Sunday, December 23, 2012

VA-ALERT: The battle rages on - VCDL on front lines

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This last week was probably the busiest I've seen in a very long while, if ever. The media continues to promote anti-gun hysteria while emotions are high and logic is low. I have been getting over 400 non-spam emails a day and there are 3 huge updates full of information and press coverage that is going to be coming out in short succession.

A few quick thoughts:

* I am getting more confident that we are going to come out of this with little or no damage (or even with more rights restored) IF WE CONTINUE TO ALL DO OUR PART. We need to speak in volume (all of us in unison) and speak firmly. Be it with protests in front of the offices of Virginia legislators who have sold us out, to getting the word out in the media.

* I nominate Senator Dianne Feinstein as "Assault Weapon Salesperson of the year!" In fact, she achieved her goal of completely stopping their sales - there aren't any "assault weapons" to be found in stores anywhere! ;-) Gun shows are being stripped bare, as are many gun stores. Brand new gun owners are being added to our ranks in strong numbers. 40% of the "assault weapons" sold in one gun store went to senior citizens and to WOMEN!

* There was a protest against guns outside the NOVA Firearms store in Falls Church today. The antis had a massive turnout of 6 people! ;-) There were more members of the media there than protesters. Meanwhile the store was busier that ever!

*The anti-liberty media is lying to everyone, trying to make the world believe that gun-control is what Americans want. But everywhere I turn, I see that is not the case. The antis have nothing going for them. In fact, I think the anti-liberty media is losing the battle! Every day that passes that we stand unified, their goal slips further through their fingers. This is really a battle not only for guns, but for the Constitution and the soul of America itself!

* Surprise, surprise, surprise! The Connecticut murderer was on psychotropic drugs! Who would have thought so, other than the fact that virtually all the other mass murders were on such drugs? But, no, it couldn't be drugs that cause this kind of horrendous behavior. Nah, just a coincidence, surely. ("The Antipsychotic Prescribed To Adam Lanza Has A Troubled History All Its Own"

* A few of the anti-liberty Democrats are talking in the media about confiscation. That is the ultimate goal. We have nothing to gain by giving up ANY ground whatsoever. They'll have to fight for every millimeter. The media wants us to get demoralized and to give up and walk away. WE WILL NEVER DO EITHER.


VCDL is not going to give up ANY GROUND, not on sales of semi-automatic rifles, magazines, handguns, background checks, NOTHING. In fact, we are now going to push back even harder than ever. We need to get guns into schools - in the hands of concealed handgun permit holders, including teachers, administration, or anyone else who has such a permit. The antis had their chance with their "gun-free zones" and they have FAILED. Now it is our turn. We are tired of the high body-counts in gun-free zones - every one of them MUST GO!


Here is an excellent coverage by Channel 12 (WWBT) in Richmond.

From [VIDEO]

Virginia Citizens Defense League: NRA comments don't go far enough
By Chris Thomas

The National Rifle Association is calling for armed guards at schools across the country. The Virginia Center for Public Safety calls the idea "ridiculous." The Virginia Citizens Defense League claims the idea does not go far enough. Let the debate begin.

"I could have thrown something through the television," said Andrew Goddard who is president of the Virginia Center for Public Safety. "I was furious about it. I was absolutely hopping mad." [PVC: Many antis do have temper issues and have a propensity to be violent. That causes them to hate guns for they believe, erroneously, that the rest of us share their bad tempers.]

The NRA is calling for armed guards at school across the country in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

"Lousy idea. Ridiculous idea," said Goddard. "It's a last minute, nothing else works idea."

These statements come from a father who's son was injured in the Virginia Tech mass shooting. Goddard says more guns is not the answer.

"You have all those guns floating around," said Goddard. "You have accidents."

There is always more than one side to a story. We spoke to the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. He feels the NRA did not go far enough.

"Utah allows everybody with a permit to carry in a school," said Philip Van Cleave with VCDL. "How many school shootings have you heard of in Utah?"

The VCDL claims to be the only organization to get pro gun bills introduced in every legislative session since 1997. They feel banning "gun free zones" should be a priority.

"You are saying teachers, name it should carry guns in schools?" we asked.

"If you have got a permit," replied Van Cleave. "If you're carrying everywhere else you go...a school is no different."

Charles Willis with Richmond's Citizens Against Crime tends to side with Goddard, but he feels there's an easy compromise.

"We need to look at maybe arming them with Tasers," said Willis. "I think that is something that is more acceptable."

Van Cleave disagrees. He thinks schools should no longer be "gun free zones."

"We've done it their way. We've been doing it their way," said Van Cleave. "And we see what happens. There is nobody there to stop the bad guy."


From the Daily Press:

Virginia has record gun-sale background checks
Chelyen Davis, The Free Lance-Star
8:59 p.m. EST, December 18, 2012

The day after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, Virginia State Police saw their highest-ever number of gun-purchase background checks.

A Virginia gun-rights advocate says that should be no surprise, given comments from national lawmakers about increasing gun restrictions in the wake of the shootings.

According to state police records, the agency processed 4,166 background checks to purchase guns on Saturday-the highest volume of transactions in one day since the program began in 1989.

It was a 42 percent increase over the number of checks on the same Saturday (Dec. 17) in 2011.

On Friday, the day of the Connecticut shootings, the state police processed 2,770 background check transactions, a 26 percent increase over the same Friday in 2011. Background checks on Sunday were 43 percent higher than the same Sunday a year ago.

Virginia law requires anyone buying a gun from a licensed firearms dealer to undergo a criminal background check through the state police.

State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller noted that the number of background checks isn't the same thing as the number of guns purchased — the state police don't track gun purchases as systematically as they do background checks.

Background checks reflect the number of gun customers, not how many guns each individual might buy.

Nor do the background check totals include gun purchases through private sales, as those aren't required to go through the background check.

Geller said the state police don't ask gun purchasers anything about why they're buying a gun, so there's no way to know for sure if the record-setting number of background checks is related to the Connecticut shootings and the gun-control debate it has sparked in Congress and at the state level.

But Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said the weekend's rise in background checks is absolutely related to the Connecticut shootings and the subsequent talk about increased gun restrictions.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," Van Cleave said Tuesday.

He said when gun owners hear that a type of weapon or magazine might be restricted, they tend to buy more of it, stocking up in advance of a potential ban. It's the exact opposite, he said, of the effect gun-control advocates hope to have.

He expects to see high numbers of gun sales continue, saying that when the president and congressional leaders talk about gun control, it sends a message to gun owners.

"The gun manufacturers are going to sell tons of these things," Van Cleave said.


From the Washington Times:

Gun bills face tough sailing on Capitol Hill
Latest efforts have fallen flat
By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times

Monday, December 17, 2012

The last time either chamber of Congress took on gun control was in 2004, when the Senate considered a pro-gun bill, ended up adding three major gun control measures — then killed it, saying the whole thing had become too messy.

For more than a decade, gun rights supporters have held the upper hand in Congress, foiling more restrictions and steadily erasing bans such as carrying guns on Amtrak trains or into national parks.

But now, with the searing memory of 20 slain 6- and 7-year-old students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun control advocates say there is a chance to break the gridlock.

"We are at a fundamentally different place than we have ever been before because the emotional impact of this tragedy dwarfs anything we've seen since — probably since 1968," said Matt Bennett, who worked for a gun control group during that 2004 fight and is now vice president at Third Way, a progressive think tank. "People are reacting as parents, and not as policymakers. We think that pretty much anything is possible at this moment, and this moment isn't going to go away right away."

Past shooting sprees have been met regularly with calls for action. The 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington region spurred part of that 2004 Senate debate.

A 1999 Senate debate on trigger locks and closing the gun show loophole, which allows private gun owners to sell without performing background checks on buyers, followed closely behind the 1998 Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo.

But each of those efforts went nowhere. The 1999 bill passed the Senate, but the House refused to take it up.

The 2004 Senate debate ended in a stunning 90-8 vote to defeat the bill — including by its own sponsors.

Lawmakers intended to pass a measure granting gun manufacturers immunity from the spate of lawsuits that cities filed against them, arguing that they were responsible for gun violence. But gun rights supporters attached amendments renewing the so-called assault weapons ban, requiring new guns to be sold with trigger locks and ending the gun show loophole that allowed private citizens to sell without conducting background checks.

With neither side happy, the bill was defeated in the overwhelming vote.

More recent shootings including the 2011 spree at an outdoor town-hall gathering in Tucson, Ariz., held by then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and this summer's mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., spurred further calls but no action.

Asked what would be different this time, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the impact of this school shooting is deeper.

"I think that it's hard to imagine people in any near term somehow forgetting the rawness of what happened on Friday," he told reporters Monday. "It is hard to think about 20 6- and 7-year-olds and what happened to them on Friday and imagine that, in a few weeks or a few months, that pain would not still be incredibly intense and present."

But Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said gun rights supporters are more active and informed and primed to defend their stance this time, too.

He compared that with the last major, successful gun legislation in the 1990s, when Congress passed and President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban, which outlawed military-looking semi-automatic rifles. That ban lapsed in 2004 — another of the gun rights community's major victories of the past decade.

"This is not 1993. The world is very different than it was back then. The Internet really wasn't moving — it was just getting started," Mr. Van Cleave said.

He also pointed out that nobody ever challenged the assault weapons legislation in court — something that would be much more likely now, given the Supreme Court's rulings in 2008 and 2010 upholding an individual's right to bear arms, though still allowing localities to impose reasonable restrictions.

But Mr. Bennett said Democrats who support gun control have become more savvy, too, over the past decade.

He said that after the Columbine shooting "we were still in an old-gun paradigm where Democrats were using some very old and outdated framing around the issue where they were basically saying anyone who owned a gun was culpable for gun crime. They've moved away from that sharply in the years since."

Both sides said they expect part of the renewed debate to focus on what new classes of people should be denied gun ownership. In the Connecticut shooting, news reports have said, the 20-year-old gunman was autistic.

Indeed, the most recent gun rights flare-up was over mental health. Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, tried to attach an amendment to the defense policy bill this month that would have required a ruling by a judge before a veteran could be deemed mentally incompetent to own a gun.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, blocked that effort.

While the Senate has at least held gun control debates over the past decade, the House has not.

In fact, the only gun legislation to emerge from the lower chamber in recent years was a bill to limit firearms manufacturers' liability. That died in the Senate during the 2004 debate.



In Virginia, expect talk, not changes on gun laws
By Julian Walker
The Virginian-Pilot

Even as the nation mourns the tragedy that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, the call for new gun-control policies in Virginia faces an uphill climb.

The political dynamics of the General Assembly make that a certainty.

Consider that some of the state's most recent gun-policy decisions have moved in the direction of becoming more permissive rather than restrictive. This year, Virginia lawmakers repealed a state one-handgun-a-month law and again struck down attempts to broaden criminal background checks before sales.

The General Assembly's partisan composition - Republicans have a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates and functional control of the evenly divided Senate - remains static, as do many members' views.

The recent series of mass shootings, particularly the shock of slain first-graders, will spark a fresh round of gun debate in the 2013 session that begins next month. But will that be enough to change legislative outcomes?

Already, policymakers are freshening up bills to both expand and contract gun rights, versions of which previously have been rejected.

On opposite ends of the debate are Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William County, and Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico County.

Marshall has a bill being drafted that would compel local school divisions to have educators trained in firearm use so that they can carry concealed weapons to protect students. A bill he offered earlier this year to allow full-time college faculty to carry on campus was defeated, but Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday the time has come for a discussion about armed school personnel.

McEachin, meanwhile, plans to resubmit legislation that would require universal criminal background checks before gun sales. His measure, defeated earlier this year, is somewhat akin to bills drawn to close the so-called gun-show loophole, an aspect of state law that requires licensed gun dealers, but not private sellers, to obtain pre-sale record checks.

Bills to change Virginia's background-check policy have failed repeatedly in the legislature despite a push by families of Virginia Tech shooting victims. Such measures are long shots, as are proposals to ban assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines, said Del. John Cosgrove, a Chesapeake Republican who supports gun rights.

"I just don't think there's going to be a whole lot of change," he said Wednesday, predicting that many gun bills will stall in the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee, where those proposals often end.

Cosgrove doesn't expect much in the way of easing gun restrictions after the legislature expanded some rights this year. He predicts plenty of politicking and "lots of floor debate" that doesn't amount to much in the way of policy change.

That won't stop legislators and special interests from lobbying for a raft of new gun bills, however. Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico County, pledged Wednesday in an email to file a bill banning semi-automatic assault weapons and large magazines. McEachin is considering similar legislation.

A leading opponent of such efforts is Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. He plans a "full-court press" to combat gun-control bills even as he fights to expand gun rights. Among the measures Van Cleave will pursue is a law change allowing state workers to store their guns and ammunition inside their locked car parked at a state facility, a push that follows success in securing that right for local government employees earlier this year.

Van Cleave also expressed support for the proposal to arm teachers trained in the use and handling of firearms. Arming educators, the argument goes, would deter those plotting shooting massacres.

"Most people who have the mindset to attack a school do so for the very reason they know it is off-limits to guns," said Republican state Sen. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico, a former Virginia State Police trooper.

If there's room for compromise, it's likely on potential reforms to state mental-health policy, which got a significant overhaul in 2008 after the Virginia Tech massacre that claimed 32 lives.

Legislation passed that year broadened the state standard for involuntary commitment for treatment, extended the time on temporary detention orders, and required courts to share certain mental-health information with a federal database for record checks on potential gun buyers.

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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