure to keep records or report a stolen gun can result in prosecution. [PVC: And we have seen how well all that gun control has worked in the Murder Capital of the U.S. - Chicago.] Cook also endorsed gun locks as a cheap and sensible way to render guns useless except to the owner.

9. More thoughts on campus carry

While Virginia seems to be seeing daily attacks on VCU students, It's not just VCU seeing daily attacks; the trend continues wherever schools disarm those who are trained and licensed/permitted to safely carry defensive sidearms.


Today was a busy day for violent criminals on campus

In two separate attacks today, students were injured by armed criminals on campus. This morning, a Columbus Technical College student was robbed and beaten with a baseball bat. This afternoon, Jason Moore, a "commuter" student, was shot at the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. These are but two recent attacks on a college campus in Georgia. Last month was busy for criminals as well, with college campuses experiencing many other violent crimes, including armed intruders breaking into a "fortified" dormitory at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Midtown Atlanta to commit armed robbery of students and multiple rapes at Georgia Gwinnett College. On a more positive note, during September police actually arrested a man for committing armed robbery of a Georgia Tech student.


10. University of Mary Washington finalizes their gun ban


University of Mary Washington finalizes their gun ban
by John Pierce
October 8, 2012

"Because professors, staff and students are precluded from protecting themselves on campus, Cho, a student at Virginia Tech himself, was able to simply walk on campus and go on a killing rampage with no worry that anyone would stop him."

- Holly Adams (mother of VA Tech Victim)

Located in Fredericksburg Virginia and with campuses in Stafford and Dahlgren, the University of Mary Washington is undeniably part of Virginia's strong commitment to excellent public colleges and universities.

Unfortunately, UMW (which prides itself on being named after the mother of George Washington), has joined many of Virginia's other fine public institutions in the very un-American act of rendering adult students, faculty, and staff defenseless.

In today's Virginia Register, UMW's finalized campus gun ban was published (putting it into full force and effect). Codified at 8VAC55-10 through 8VAC55-30, the prohibition reads:

8VAC55-10-10. Definitions.
The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Police officer" means law-enforcement officials appointed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 15.2-1609 et seq.) of Chapter 16 or Chapter 17 (§ 15.2-1700 et.seq.) of Title 15.2, Chapter 17 (§ 23-232 et seq.) of Title 23, Chapter 2 (§ 29.1-200 et seq.) of Title 29.1, or Chapter 1 (§ 52-1 et seq.) of Title 52 of the Code of Virginia or sworn federal law-enforcement officers.

"University property" means any property owned, leased, or controlled by the University of Mary Washington.

"Weapon" means any (i) pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, razor slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; (iii) any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; or (iv) any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades that is designed to be thrown or propelled and that may be known as throwing star or oriental dart.

8VAC55-10-20. Possession of weapons prohibited.
Possession or carrying of any weapon by any person, except a police officer, is prohibited on university property in academic buildings, administrative office buildings, student residence buildings, dining facilities, or athletic facilities or while attending sporting, entertainment or educational events. Entry upon the aforementioned university property in violation of this prohibition is expressly forbidden.

8VAC55-10-30. Person lawfully in charge.
In addition to individuals authorized by university policy, University of Mary Washington police officers are lawfully in charge for the purposes of forbidding entry upon or remaining upon university property while possessing or carrying weapons in violation of this prohibition.

UMW joins the over half-a-dozen other Virginia colleges and universities (including Radford, JMU, and VA Tech) that have moved to promulgate regulations following the opinion by Attorney General Cuccinelli that regulations, which have the force and effect of law, trump Virginia's concealed handgun permit law.

Attorney General Cuccinelli based his opinion on the holding in DiGiacinto v. Rector and Visitors of George Mason University and § 18.2-308(o) of the code of Virginia which states:

[t]he granting of a concealed handgun permit shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law[.]

Since properly promulgated regulations have the force and effect of law, this generalized prohibition on the otherwise broad recognition of right-to-carry by permit holders withstands judicial review according to the Virginia Supreme Court.

This trend has also been facilitated by the fact that under current law, Commonwealth operated colleges and universities are largely immune to the requirements of the Virginia Administrative Process Act.

There are three distinct legislative remedies that gun owners need to seek in upcoming legislative sessions to address this problem.

1) Remove the generalized prohibition in § 18.2-308(o) and require all prohibitions on the right-to-carry be specifically added to § 18.2-308 by the duly elected legislature rather than by administrative agencies.

2) Enact a code section which extends preemption to the actions of administrative agencies. Virginia already preempts localities and their agents from regulating firearms in § 15.2-915.

3) Remove the fast track administrative powers of Commonwealth operated colleges and universities where such administrative action will impact visitors and third-parties.

It is truly sad that an institution named after George Washington's mother has chosen to follow the same path our founding fathers struggled against.

11. As military suicides rise, focus shifts to private guns

Sure, let's give our brave men and women another reason NOT to serve in the military. More stupid ideas from the gun controllers.

Josh Kellogg emailed me this:



As military suicides rise, focus shifts to private guns
by James Dao, The New York Times
October 8, 2012

With nearly half of all suicides in the military having been committed with privately owned firearms, the Pentagon and Congress are moving to establish policies intended to separate at-risk service members from their personal weapons.

The issue is a thorny one for the Pentagon, with gun-rights advocates and many service members fiercely opposing any policies that could be construed as limiting the private ownership of firearms.

But with suicides continuing to rise this year, senior Defense Department officials are developing a suicide prevention campaign that will encourage friends and families of potentially suicidal service members to safely store or voluntarily remove personal firearms from their homes.

"This is not about authoritarian regulation," Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in an interview. "It is about the spouse understanding warning signs and, if there are firearms in the home, responsibly separating the individual at risk from the firearm."

Woodson, who declined to provide details, said the campaign would be introduced over the coming months. He said it would include measures to encourage service members, their friends and relatives to remove possibly dangerous prescription drugs from the home of potentially suicidal troops.

In another step considered significant by suicide-prevention advocates, Congress appears poised to enact legislation that would allow military mental health counselors and commanders to talk to troops about their private firearms. The measure, which is promoted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, would amend a law enacted in 2011 that prohibited the Defense Department from collecting information from service members about lawfully owned firearms kept at home.

The 2011 measure, part of the Defense Authorization Act and passed at the urging of the National Rifle Association, was viewed by many military officials as preventing commanders and counselors from discussing gun safety with potentially suicidal troops. But the NRA said the provision was a response to efforts by Army commanders to maintain records of all the firearms owned by their soldiers.

The new amendment, part of the defense authorization bill for 2013 that has passed in the House of Representatives but not in the Senate, would allow mental health professionals and commanders to ask service members about their personal firearms if they have "reasonable grounds" to believe the person is at "high risk" of committing suicide or harming others.

"We're OK with the commanding officer being able to inquire," said Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, "but they can't confiscate."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who sponsored the original 2011 restrictions, said he would support the new amendment "if it clears up any confusion."

"This is a national tragedy that Congress, all branches of DOD, and numerous outside organizations have been working together to solve," the senator said in a statement. The Senate is not expected to take the bill until after Election Day on Nov. 6.

Suicides in the military rose sharply from 2005 to 2009, reaching 285 active-duty service members and 24 reservists in 2009. As the services expanded suicide prevention programs, the numbers leveled off somewhat in 2010 and 2011.

But this year, the numbers are on track to outpace the 2009 figures, with about 270 active-duty service members, half of them from the Army, having killed themselves as of last month.

According to Defense Department statistics, more than 6 of 10 military suicides are by firearms, with nearly half involving privately owned guns. In the civilian population, guns are also the most common method of suicide among young males, though at a somewhat lower rate.

When active-duty troops who live on bases or are deployed are identified as potentially suicidal, commanders typically take away their military firearms. But commanders do not have that authority with private firearms kept off base. Instead, they would often urge potentially suicidal troops to give their guns to friends or relatives, or have them stored on base.

Military health care professionals said the 2011 law inhibited those kinds of conversations.

"It ties the hand of clinicians and the command," said Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired brigadier general who recommends amending the 2011 law.

Because suicide is often an impulsive act, separating high-risk people from their firearms is considered an effective first line of defense against suicide, many researchers say. Some military mental health specialists say the government should do much more than just amend the 2011 law.

For instance, Dr. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a psychiatrist, retired colonel and former mental health adviser to the Army surgeon general, said the Pentagon should aggressively promote gun safety as well as consider making it harder for at-risk troops to buy ammunition and weapons at on-base gun stores.

Many military officials say the Pentagon is not prepared to go that far. But some suicide experts do see a greater willingness on the part of senior Pentagon officials to discuss the links between firearms and suicide.

Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the Pentagon's broader suicide prevention program would include measures to discourage alcohol consumption by at-risk service members and remove potentially deadly prescription drugs from their homes.

Though Woodson declined to provide details, a recent Institute of Medicine report on substance abuse in the military suggested several measures, including raising alcohol prices at base liquor stores and cracking down on underage drinking.

There is also discussion in Congress about enacting legislation that would authorize military medical centers to collect and dispose of prescription drugs turned in by service members - a move the Drug Enforcement Administration has opposed.

12. HOLMBERG: Recent murders and robberies the beginning of a cycle of violence? [VIDEO]

Who needs a gun at a birthday party
Brian Mease emailed me this:



HOLMBERG: Recent murders and robberies the beginning of a cycle of violence?
by Mark Holmberg and Raymond Hawkes
October 9, 2012

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)- Richmond's 36th homicide of the year was another troubling one.

Right downtown, in the heart of the city – historic Jackson Ward – on a night of revelry. The Second Street Festival was winding down just a few blocks away.

The victim was attending his close-friend's 25th birthday party in the 300 block of W. Grace Street.

The perpetrators: Allegedly a group of four young men who had crashed the party.

Nathan Ratigan, 24, died shortly after being shot in the chest by one of the party crashers who had already been in the house and, allegedly, had stole a computer.

Ratigan and several others at the party had asked the strangers to leave, said the young man whose birthday was being celebrated when his close friend was shot a little after midnight early Sunday.

A neighbor's door window was blown out as the shooter sprayed the porch area as they fled.

It's a wonder partygoers trying to drag Ratigan inside weren't hit.

And so ended the life of a self-employed, fun-loving young man from Mechanicsville who spent a lot of time visiting the W. Marshall Street house. He and his scooter were well-known in the area.

According to Richmond police, the four suspects were black males in their 20s, one wearing an orange polo shirt and gold necklace and another in a blue polo shirt and a third in a grey polo. The fourth wore a plaid shirt.

Detectives and faith leaders canvassed the neighborhood this evening, trying to soothe frayed nerves and gather information. Major Steve Drew with the Richmond Police Department's Major Crimes Unit said they have some leads, but they need help solving the homicide.

One neighbor said the tragedy also killed his property values.

Another nearby resident said the neighborhood has been sliding since two summers ago, when a Hanover youth was killed by a stray bullet while driving north on Belvidere.

She has been trying to sell her house, but shootings in the neighborhood this summer convinced her to give up for now.

Recent robberies and shootings in the area, including gunfire at Regency Mall Monday, have many wondering if we're heading towards a deadly cycle like the one that plagued Richmond 20 years ago.

Last week Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said we're seeing a cycle of violence committed by criminals the police have caught and judges have locked up, but many are getting out and returning to their violent ways.

But many of the recent violent crimes are being committed by criminals in their teens and 20s. Could some of them be the children of those killed or locked up during the crack-cocaine 90s?

Captain Drew said the statistics don't point to a beginning surge in violence like the city saw in the late '80s and early '90s. The relationship police have with the communities is also vastly better, he said, which is why a much higher percentage of violent crimes are being solved.

Ratigan's death was the 36th homicide of the year. In 1994 – likely the city's deadliest year since the Civil War – there had been 127 homicides in Richmond by the end of the first week in October.

13. Man cited for handgun in bag at Richmond airport

If flying somewhere, remember to make sure all your carry-on luggage is free of guns, ammunition, knives, etc. Do not take anything for granted. If you have a gun in your checked luggage, be sure to follow all TSA and airline rules on transporting it.

Bill Hine emailed me this:



Man cited for handgun in bag at Richmond airport
October 9, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Disputanta man faces state weapons-related charges after federal officers found a handgun in his carry-on bag at Richmond International Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration says its officers discovered the .25-caliber handgun as the bag passed through a metal detector on Monday.

The Capitol Regional Airport Commission Police gave the man two summonses and confiscated the gun.

The TSA says the man continued on his flight to Atlanta, Ga. His name wasn't released.

The incident didn't affect the airport's operations.

14. Who needs a gun outside Richmond City Hall?

Bill Hine emailed me this:



Woman stabbed on street outside Richmond City Hall
by Times-Dispatch Staff
October 10, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police are investigating a stabbing Tuesday night that injured a woman outside Richmond City Hall.

Police said the woman was taken to nearby VCU Medical Center for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening following the 10:30 p.m. assault.

Police said the woman told investigators she was walking at North Ninth and East Marshall streets, outside the northwest corner of City Hall, when she was confronted and assaulted by two women she did not know. The victim told police that after she was assaulted on Marshall in the block between Ninth and Eighth streets, the suspects ran south toward East Broad Street.

Richmond police spokesman James Mercante said detectives believe the attack was a result of a verbal altercation and was not robbery-related.

The suspects were both black. One was about 5 feet, 2 inches tall, about 125 pounds with her hair in braids and wearing a white T-shirt, and the other was 5 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet, 4 inches tall, about 180 pounds and wearing all black clothing.

15. Obama website shows gun control never really went under the radar

Obama said in one of the three debates with Romney that he would like to see an "assault weapon" ban and also hinted at a ban on inexpensive handguns. Romney said he didn't support any gun bans.

This story is a reminder about the gun-control discussed on a web page setup by the Obama Administration back in 2009.

Jay Minsky emailed me this:


This information is self evident to VCDL members but when I try to explain this to friends who are not into firearms, they do not believe that the Obama administration will ban some firearms or make it much more difficult to purchase firearms or ammo. There is an early President Obama site that has it in writing.



Obama website shows gun control never really went under the radar
by David Codrea
October 9, 2012

A "tweet" sent out today by Gun Talk Radio host Tom Gresham reminded gun rights activists that, despite partisan rhetoric to the contrary, draconian gun control remains a stated goal of the Obama administration.

"Finally! The smoking gun!" Gresham posted. "Campaign confirms Obama wants to BAN GUNS, kill gun shows. Scroll down to 'Crime.'"

The website he linked to was Obama's Change.Gov site, created when he was President-Elect, and the page in question defined his "Urban Policy."


16. Stallone is a hypocrite

Kenneth Medearis emailed me this:


The Hypocrisy of Sylvester Stallone

Rambo's Guns

1. The claim, pretense, or false representation of holding beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not actually possess.

1. Someone that practices hypocrisy.

In early June of 2007, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was making headlines in the news because of his role in the sensational "Paris Hilton goes to jail" story that was all over the media. This incident started a flurry of allegations that Sheriff Baca gave special and preferential treatment to the stars and celebrities of Los Angeles County. In one article that was published on the web, it was alleged that Sheriff Baca had issued concealed carry weapons permits (CCW) to Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Ben Affleck.

The rumor that Sylvester Stallone was issued a CCW permit struck my interest as I had recently been made aware that he had attended a Los Angeles event sponsored by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The "Brady Bunch", as they are commonly referred to by gun-rights advocates, are one of the most well known organizations that are lobbying to take away our rights as lawful gun owners. I was also learning that Stallone had been quoted in the past saying some very anti-gun statements, even advocating door to door gun confiscations! I found all of this terribly hypocritical.

"Look at what's happening in America's inner-cities. If our hopeless legal system continues going the same liberal direction, there will be anarchy before long. We need one person in an influential position to stand up and tell the truth about gun control lobbies, the death penalty and that our criminal justice system basically stinks."
Sylvester Stallone, interview in Cinefantastique magazine, June 1995

"until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what you're gonna have... It really is pathetic... We're livin' in the Dark Ages over there."
Sylvester Stallone, March 28, 1998

"I know we use guns in films," but insisted the time has come "to be a little more accountable and realize that this is an escalating problem that's eventually going to lead to, I think, urban warfare."
Sylvester Stallone on Access Hollywood, June 8, 1998

"It [2nd Amendment] has to be stopped, and someone really has to go on the line, a certain dauntless political figure, and say, 'It's ending, it's over, all bets are off. It's not 200 years ago, we don't need this anymore, and the rest of the world doesn't have it. Why should we?"
Sylvester Stallone on Access Hollywood, June 8, 1998

sources: here, here, here, and here

Pictures of Stallone at the Brady Center sponsored "Stand Up for a Safe America" event in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, November 22nd.

Note that Bernie Mac (also pictured) is also guilty of hypocricy when it comes to gun rights:

"I have Glocks, .45s, Berettas, over-unders, Remingtons. I like the marksmanship and the discipline that it takes to be a gun owner. I like the machinery, breaking it down. Being able to take it out, clean it and put the spring back in is even more fascinating than having the gun."
Bernie Mac in Playboy interview, December 2004

How can someone that has made millions of dollars in films that glorify gun violence and killing, movies such as First Blood, Rambo, Cobra, and Judge Dredd just to name a few, be so hypocritical on the issue of the Second Amendment and gun ownership rights. Can someone that is so clearly supporting the Brady Bunch and has called for door-to-door gun confiscations actually own guns himself and have a CCW permit? Not to mention the special treatment he would have received in order to get a CCW permit in a county where it is nearly impossible to get one. I was encouraged by members of my gun forum community to try to obtain a copy of Stallone's CCW application through the California Public Records Act. With help on how to word the request to obtain a copy of Stallones CCW application I sent my first letter to Sheriff Leroy D. Baca of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. As advised, I sent this letter via certified mail so that I could track when the letter was received at their office and also so they could not deny having received the letter.

Letter 1:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
4700 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754


Dear Sir:

The purpose of this letter is to make a request to your department for information pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA), GOVT. CODE §§ 6250 - 6276.48. According to the PRA, records of county government entities, including sheriffs' departments, are generally public records. According to the CBS v Block ruling (see attached), Concealed Carry of Weapons (CCW) application, issuance and renewal records are public records for the purposes of §§ 6250 - 6276.48.

According to recent media reports, one Sylvester Stallone, a resident of Los Angeles County, has a CCW issued by your office. I am writing to request the Concealed Carry of a Weapon (CCW) application record for Mr. Stallone. Please include pages 3 through 13 (inclusive) of the application.

Information to be made available includes "any writing, picture, sound, or symbol, whether paper,…, magnetic or other media." (§ 6252(e)) Please also include a color copy of the photograph from Mr. Stallone's CCW application.

Finally, please include copies of any letters, such as approval letters or renewal letters, which related to Mr. Stallone's CCW application, either from your office to Mr. Stallone, or received by your office from Mr. Stallone.

According to the Public Records Act, your office may charge statutory duplication fees for these records, usually in the range of $0.10 to $0.25 per page. I expect that the number of pages of records involved will be small, so duplication fees in this matter will be small. Please send me a bill along with the records and I will pay promptly.

The Public Records Act requires you to respond within ten days, and I do not expect any delays.

Please address all responses to me by mail at my address above.

Thank you for your assistance.

Response 1:

In their first response, written by Undersheriff Larry L. Waldie, the Sheriff's Department tried to give me an evasive answer. Rather than providing me with a copy of the CCW application which I clearly requested they merely replied that "for your information, Mr. Stallone does not have a concealed weapons license". Well ok, that may be true but I didn't ask if he currently has a CCW license, I asked for a copy of his application. I wasn't going to give up so easily. With the advice of others, I decided to write another letter of request - this time just to get acknowledgement of whether he has ever applied for a CCW permit and, if so, on what dates.

Letter 2:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lieutenant James Hellmold
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
4700 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754


Dear Sir:

Thank you for your response to my letter of June 11, 2007. I am now requesting the following information:

Please inform me as to whether a Mr. Sylvester Stallone has applied for a CCW, or a CCW renewal, from your department within the past five years. If so, please inform me of the dates of application. If he applied for a renewal, please inform me as to the date of issuance of his initial permit.

The purpose of this letter is to make a request to your department for information pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA), GOVT. CODE §§ 6250 - 6276.48. According to the PRA, records of county government entities, including sheriffs' departments, are generally public records. According to the CBS v Block ruling (see attached), Concealed Carry of Weapons (CCW) application, issuance and renewal records are public records for the purposes of §§ 6250 - 6276.48.

According to the Public Records Act, your office may charge statutory duplication fees for these records, usually in the range of $0.10 to $0.25 per page. I expect that the number of pages of records involved will be small, so duplication fees in this matter will be small. Please send me a bill along with the records and I will pay promptly.

The Public Records Act requires you to respond within ten days, and I do not expect any delays. Please address all responses to me by mail at my address above.

Thank you for your assistance.

Response 2:

Ah, now we are getting somewhere. This letter didn't come from the Sherrif's office, but from the Office of the County Counsel. I guess they decided they need to let the county lawyers handle this request since I didn't go away after their initial brush-off response. In this letter they do confirm that Stallone has indeed applied for a CCW permit within the last five years but they need an additional 14 days in order to provide me with the actual dates. So I wait...

Response 3:

Sure enough, about two weeks later I receive another letter from the Office of the County Counsel and it has the confirmation I was looking for!

"The Sheriff's Department indicates that Mr. Stallone applied for a CCW permit on September 29, 2004. He was issued a permit on November 30, 2004."

Armed with confirmation that he had indeed applied for and been granted a CCW permit in Los Angeles County, I wrote another letter asking specifically for a copy of Stallone's CCW application that was submitted to them on September 29, 2004.

Letter 3:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Raymond G. Fortner, Jr.
County Counsel
648 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Dear Mr. Fortner:

Thank you for your response to my letter of June 25, 2007 in which I requested information on whether or not Mr. Sylvester Stallone had applied for a CCW permit and the date of the application. Now that I have confirmation that Mr. Stallone did indeed apply for a CCW permit on September 29, 2004 and that a permit was issued on November 30, 2004, I wish to again repeat my original request for a copy of Mr. Sylvester Stallone's CCW application which was submitted on September 29, 2004.

Please include pages 3 through 13 (inclusive) of the application. Please also include a copy of the photograph from Mr. Stallone's CCW application.

Finally, please include copies of any letters, such as approval letters or renewal letters, which related to Mr. Stallone's CCW application, either from your office to Mr. Stallone, or received by your office from Mr. Stallone.

According to the Public Records Act, your office may charge statutory duplication fees for these records, usually in the range of $0.10 to $0.25 per page. I expect that the number of pages of records involved will be small, so duplication fees in this matter will be small. Please send me a bill along with the records and I will pay promptly.

The Public Records Act requires you to respond within ten days, and I do not expect any delays.

Please address all responses to me by mail at my address above. Thank you for your assistance.

Response 4:

On August 24, 2007 I receive a large envelope in the mail from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Inside of it is a copy of Sylvester Stallone's CCW application - well, some of it at least. All of his personal information such as SSN, address, and phone numbers have been redacted but also is his entire good cause statement! On page 14 of the application Stallone signed a statement found on all CCW applications that states "Notwithstanding any other provision of law and pursuant to the Public Records Act (Government Code section 6250 et seq.), I understand that information contained in this application may be a matter of public record and shall be made available upon request or court order." I guess that doesn't apply to the rich and famous Hollywood-elite crowd. Below you will find scans of all the relevant pages of Stallones CCW application. I only include pages where Stallone actually supplies information and didn't bother with the pages that just contain text of the penal code and other information.

Sylvester Stallone's CCW Application (visit link for visuals)

17. Violent crime shows a jump, but not for guns

In a nutshell a rise in crime is tied to simple assaults and not to violent assaults, which are pretty much unchanged even with the huge surge in gun ownership and concealed handgun permit holders over the last four years. The antis will try to twist the information to suit their purposes, so forewarned is forearmed.

From the


Violent crime reportedly up 18%, but is it, really?

Fox News is reporting today that violent crime "unexpectedly jumped 18 percent last year," but if one reads the story, it does not appear there has been a surge in rapes, robberies and homicides, but only in so-called "simple assaults."

The data was released yesterday, according to published reports.

According to the story, picked up from the Associated Press, simple assaults rose 22 percent last year, according to data available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. However, "The incidence of rape, sexual assault and robbery remained largely unchanged, as did serious violent crime involving weapons or injury."

So, crimes that might involve firearms really haven't spiked, which might blunt an effort by anti-gun activists to exploit these new figures. Keep in mind that firearms ownership is at a high, and there are estimated to be more than 8 million private citizens who are licensed to carry concealed handguns.

Indeed, if one reads down into the story a few paragraphs, it is revealed that "The statistics bureau said the percentage increases last year were so large primarily because the 2011 crime totals were compared to historically low levels of crime in 2010. Violent crime has fallen by 65 percent since 1993, from 16.8 million to 5.8 million last year."

So, one must ask if there really is a surge in truly violent crime, or if this is some kind of nanny state alarmism. It just might be the latter, according to this blog.


18. Second Amendment Foundation working preemption issues in Virginia

A national gun-rights organization, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), has decided to try what VCDL has been doing in Virginia for years now: fixing illegal gun laws that are preempted without having to actually litigate them. VCDL had a bill introduced and passed into law a few years ago that facilitates that process by giving a judge the power to grant legal fees to the plaintiff if a preempted ordinance is challenged in court and the locality loses the case.

What caught me by surprise was that SAF decided to start the effort in Virginia! We are certainly glad to get any help we can, but I would think that there are a whole lot of states that need it more.



SAF winning firearms freedom without lawsuits

The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation has launched a unique pilot project in Washington and Virginia that advances its legal agenda without actually filing any lawsuits, and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told this column that he is looking to take this campaign nationwide in 2013.

SAF's motto has been "Winning Firearms Freedom One Lawsuit at a Time" since the foundation's landmark Second Amendment case, McDonald v. City of Chicago, was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2010. That ruling incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, thus opening a floodgate for challenges to local laws and ordinances that may not stand up under legal scrutiny.

Gottlieb's strategy is simple. His initial targets have been local ordinances and regulations that run afoul of state preemption laws. Because SAF is headquartered in Washington, home of a preemption statute that has been a model for similar laws in several other states, Gottlieb is particularly interested in removing local ordinances that run counter to such statutes.

He's had a legal researcher working on the pilot project for several months. SAF has sent letters to officials in the target counties or municipalities advising them of the conflicts that exist between their regulations and state law. The response has been good, he said.

"We intend to roll back more than 600 local anti-gun laws," he said.


Gottlieb supplied Examiner with a stack of letters from officials in both Washington and Virginia, where local officials have reviewed their ordinances and either promise to make changes, or have done so already.

Gottlieb acknowledged that this is an ambitious undertaking, but he also said it is necessary because there are so many laws in the various states that have adopted preemption laws over the past several years. Many of those ordinances actually pre-date preemption statutes, but they were never removed from local ordinance books, even though they were nullified when the state laws were passed. Gottlieb assumed that in some cases, the existence of these regulations was overlooked by the various local governments.

In other cases, however, it appears some of these laws were adopted after the preemption statutes were passed.

"These laws are illegally on the books," he said, "thanks to local politicians, many of whom are members of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They're essentially thumbing their noses at the state laws."

One surprise in the process, Gottlieb admitted, is that Washington has a lot more conflicting laws than Virginia. [PVC: Referred to in scientific circles as "the VCDL Factor" ;-) ]

"The bottom line," he explained, "is that there are a significant number of local laws that need to be challenged and gotten off the books. SAF really doesn't want to bring legal actions where we don't have to, and by giving local governments the opportunity to correct a problem, we can avoid that."


19. Academic gun controllers lining up their attack on guns for possible Obama second term

And this gun-controller's wish list even includes the government controlling the design of firearms. Yeah - the same group of people who can't even come up with a budget and don't know which end of a gun the bullet exits from. Sure, they can design a gun.

There clearly isn't a very high standard to become an "academic" now days.


Gun Control Advocates Recommend New and Stronger Regulations
By Susan Jones
October 25, 2012

( - Gun control advocates who stayed relatively quiet during President Obama's first term are now speaking up.
In a new report, The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research identifies what it sees as weaknesses in current gun laws. It also explains how those weaknesses can be fixed without passing new laws.

Gun sales have soared during the Obama presidency, as a "get-em-while-you can" mentality took hold among Second Amendment supporters. Although President Obama has not addressed gun control during his first term, many gun owners expect him to do so if he gets a second term and is not impeded by re-election worries.

In its "Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America," the Johns Hopkins Center argues that the Second Amendment doesn't prevent politicians from strengthening gun laws that are already on the books -- and it says that's exactly what they should do.

In 12 pages, the report makes the following recommendations:

-- Boost the number of high-risk individuals who are prohibited from possessing guns:

The Center argues that the ban on firearms ownership should be extended to people convicted of misdemeanors involving violence. This includes suspects charged with a felony that is later plea-bargained to a lesser charge. It also says people who committed felonies as juveniles should be added to the high-risk group.

The Center says alcoholics and problem drinkers should join drug addicts on the list of people prohibited from gun possession; and it recommends 21 instead of 18 as the minimum age for buying a gun. [PVC: The goal is to slowly increase the list of "prohibited persons" to the point that everyone is prohibited.]

-- Regulate gun sales:

The Brady Law is "necessary but insufficient," the Center argues, because it requires prospective purchasers to pass a background check only if they are purchasing the gun from a licensed firearms dealer. The Center advocates regulating gun sales between private individuals who are not licensed gun dealers.

-- Boost regulation and oversight of gun-sellers:

The policy paper faults Congress for limiting public access to crime-gun trace data, and for providing firearm manufacturers and retail sellers with "broad protections from lawsuits."

It also says: "Data from federal gun trafficking investigations indicate that scofflaw gun dealers are the most important channels for diverting guns to traffickers and criminals." (This is ironic, in light of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered federally licensed firearms dealers to allow straw purchases of guns. The intent was to trace the illegally sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.)

-- Eliminate "right-to-carry" laws

They "do not make us safer and likely increase aggravated assaults," the Center argues, rejecting research that shows just the opposite.

-- Regulate the design of guns

"Not all firearms are created equal," the paper states. "Aside from ammunition capacity, other characteristics of firearms that are relevant to public safety include how easily the gun can be concealed, and how prone it is to misfire or fire unintentionally."

The Center advocates reintroducing the now-expired 1994 ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. (At the Oct. 16 debate, President Obama said he also favors an assault weapons ban.)

-- The public wants stronger gun regulation:

"Contrary to recent media reports, a large majority of the public, including gun owners, favors remedying many current weaknesses in our gun laws," the paper concludes.

It also mentions the "real political hurdles" to enacting new gun control laws—"the gun lobby" being a "substantial" hurdle.

"But politicians who want to correct flaws in our current laws, which enable dangerous people to get guns, could do so knowing that there is broad support for those policies, the reforms are constitutional, and the policies would enhance public safety."

Where the candidates stand

Both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney were asked what they would do to "limit the availability of assault weapons."

"I believe in the Second Amendment," President Obama said. "But there have been too many instances during the course of my presidency where I've had to comfort families who've lost somebody, most recently out in Aurora."

Obama called for enforcing the laws already on the books – including "keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill. We've done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we've got more to do when it comes to enforcement," he added.

"But I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets. And so what I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced, but part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence, because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence, and they're not using AK-47s, they're using cheap handguns." [PVC: Obama's hint that he wants both an "assault weapon" ban AND a ban on inexpensive handguns in his next term.]

Romney said he does not favor "new pieces of legislation" on guns – "or making certain guns illegal."

He said he supports efforts "to enforce the gun laws that we have and to change the culture of violence we have."

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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