Bathed in irony, a few days after attending the Town Hall meeting wherein Governor Tim Kaine revealed that he lacks reading comprehension skills and also credited the State Police with singlehandedly convincing him that the rest of Virginia was wrong in supporting SB476 which would de-criminalize law abiding citizens discreetly carrying defensive tools in restaurants that serve alcohol, I received a letter from none other than the Virginia State Police Association asking me for…get this…money!
Here’s what I sent VSPA President Kenneth Bumgarner in reply:
I recently received your request for a donation to the Virginia State Trooper’s Association. I have donated to your cause in the past and I would seriously consider it in the future, however one significant issue has caused me to take pause.
Recently, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill which would remove the current prohibition against permitted, qualified law abiding citizens discreetly carrying defensive firearms into establishments that serve alcohol, provided that they consume no alcohol while on the premises. As you are probably aware, Governor Kaine vetoed that bill. When questioned, his justification for that veto was opposition by the Virginia State Police.
Notably, the prohibition against discreetly carrying firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol does not apply to law enforcement officers, even when off duty, and there is no prohibition against off duty law enforcement officers drinking while so armed at such an establishment.
The position of the Virginia State Police regarding this issue as stated by Governor Kaine does nothing but display an “us versus them” mentality and lends the impression that the Virginia State Police believes that “some are more equal than others.” I’m afraid that I cannot lend financial support to an organization that displays such blatant disregard for their fellow citizens’ right to be properly equipped to effectively provide for the safety of themselves and their families.
Perhaps if the Virginia State Police publicly and clearly reverses their position on this issue and supports the citizens’ right to self defense as strenuously as they do their own, I may reconsider in the future.
While I realize that the VSPA is not an official arm of the State Police, and that the individual troopers have no say or control over what their superiors tell the Governor, I can only hope that enough gun rights supporters would follow my lead that the VSPA would feel that such policies are giving Virginia State Troopers a bad name, are hurting their efforts to solicit donations and that they, and their member State Troopers, will voice their concerns with this policy up the chain.
To be perfectly honest, I have a suspicion (and this is completely unfounded, it is just my feeling on the matter) that the Virginia State Police did not officially advise Governor Kaine on this matter, I suspect that he came to his decision all by himself, but then when called on it, used the State Police as his scapegoat and excuse. My suspicion is strengthened by the fact that the Virginia State Police took no official position on SB 476 when it was being debated in the General Assembly. If they truly opposed passage of the bill, that would have been the place to do it, not behind the closed doors of the Governor’s office.
If my suspicion is correct, I would like to see the Virginia State Police publicly express the truth. I would like to see them call Governor Tim (quit squirming while I stab you in the back) Kaine on his BS and announce that they did not, in fact, advise him to veto the bill. Until they do that, however, I must assume that they do actually take the elitist “we’re the only ones” view that the Governor is accusing them of and I will not support an organization associated with those who would do so.
I’ll let you know of VSPA replies.