Appleseed mini-update

Yesterday, I posted a letter I sent to the Appleseed project.

I’m happy to report that “Info@appleseedinfo.org” forwarded my letter on and I am currently engaged in a dialog with a person from the program who seems genuinely concerned about straightening this whole misunderstanding out.

I’m not going to post the e-mails yet as it is still an ongoing conversation. He’s busy with a shoot this weekend, but has assured me that the conversation will resume next week.

I’m very encouraged by his candor and willingness to listen. I think this whole thing has been handled relatively badly by both the Appleseed people and by the bloggers involved and we can all learn something from it.

Here’s to hoping that we, as a community, take full advantage of this learning opportunity and become stronger for it.

What Biased Media?

From the recent VCDL VA-Alert (Item #4):

I’m a transplanted VCDL member living behind enemy lines in the People’s Republic of Connecticut after leaving Albemarle County behind last summer.

My wife and I stepped out of our rental car to take some pictures when a man approached me wearing an ID lanyard that said “PRESS” and introduced himself as a reporter from Chicago wanting to know if he could ask me a few questions for a story he was doing about the National Parks. Sure! What could he possibly want to talk about? The status of the Olympic Marmot? Global warming?

Nope.

“I’m doing a story about a proposed rule change that’s being discussed right now that would allow firearms to be carried in National Parks…and for the record, I’m against it.”

Today, I found his article online (http://tinyurl.com/5s2goy) and I was not at all surprised that there was no mention of my discussion with him, only people who agreed wholeheartedly with his stance.

Mr. Williams did a great job of making our case to the reporter; RTWT.

PA Gun Rights Activists

Including fellow gun blogger, Sebastian, descended on Harrisburg for their own version of lobby day.

Sebastian has a series of posts up about the events:

Back from Harrisburg
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s Opening Statement
The Real Gun Guys
Gun Free Zone
Press Coverage of Rally
First Class and No Class

Kudos for Sebastian and his fellow PA activists.

This is just one of the many ways that gun rights supporters can get involved and make a difference. If you aren’t a member of an organization in your state that conducts these types of lobbying efforts, perhaps it’s time to join one and get involved.

Good Versus Evil

One of my fellow gun bloggers and state level activists, the Pro-Gun Progressive, AKA Sebastian, recently went toe to toe with Rebecca Peters, one of the most influential figures of the world gun control movement, in an interview on Al-Jazeera.

This is a must see. Sebastian provided a lesson in grace under fire and served up a stinging defeat to the architect of Australian gun control and the head of IANSA.

Outstanding work my friend.

Kaine shows his spots

After practically begging the gun community in Virginia to forgive his anti-gun past and humbly swearing fealty to the Second Amendment…just long enough to get elected…Governor Kaine has clearly demonstrated why past performance is better than present platitudes as an indicator of future behavior.

Never one to let a little thing like a campaign promise to stand in the way of advancing a pet agenda, today he Vetoed both SB 476 (the restaurant ban repeal) and SB 436 (which would allow loaded guns to be carried in locked glove compartments).

True to very nature of gun-banners the world over, to justify his veto of the restaurant ban repeal, he even felt it necessary to invent opposition that never existed, saying

“I take seriously the objections of law enforcement to this measure.”

To my knowledge, there was never any organized law enforcement objection to the measure…unless, as the VCDL suggested in their alert…you count the Alcohol Beverage Control Board…the members of which just happen to be appointed by the Governor. Hmmm.

In any case, both measures passed the General Assembly with close to veto proof margins. We need to contact our legislators and urge them to override these vetoes.

VCDL action alerts are imminent, I’m sure. I’m not waiting for them, I’m going to contact my representatives today.

Legislative update ACTION ITEM

VCDL sent out their action alert to ask everyone to urge the Governor to sign the Restaurant ban repeal.

They didn’t use the handy dandy, enter your name and click “send” tool…probably because the Governors office has a special online form and apparently doesn’t accept standard e-mail.

They did provide, however, a standard blurb that you can copy and paste into your email if you don’t want to formulate your own. VCDL’s alert with the copy-and-paste text is HERE.

I provided the link to the Governor’s contact page a couple of days ago. Here it is again if you’re inclined to write your own letter and don’t want to use the VCDL text or link. Here’s what I sent.

Governor Kaine,

Gun Owners have been treated as second class citizens in Virginia for way too long. Those of us who have paid the fees, received the training, submitted to the background investigation and received concealed handgun permits are not anyone to fear. CHP holders have demonstrably proven to be the single most law abiding cross-section of society in the state and the country.

As Citizens of the United States and the great Commonwealth of Virginia, we have the right and responsibility to provide for the protection and defense of ourselves and our families. The Police, although they do a great job and are deserving of our utmost respect, CANNOT be at all places and all times to defend us.

Exercising that right of self defense under current Virginia law requires us to display our defensive tools openly in restaurants that serve alcohol. This policy has caused unnecessary disruptions, police interaction and even some frivolous arrests. Allowing those (relatively few) of us who take the safety of ourselves and our families serious to be discreet while doing so in restaurants, is not a danger to other citizens and will prevent the types of misunderstandings and unnecessary angst that has occurred in the past.

Alcohol and guns don’t mix. And that’s why the law stipulates no drinking while armed. If we can be trusted to obey the law in every other venue, then we deserve the respect to be trusted in those that also serve alcohol. Licensed Concealed Handgun Permit holders are not any part of the problem.

Feel free to plagiarize at will or copy outright if you so desire.

Phone calls and snail mail letters are also helpful (and, by some accounts carry more weight than e-mail) so here is the Governor’s more “traditional” contact information:

Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Phone: (804) 786-2211

Whatever you do PLEASE, contact the Governors office about this important issue.

Good lies are based on a kernel of truth

And the anti-gunners are old pros at the science and art of telling good lies.

This article was brought to my attention by both Caleb and an e-mail from a reader (thanks Keith) who pointed out David’s blog post on it (who kindly notes that the author of the article…who, incidentally, was not present at the demonstration about which he opines…happens to be a board member of the anti-gun “Virginians against handgun violence”).

Although the points made by the author in the piece are based on some facts (as all good lies tend to be), the picture that they are used to paint is a blatant falsehood.

There WAS some laughter, there were, I believe, two or three times where someone shouted “Second Amendment” or “Protect our rights” or something along those lines, but they didn’t happen while speakers were talking; they happened during lulls in the “presentation.” There were no coordinated chants, cat-calls, jeering, boos or any other incidents that could have been construed as disrupting their program. During the “lie-in” someone did shout “all in support of gun rights stand up” followed by laughter.

There WAS some laughter when a few of the anti-rights people broke out in a very poorly presented rendition of “we shall overcome”; the laughter was in response, however, not so much to their lack of musical prowess, but toward the irony of a group dedicated to ERASING a basic civil right hijacking the theme song of a movement that fought to ACHIEVE civil rights. There was some background talking, and some loud comments, but not to the level that could possibly be construed as “disrupting” their demonstration.

I would also point out that they misrepresent the spirit and intent of their demonstration. This was not a vigil “in memory” of the victims of Virginia Tech, this was a political rally for the purpose of supporting and advancing a political agenda…the banners they proudly held high didn’t say “remember the victims”, they said “close the gunshow loophole”. The fact that they brazenly used victims of a tragedy to endorse their cause (something that some would classify as practicing Saltatus Cruoris), does not make their event anything other than what it was: a public, political rally.

If they didn’t want the public to show up, they could have done it on private land, the very fact that they have the audacity to hold a public rally on public land and then cry about it when the public that shows up doesn’t support their cause is very telling. Additionally telling about their intentions and inability to tolerate dissenting views is the fact that they tried to have the part of the public that didn’t agree with them removed before the event even started.

In any case, the bottom line is that there was no “intimidation” or “bullying” coming from the pro-gun side. If anything, we were in very good spirits and were decidedly non-threatening (except, of course, to people who “feel threatened” by the very visage of an armed citizen). The only people expressing anger or outrage were the anti-gunners. As I mentioned in my original post, the only people doing any pushing and shoving were the anti-gunners. I have to wonder if they were trying to provoke a response intentionally to try to foment an altercation that they could point to as evidence of our “bullying”. Unfortunately for them, gun owners tend to be more emotionally stable than they so their efforts to start trouble went unrewarded.

If we had made a concerted effort to disrupt their program, had heckled their speakers, chanted slogans or shouted them down (as I have seen done time and time again when the roles are reversed), I would have been the first to criticize the conduct of the attendees…but that didn’t happen. We showed up, there were a few isolated incidents of shouts (when no speakers were talking), some laughter, some commenting amongst ourselves, but absolutely nothing that could be considered “bullying” or “intimidation”. Those charges are outright lies.

The fact is that the anti-gunner’s entire case rests on an emotional reaction rather than facts or reason. This is nothing more than an attempt to engender further emotional response by smearing the supporters of liberty…unfortunately, as usual, they will have the full collusion of the MSM in spreading their distortions and lies and many will never hear the truth. This is the battle that we wage daily and that’s why we can never rest.

Letter to Dick

I tried to post this yesterday, but for some reason it didn’t take.

I wasn’t going to post this since I already talked about it twice before, but several people have gotten into the act including a blistering open letter sent to Senator Saslaw by Nicki Fellenzer of The Liberty Zone.

Since it’s generating so much interest, here’s the letter I sent to Senator Saslaw regarding his “Deliverance” comment:

Senator Saslaw,

I was mainly curious if your bigotry toward Virginia gun owners is only your own personal opinion, or was that statement made as Senate Majority Leader, and therefore the official position of Senate Democrats? I’m going to CC this to my Senator, Mr. Ralph Northam so he can respond in the event that he desires to depart from your stated opinion.

Yes, I’m aware that you have made a weak (and cowardly, in my opinion) contention that you “may” have been talking about another group. So I ask you: does it really matter WHICH group of constituents that you hold in such low esteem? Just the simple fact that you would refer to ANY of your constituents in such a disrespectful and dismissive manner indicates to me that you have a serious superiority complex.

I can only hope that the voters of the 35th district keep your opinion of unidentified sectors of your constituency in mind the next time you come up for re-election. I guess If they don’t, then they will continue to get the level of representation in the Senate that they deserve.

Sincerely,

Curtis R. Stone
ATC(AW) USN(Ret)

For those who still haven’t let the good Senator know how you feel about his comments, I’ll re-iterate his contact info for your convenience:

Senator Richard L. Saslaw
(D-Senate District 35)
Virginia Senate Majority Leader

In-session address:
General Assembly Building, Room 613
Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 698-7535

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1856
Springfield, Virginia 22151-0856
(703) 978-0200

email: district35@sov.state.va.us

Productive Weekend

I spent the last two afternoons working the VCDL table at the Southeastern Guns and Knives Gun Show held at the Hampton Coliseum.

I have to say that this was the busiest gun show I’ve ever seen in Hampton.
I have a feeling that the prospects of a Democrat dominated federal government have increased the interest in buying firearms, magazines and such that may not be available in the near future. I imagine that had a lot to do with the large turnout.

We got a lot of interest, had many, many people stop to speak with us, handed out hundreds of pamphlets, accepted plenty of donations to VCDL and to VCDL-PAC, sold a few T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and such, signed lots of people up to our e-mail list and even signed up several new members.

I want to take this time to thank everyone who linked here and helped increase awareness of John Moses Browning day events last week in Richmond. Most people I mentioned it to had heard about it, and some mentioned it first. We got many, many positive statements from people who had heard about it and had become aware of VCDL through the coverage.

If you are a Virginian and want to help, click any of the links above to get involved with VCDL in any way you can. (we’ll accept donations and support from non-Virginians as well).

Please join. It’s only $25 per year, VCDL does NOT bombard you with solicitations for additional donations like some gun rights groups do, and we are CMP affiliated which is one of the requirements for purchasing a rifle from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

Don’t think that being a member of the NRA is enough. Although I am a life member of he NRA and support their mission, their emphasis is on the national stage. VCDL is the most effective and active player in Virginia gun rights. We are the “point man” in Virginia and the more members we have, the more voters we represent, the more effective we can be in Richmond in support of YOUR gun rights as well as our own.

I would also urge any readers in other states, if you aren’t a member of your state level gun rights groups: join. Find out about the groups in your area, find out what they’ve done and what they’re doing, get involved. Do as much as you can. I don’t have the time or money to do as much as I’d like, but I write letters and e-mails, I call legislators, I work the gun shows when I have the opportunity and I make the big events when I can. When we all do a little bit, it amounts to a lot of good work getting done.

I’ve heard many people over the years say “I wish we had a group like VCDL in OUR state.” The chances are, you do. The only difference is that you aren’t involved in it and aren’t aware of the work that they’re doing. If you really want to do something for gun rights in your state, get involved at whatever level you can.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
— Edward Everett Hale

Comment Response

In response to this post, a reader from Israel (thanks for visiting, doubletapper) asked a valid question:

How would they ever have enforced the ban at outdoor public festivals?

Here in Israel, they just outlawed the riding of bicycles without a helmet. They never made any provision for enforcement. The cops say “How are we going to write tickets to 8 year olds? They have no ID?”

It must be an international requirement that Big Government has low IQ!

The short answer is, they can’t. They never really even INTEND to enforce such legislation against those who would be a danger…namely, criminals. The legislation was in direct result, and in support of, the harassment of law abiding gun owners.

Now the long answer (as my regular readers are well aware, brevity is not my strong suit):

I thought some history would be in order because I believe it’s indicative of how effective (and hated in some circles) the VCDL has become under the strong leadership of President Phillip Van Cleave, the Board, and the Executive Members.

All three of the bills that I noted in that last post were introduced in direct response to the VCDL and our activities.

The “outdoor festivals” ban was a reaction to the saga of VCDL and opencarry.org member Chet Szymecki. In a nutshell, Mr. Szymecki and his family attended a festival in Norfolk while openly carrying a defensive sidearm. Unbeknownst to them, the august Norfolk City Council had passed an (illegal) ordnance banning firearms at said festival. Mr. Szymecki was (illegally) accosted, (illegally) detained and (illegally) arrested and his family and a friend’s two children under their care were left stranded with no vehicle, no money and no help. The charges against him were pretty quickly dropped but VCDL attended the next available Norfolk City Council meeting in force and very forcefully voiced our displeasure with Mr. Szymecki’s treatment.

To my knowledge, Mr. Szymecki’s lawsuit is still pending. The city’s knee-jerk reaction? Get an anti-gun legislator to introduce a bill that would make such ordnances legal. Norfolk’s own representatives are not sufficiently anti-gun (or anti-reelection) to do it, so they enlisted the assistance of Hampton/Newport News representative, Senator Mamie Locke.

The second bill, also introduced by Senator Locke, was in direct response to festivities in Newport News. There has been an ongoing battle in the state to get public libraries to discontinue the practice of posting illegal and unenforceable prohibitions on the lawful carry of defensive firearms on their premises. I went through that here in Norfolk a while back. Most localities are simply unaware that their prohibitions are…um…prohibited…and remove the signs immediately upon being informed so. Newport News officials, however, refused. Again, we descended on the City Council and let them know of our displeasure. I thought I had posted about that meeting but I must not have because I can’t find it now, but I was there. Anyway, the Newport News City Council was infuriated that we lowly subjects had the audacity to demand that our rulers obey the state laws that bind the rest of us. The signs were eventually removed, but this legislation was their ineffectual effort to thumb their noses at the VCDL and the citizens of their fine city.

The final legislation introduced by Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, was designed to prevent the VCDL from using the public Mason District Governmental Center in Annandale (which happens to be in her district) to hold meetings, as has been our practice for several years. The primary motivation for this move was the “Bloomberg gun giveaway” held at that location by VCDL in support of the Virginia gun dealers who were fighting back against Mayor Mikey Bloomberg’s infamous illegal sting operation. The government of Annandale, in league with anti-gun forces in Virginia and the Brady Campaign, tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to halt the gun giveaway. Again, this legislation was intended as a “thumb to the eye” of the VCDL.

Noteably, all three pieces of…um…legislation…failed miserably, but just having the anti-gunners care so much about us that they would go to so much trouble to even attempt to annoy us means that we MUST be doing SOMETHING right.

Ain’t politics fun?