Wednesday, January 22, 2014

VA-ALERT: Lobby Day 2014 wrap-up

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Lobby Day 2014 had fantastic weather - the first time I can remember not needing a winter coat while at the rally.

As gun owners arrived around 8:30 AM, they were assembled into teams, each with an experienced team leader, and went into the building using the CHP express lane set up by the Capitol Police. As usual, we dominated the building with people wearing our bright-orange Guns Save Lives stickers. The teams went from office to office lobbying for our gun rights.

At 11 AM we met at the Bell Tower for a one-hour rally. Photos of the rally and members lobbying are on the main page of the web site.

Two members, EM Matt Gottshalk and Don Litten, video taped the event and we should have some professional quality video a little later. I will provide a link as those videos become available.

Speakers at the rally were: Delegate Bob Marshall, Board member Dennis O'Connor, member Peter Stephens (who read a patriotic verse called "Fusillade"), and me.


Estimated attendance numbers for Lobby Day were around 600, with about 400 or so at the rally. While most groups would give their right arm for that kind of attendance, for us it was disappointing.

The antis brought in several buses loaded with teenagers to pad their numbers for their rally at 2 PM. That brought their number of attendees nearly as high as ours and that should never happen, even with tricks like that. I was disappointed that between the threat we now face since the elections, and with such a beautiful day, that we couldn't have easily mustered 2,000 or more. VCDL has 6,000 members, 26,000 VA-ALERT subscribers. There are 330,000 CHP holders and 1,000,000 gun owners in Virginia. Where were so many of you?

We need to do better, much better, next year. It's our battle to lose: yours and mine. Are we going to squander all the hard work we've done over the last 20 years with complacency or are we going to close ranks and move forward as an unstoppable army? Like I said, this isn't someone else's battle, this is OUR battle. WE win it together or WE lose it separately. Like it or not, the battle is never going away. Freedom isn't free and we owe it to ourselves and future generations to protect the jewel of liberty. We must fight to hang on to our freedoms or they will surely be ripped from our fingers. Yes, there's the "cold, dead fingers" option, but I'd prefer not to have to exercise that one if I can avoid it with political activism, wouldn't you?


First, the VCDL Board of Directors and EM Bob Sadtler want to thank all of you who found the time and made the effort to come to Richmond to fight for our rights!

Second, the Board wishes to thank all those who worked so very hard to make Lobby Day a success (in no particular order). Hats off to all of them:

EM Bob Sadtler, who headed up Lobby Day and spent countless hours organizing the event, coordinating with all the team leaders, compiling the handouts for the teams, and so much more.

EM John Wilburn, who produced a voting record listing for each of the legislators our teams would be visiting. That is no easy task.

Board member Dennis O'Connor, who came to the rally to speak even though he was sick and could easily have stayed home and slept. He was a soldier on a mission and he was going to accomplish that mission, no matter what. And so he did.

Board member Bruce Jackson, who handled much of the logistics to bring the rally together. Besides bringing all kinds of items to Lobby Day and helping Bob Sadtler with organizing the lobbying teams, he came up with the idea for the podium we used at the rally, rented it, and delivered it. (The bureaucrats at the General Assembly have made it very hard to hold rallies at the Bell Tower, with all kinds of arcane and arbitrary rules. We followed their rules, but it was a pain in the neck. No more could we just use the steps of the Bell Tower to speak from, no generators were allowed and we could not use any electricity from the Bell Tower, just for starters.)

EM Chip Fetrow, who was in charge of the PA system, from setting it up, to monitoring that it was functioning properly.

Member Paul Henick, who provided a powerful (and heavy) battery powered 110-volt inverter so that we could run the PA system without a generator or without using power from the Bell Tower.

Member Jay Templin, who helped with all of the VCDL activities outside of the General Assembly Building.

EM Ed Levine, who set up and maintained the VCDL Lobby Day Facebook page, amongst other things.

The Team Leaders, all of whom stepped up to the plate and made sure our lobbying efforts went off without a hitch:

Bruce Biggs, Joe Ligon, EM John Wilburn, Jack Blundell, EM Chip Marce, James Evans, Matt White, Hunter Allen, Terrell Prude', Alan Fisher, Randy Weidman, Lou Simpson, Mar Myers, and EM John Pierce.

Special thanks to Team Leader substitutes Jan Walter, Kurt Mueller, and EM Pat Webb for stepping up in the last week. Also, Tom Ariel for jumping in right at game time.

Particular notice to EM Greg Trojan for playing through a bad back, EM Dave Hicks for fighting off the remnants of the flu, and welcome back to Tim Rarick after his terrible motorcycle accident. We missed you last year! Our best wishes to Mike Ferris, who made it all the way up from Tidewater Sunday night, only to suffer a fender bender on the way to Lobby Day.

Finally, thanks to those of you, EMs and regular members, who pushed hard in social media and in real social environments, to get people out to Lobby Day.


Mark your calendars NOW for Lobby Day 2015: Monday, January 19th, 8:30 AM.

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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