“Castle Doctrine” defeated in Virginia

The Virginia Shooting Sports Association (an NRA affiliated Virginia gun rights group), in lamenting the demise of the Castle Doctrine bill that was presented to the Virginia Legislature this year, attempted to vilify another Virginia gun rights group by equating their opposition to the bill with the anti-freedom lobby’s opposition of it:

Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws sent this email today applauding yesterday’s effective defeat of the last remaining Castle Doctrine bills…

Ironically, the group used language similar to language used by a gun rights group in opposing the bills, explaining that Virginia law on the issue of self defense has been carefully crafted by the courts. A Virginia gun rights group was actively opposing the Castle bills during the General Assembly.

The VSSA Blogger indicated that the unnamed gun rights group should have been appeased by language that was added to the bill specifically to address those concerns.

VSSA and the NRA supported the legislation and worked with patrons to address concerns raised by some that the bills would override protections already in common law…[by]…including specific language clarifying the bill:

“…shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law.”

I was going to leave a comment on the VSSA blog, but apparently a Google account is required, which my readers will well know I no longer have.

So…I’ll do this here.

The un-named pro-rights group that the VSSA blogger was back-handedly insulting was the Virginia Citizens Defense League, of which I was an Executive Member until fairly recently.

I have, both here on my blog, as a blogger for VCDL, and as an EM, strongly supported the concept and advocated the need for a castle doctrine bill here in Virginia. I know no-one at VCDL who is opposed to the concept in principle.

But neither I, nor VCDL leadership, will endorse a law that may potentially do more harm than good.

The added language notwithstanding, the proposed bill backed by the NRA and VSSA still had a glaring, huge, deadly flaw:

Any person who lawfully occupies a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when (i) the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and has committed an overt act toward the occupant or another person in the dwelling [bold added -ed]

Right now, there is no requirement in Virginia Law or established case law for an overt act to have occurred. The only requirement is a reasonable belief that bodily injury is imminent.

Under the language of this bill, the defender would be required to wait until the criminal, who has already broken into their home, commits ANOTHER overtly hostile act before self defense is protected by the proposed law.

This is clearly unacceptable. Versus adding a vague statement about this law not being construed to change any existing laws (which could be interpreted any number of ways by a creative judge who “discourages self-help”), how about fixing the language itself? All they would have had to have done is strike the “overt act” requirement.

I would prefer any such law to include a presumption of imminent bodily injury when defending one’s castle against an unlawful intruder, but would have been satisfied with just the removal of the “overt act” language.

The bottom line is that this bill was fatally flawed and needed to be defeated. It may sting the NRA and its affiliates to be defeated by an upstart like VCDL, but if they want our support, they need to earn it. Attempting to equate VCDL to anti-gun groups when the two opposed this legislation for exact opposite reasons is hardly the way to win support for your cause.

Doing what we can.

Fellow VCDL member Josh Kellogg has opened a fund raising page for VCDL over at firstgiving.com.

His stated goal is to raise $5 a day or $1825 in 12 months.

If you have any interest in helping the premier gun rights organization in Virginia, please swing by and drop him a buck or two.

I reiterate his plea that if you feel compelled to donate $25 or more and are not already a member, please, versus just donating money, join VCDL in stead. Out of state members are welcome.

I also want to throw out the caveat that firstgiving.com has fairly high transaction fees of 7.9%.

VCDL’s donation engine uses Paypal which only incurs a transaction fee of 2.9%, but paypal is antigun and I refuse to use it. I’m working on finding VCDL an alternative for easy payments but there just isn’t much out there.

If you choose to donate to VCDL you will have to make a choice between paying high transaction fees, or supporting an anti-gun business…or just write VCDL a check and mail it to:

Virginia Citizen’s Defense League
PO. Box 513
Newington, VA 22122

A riddle:

How do you finish in last place in a shooting competition, and still win?

Be the only competitor.

I was the sole contestant in the Airfield Shooting Club’s M1 Carbine match and I won it handily…while simultaneously coming in dead last.

Yea me.

I think the weather had something to do with the…um…low…turnout. It was a bit chilly and it’s been raining for three days. It didn’t actually rain on us at the range, but it was cloudy and looked like it could have at any time…which probably prompted many potential competitors to just stay in bad this morning.

Anyway, the match director and I had a great time.

Did I mention that I won?

After that I went to the VCDL Freedom Rally in Glen Allen (suburb of Richmond) which I’ll report on over at The Sentinel after I get some much needed sleep.

It was an eventful and enjoyable…but long…day.

Stop the Presses!

Some of you may remember me talking about Danladi Moore…the gentleman that sued the city of Norfolk for repeatedly harassing him for openly carrying a firearm and won a $10,000 settlement.

The guy that the city continued to harass culminating in VCDL descending on a City Council meeting to voice our displeasure. About how, immediately after the meeting, a group of people went to the Hooters in Waterside for continued fellowship (I was invited but declined). About how, upon leaving the establishment, Danladi was AGAIN stopped, harassed, and this time ARRESTED for openly carrying a firearm.

I got the opportunity to speak with Dan on Lobby Day…I’ve actually met him several times now and am beginning to consider him a friend as well as fellow VCDL member. At any rate, he was rally looking forward to his case coming up because he was very confident that he would prevail.

Hot off the presses from VCDL:

I just got the word – Danladi Moore, who was arrested for trespass by a Norfolk police officer last August while Danladi was lawfully open carrying at Norfolk’s Waterside Mall, has just won his case in court!

The judge told the Norfolk City Attorney that because of the City’s financial interest in the mall, the mall is considered PUBLIC property and Danladi was therefore NOT trespassing. All charges are to be dropped.

I wonder if Dan will let the city get away with a settlement this time? I hope not. In fact, I hope that, considering the fact that there were several white guys openly carrying firearms that the police said nary a word to, and that Dan was the only “Black Man With a Gun” and was also the only one arrested, that he will not only sue the city for false arrest, but will also file a federal civil rights lawsuit for discrimination as well.

Dan only got $10k last time. Here’s hoping that he adds a couple of zeros this time. It’s a shame that the taxpayers have to pay it…it would be much better if it had to come out of Mayor Fraim and the rest of City Council’s pockets…but in these tight budgetary times, maybe this will make enough of a dent to convince the citizens to throw at least some of these authoritarian jerks out of office.

[Update] News coverage in the VA Pilot. [/Update]

Virginia Restaurant Ban Petition

You may remember that last year we got VCDL sponsored legislation to repeal the ban on concealed defensive firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol all the way to the Governor’s desk last year. Unfortunately, the Governor chose to ignore his campaign promises to support gun rights and vetoed the bill.

The provision has been introduced again this year and stands a good chance of making it past the General Assembly again. The one thing we can do that may convince the Governor (who does have aspirations of higher office) to sign the bill is to let our voices be heard and let him know in no uncertain terms that this bill has strong public support. To that end:

VCDL has set up an online petition to Repeal the Restaurant Ban on concealed carry in restaurants.

http://www.petitiononline.com/VCDLrtrb/petition.html

We want to let the Legislature AND the Governor know that Virginians WANT this absurd ban repealed!

Even if you can’t attend Lobby Day, you can make your voice heard — sign the petition.

Spread the word. Post the petition link on blogs and discussion forums. Get your friends, family members, and shooting buddies to also sign the petition.

VCDL Videos

I’m a couple of days late, but in a recent VCDL alert, Phillip unveiled a couple of new videos.

He asked that we help get the word out, so…

First, VCDL’s Accomplishments.

And, VCDL takes on Great American Restaurants.

And no, that’s not Phillip in the videos.

One more, then I’m off to bed.

Yes, I’m trying to catch up…hence the flood of posts today.

In case anyone missed it, I talked about the VCDL picnic a few weeks ago, which happened right before I soared off to beautiful Washington State.

I also mentioned that it was on ABC Nightline. Here’s a link to the coverage.

Of course, in addition to the reference to the “dispute over whether guns prevent, or cause violence” that I mentioned before, they couldn’t resist the wild west references…but overall, I think they handled the issue fairly and portrayed gun owners in an overall positive light.

I spotted myself in the background of the video more than once, but I don’t think ever clearly enough for anyone else to recognize me. I was very sneaky that day, whether trying to be or not.

Anyway, the picnic was great and, even though he couldn’t resist a little bigoted stereotyping, I think ABC News’ John Donvan did a pretty good job of putting away the PSH for the story.