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.

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Everybody watched…

ABC Nightline last night right?

They did a bit on open carry and covered the VCDL picnic that was held last Saturday. I was at the picnic, but I didn’t see me in the video so I must have successfully evaded the camera the whole time.

Anyway, I stayed up and watched it. I thought the coverage was very fair and even-handed. Kudos to ABC for keeping the typical media hysteria about guns under control.

One thing that really stood out to me was when the reporter said something to the effect of: :”There is still some disagreement about whether guns cause or prevent crime…”

Um…you just spent an afternoon with about 200 visibly armed people. How many crimes were committed?

“Disagreement” resolved.

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VCDL Blog

A few of you already know, but now it’s official:

VCDL is pleased to announce a new dimension in our efforts to keep the membership informed of state level concerns and firearm rights issues in general. Two of our members, Curtis Stone and Clint Kritzer, created a new blog endorsed by the leadership of the organization.

The blog will be moderated to make sure that it stays family friendly. This, in concert with the VA-ALERT system, will help keep VCDL membership the best informed and energized grass roots pro-rights organization in the nation.

Check us out daily for late breaking news and commentary from the front line of the war to preserve our rights. This is another avenue for you to contribute your suggestions and opinions on current efforts and issues. If you are already a blogger, please link to us and help keep your readers informed of the happenings in the Commonwealth.

The link to the newest tool in our fight to defend OUR Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Virginia is:

http://blog.vcdl.org

I doubt that anyone even remembers now, but back in February I alluded to a super special project that I was working on. Well…there you go. It took a little longer to get things rolling than I expected, but I’ll post more on that later.

Along with my friend, fellow VCDL member and regular contributor here, Clint, I am now one of two official VCDL bloggers. I may make some cross posts now and again, but basically, my VCDL posts will now be occurring over there rather than here.

We’d appreciate some linky love if any other gun bloggers out there feel inclined.

I would especially like to point out our links list in the sidebar. I put a lot of work into it and I think it’s probably the most comprehensive list of gun related resource links on the internet. Check it out when you have a week or two of spare time.

Feel free to drop me a line if I missed any important resources. I’m sure there are plenty more gun related blogs that I missed so be sure to let me know about them. By the way, while researching the links, I realized that a few of the state level gun rights organizations don’t have an internet presence. If you live in any of those states, I’m sure they could use some help with that. Heck, even just a small site hosted on on a “free” webspace with nothing more than contact info would be better than nothing.

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Bleg from VCDL

HELP NEEDED

As part of my talk on concealed carry, I am also going to cover firearms safety for those students who are going to be shooting for the first time on Monday!

They are going to be shooting at the Blue Ridge Arsenal.

The organizer, Shawn Deehan, needs some Glock 9 MM (or similar) handguns to use for that shoot on Monday.

If you can loan a gun to Shawn for the shoot, or provide help with the shoot, give Shawn a call at: 540-854-9010 to make arrangements.

STUDENTS AT GMU TO FORM SHOOTING CLUB!

Shawn said that there is going to be a shooting club formed at GMU and they are going to lobby for a RANGE ON CAMPUS!!

And VCDL will be there to help with that effort.

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Governor Tim (I caint reed to gud) Kaine

held a “town hall” meeting in the Boyd dining center at the Virginia Wesleyan University in Norfolk this evening.

I didn’t take my video recorder because I wasn’t sure there would be anyone else there to record while I asked my question…I needn’t have worried, there were plenty of gun rights supporters there to back me up. At any rate, I did record audio.

I got there early and there weren’t many people there yet. Ultimately, the showing wasn’t too bad…maybe 100 people.

Although there was no organized VCDL effort to get people there, in addition to me, there were at least 6 overt gun rights supporters there and I saw quite a few heads nodding and supportive looks in the crowd that I assume were on our side, even if that wasn’t the specific issue they attended in order to see addressed.

The question revolves around an issue that I blogged about last week. Here’s what I had jotted down to ask him:

Governor Kaine: During this session, you vetoed SB 476 which would have allowed licensed Concealed Handgun Permit holders to discreetly carry their defensive arms in restaurants, provided that they don’t drink. As justification for that veto, you stated that “guns and alcohol don’t mix.”

Yet you signed into law SB 776 which allows Commonwealth Attorneys and their assistants to carry concealed handguns into those same restaurants with no requirements for training, licensing and with no prohibition against drinking.

How do you justify that apparent hypocrisy?

Well, I never got to ask it because another gun rights supporter beat me to the punch. I couldn’t find the questioner after the meeting because he was on the other side of the room from me and he somehow disappeared before I tracked him down to get his name. If he stumbles across this account I hope he will identify himself in the comments. Well done sir.

Update: The most recent VCDL alert (which kindly linked here…thanks Phillip) revealed the identity of the mystery questioner: VCDL member Bruce Fiinkelstein. Thanks brother, you did an excellent job of presenting the question. [/Update]

At any rate, Governor Kaine’s response?

I explain it by saying you got the bills wrong. Your first statement of my veto was 100% accurate. Virginia does not allow concealed weapons to be carried into restaurants except by sworn law enforcement officers…

Commonwealth Attorneys are not sworn law enforcement…

Well, you know, I have a lot of lawyers and we spent a lot of time on this…

While Commonwealth Attorneys can carry concealed weapons because of the bill I signed, they can’t take them into restaurants that serve alcohol.

Audio Here (right click and “save as” to download…no hotlinks please)

Update: Someone videotaped the first question and response. Here’s your link courtesy of VCDL. [/Update]

Well.

I wonder what the bill actually says.

Let’s find out, shall we?

§ 18.2-308

It seems that he was…um…almost right.

J3. No person shall carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in § 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia; however, nothing herein shall prohibit any sworn law-enforcement officer from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of such restaurant or club or any owner or event sponsor or his employees from carrying a concealed handgun while on duty at such restaurant or club if such person has a concealed handgun permit.

However, above that, in paragraph B…Houston, we have a problem:

B. This section shall not apply to any person while in his own place of abode or the curtilage thereof.

Except as provided in subsection J1, this section shall not apply to: [emphasis added]

9. Any attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, wherever such attorney may travel in the Commonwealth. [italics in original: this is the newly added language -ed]

So…The governor would be right…EXCEPT that subsection B exempts Commonwealth Attorneys and assistant Commonwealth Attorneys from ALL provisions of the section except subsection J1. Subsection J1 is the prohibition against carrying while intoxicated.

Therefore, unless there is some new mechanism of the English language or the Virginia legal use thereof of which I’m unaware: Governor Kaine is incapable of comprehending the law and apparently he is is due a refund for the billable hours involved in the “lot of time” that his “lot of lawyers” spent on this issue…he got ripped off.

Back to the meeting:

A little later on, another fellow gun rights supporter (and fellow VCDL member…and fellow Navy vet), Al McClean, who happened to be sitting right behind me, was called upon.

Mr. McClean actually read the problematic text from the bill in question and re-iterated that it would allow Commonwealth Attorneys to carry concealed in restaurants. Governor Kaine stuck to his (erroneous) guns (pun most definitely intended).

He insisted that the Attorney General and his Public Safety Secretary have ASSURED him that this law doesn’t mean what it says. Then he dismissed the argument by saying “I’m not going to debate the wording with you…”

How DARE we question him about it…

Mr. McClean went on to ask why, if he can be trusted to carry openly, he cannot be trusted to carry concealed in a safe manner. Governor Kaine went back to the “I’m too stupid to understand these issues so I just do what the State Police tells me to do” argument.

OK. That’s not EXACTLY what he said.

But I think I captured the spirit of his rationalization excuse reasoning.

Finally, another VCDL member asked the final gun related question. I did not get this person’s name either (like an idiot…I was sitting right next to him, but he left shortly after asking his question and I didn’t think about it until he was gone…if you happen across my humble blog, please let us know who you are in comments).

Basically, he asked why other states that recognize Virginia’s permits allow him to carry concealed in restaurants, but his home state, the state that issued his permit, does not. I thought it was an excellent point, but Governor Kaine retreated to the “if your friends jumped off a cliff would you follow them” argument used by parents and authoritarians everywhere. The gist of his response was “I can’t control what other Governors do.”

Audio Here (same caveats as above)

Had he called on me, I would have followed up with something like:

“When the State Police advised you to deny the will of the people by vetoing SB 476, which was passed by the people’s representatives by a wide margin, what evidence did they cite in support of their recommendation to veto? Which of the many states that currently allow concealed carry in bars and restaurants have experienced problems with this policy? And finally, what provision of the Virginia Constitution empowers an un-elected representative of the State Police to arbitrarily over-ride the will of the people?”

Unfortunately, by this time, he was beginning to get leery of calling on anyone else in our general area so he moved on to another section of the room.

Shame. I’m thinking the “answer” to that one would have been…um…interesting.

At any rate, it was an entertaining evening and we Virginians can take heart in the fact that neither our Harvard Law School graduate Governor, nor the Attorney General, nor the Public Safety Secretary are capable of comprehending some fairly straightforward language in the statutes that the Governor signs.

That’s a relief. I was afraid that they may have been lying about it.

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The Only Ones syndrome strikes again

Apparently, guns and alcohol don’t mix…unless you’re a Virginia Commonwealth Attorney or deputy.

As my readers already know, SB 476, which would have allowed CHP holders to carry discreetly in establishments that serve alcohol provided that they don’t drink, and that they inform the staff that they are carrying, was vetoed by Governor Tim (I’ll never hold another elected office in the State of Virginia for the rest of my natural life) Kaine.

It has recently come to my attention (through a VCDL Alert, of course) that Governor Tim (I wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit me in the ass) Kaine signed SB 776 into law. What does SB 776 do you ask? Why, it allows “off-duty” Commonwealth’s Attorneys and their deputies to carry concealed weapons into those selfsame establishments that serve alcohol without even requiring them to complete the background checks, training and other associated stupid human tricks necessary to obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit.

“Well”, you might think, “surely they included the provision making it illegal to drink while carrying concealed in bars and restaurants and that they’ll have to inform the staff that they’re carrying just like the common peasants would have right?”

Nope.

So: According to Governor Tim (you can tell I’m lying because my gums are flapping) Kaine, the old canard “guns and alcohol don’t mix” only applies to us commoners. Employees of the citizenry are “above” such apothegms.

Governor Tim (don’t look at me, you were the one stupid enough to believe my campaign promises) Kaine is holding a series of “Town Hall meetings” allowing the subjects citizens to ask questions about the past session. He was in Newport News last night. The report from VCDL:

The Governor tried to obfuscate by saying that Commonwealth Attorneys are “law enforcement,” but not SWORN law enforcement and therefore couldn’t carry concealed in restaurants that serve alcohol, as he read the bill. He did say he was “pretty sure” that was true, but would look at the bill again.

The Governor is flat out wrong. Amazing, since he has a degree from Harvard, yet can’t seem to read a basic bill and understand it.

He’s going to be in Norfolk on the 19th. I’ve already cleared it with the boss, I’m going to be there and see if I can get an opportunity to ask him if he’s had a chance to research the law he signed yet. By they way, if he looks at it again and finds that it DOES allow what VCDL says it does…will he “unsign” it? Just curious. I would think he would read the darn thing BEFORE affixing his signature and making it the law of the land…but that’s just me. I’m just a humble serf, not a mighty omnipotent ruler.

As a side note…just to rub salt in the wound…I find that BOTH of my representatives voted AGAINST SB 476 but voted FOR SB 776. I sent them both the following letter asking them to clarify their positions:

I’m confused about something that perhaps you could clear up.

You voted against SB 476 during the last session which would have allowed trained, background checked and licensed Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit holders to discreetly carry their defensive firearms in establishments that serve alcohol. This law would have also made it a crime for said qualified and licensed permittees to drink ANY alcohol while armed in such an establishment and also required them to inform the establishment’s staff that they were armed.

During the same session, you voted FOR SB 776, which allows “off duty” Commonwealth Attorneys and their deputies…with no requirements for training, background checks or licenses…to carry concealed firearms in those same establishments that serve alcohol; SB 776, however, has no prohibition against said attorneys and deputies drinking while armed and provides no requirement for informing the staff that they are armed.

The mixed signals are very confusing to me. Is the adage “guns and alcohol don’t mix” limited in its scope and application? If so, why?

Are employees of the citizenry somehow deserving of more rights and privileges than their employers? If so, why?

I’ll be anxiously awaiting your reply.

I’ll post any replies I get.

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Well, They didn’t waste any time

No Restaurant ban repeal this year.

Two things: Kaine just signed his political death warrant when he inevitably runs for higher office. The vast majority of Virginians…both Democrat and Republican…support gun rights. Kaine demonstrated that he is not to be trusted on this issue…ever…regardless of how sincerely he promises during campaigns. Not only can he not be trusted to support the Second Amendment, but he also demonstrated that he CAN ABSOLUTELY be trusted to lie when it is politically expedient to do so.

I will be supremely surprised if he ever wins another election of any kind in this state.

Secondly, several people in comments to my post about the Vetoes suggested that we make a point of openly carrying in restaurants. Many CHP holders lock their firearms in their cars (or leave them at home) when patronizing establishments that serve alcohol. That needs to stop today. If seeing citizens with guns makes hoplophobes sheep subjects people uncomfortable, they need to get on our side and urge passage of this law change next year. We’ve got about ten months to make restaurateurs and patrons so uncomfortable that they get behind us on this…lets get cracking.

From VCDL:

The veto override for SB 476, Senator Hanger’s restaurant ban repeal, failed by a 22 to 18 vote. 27 votes were needed to override.

The veto override for SB 436, Senator Vogal’s locked container bill, failed by a 25 to 15 vote, falling only TWO votes short of the override.

Veto overrides are tough to do, but by no means impossible. That’s because the Governor will pressure members of his party to back his veto.

*** SB 476 ***

Two Democrats buckled, which didn’t make a difference as we could not get anyone who voted against the bill originally to stand up and vote for the override. We needed to pickup 3 votes to make the override work. The odds of saving the bill were slim, but worth the try.

Here are the Senators who voted WRONG on SB 476. Those with asterisks by their name buckled, having voted right to pass the bill, but wrong on the override:

Barker, Blevins, Colgan**, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Norment, Northam, Puckett**, Puller, Saslaw, Ticer, Whipple

Here are the Senators to thank:

Cuccinelli, Deeds, Edwards, Hanger, Houck, Hurt, Martin, McDougle, Newman, Obenshain, Petersen, Quayle, Reynolds, Ruff, Smith, Stolle, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Wampler, Watkins

Senator Hanger made an excellent speech on the bill before the vote.

Senator “Deliverance” Saslaw used his old lie that if you open carried into a restaurant in Northern Virginia, they would kick you out. He has no idea how wrong he is. 😉

Senator Cuccinelli, who is considering a run for Attorney General BTW, challenged Saslaw on Saslaw’s position.

*** SB 436 ***

Six Democrats buckled, causing the override for SB 436 to fail, when it shouldn’t have. By buckling, those Democrats are saying that currying favor with the Governor is more important than your right to protect yourself.

Here are the Senators who voted WRONG on SB 436. Those with asterisks by their name buckled, having voted right to pass the bill, but wrong on the override and caused this bill to die:

Barker**, Colgan**, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsh, McEachin, Yvonne Miller**, Northam**, Petersen**, Puller, Saslaw, Ticer, Whipple**

Here are the Senators to thank:

Blevins, Cuccinelli, Deeds, Edwards, Hanger, Houck, Hurt, Martin, McDougle, Miller, J.C., Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Puckett, Quayle, Reynolds, Ruff, Smith, Stolle, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Wampler, Watkins

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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.

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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.

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Can’t we all just get along?

I started to just post a comment to this, but the more I think about it, the more it annoys me and I think it deserves a post of its own.

I can’t help that I found this funny. Note the latest link goes to a page that’s nearly a year old. Meanwhile, the breaking news on the issue is this:

At the request of the Bush Administration and 51 members of the United States Senate led by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibition of firearms on agency land will be revised in the following weeks. …

UPDATE: I just got the “Breaking News” email alert, but the website is still out-of-date by about a year. Oh, and of course, they take the credit for it by putting in petitions when no where were those petitions cited as reasons why this happened. I actually have more information on this front, but I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say. I’ll need to check with my sources on that before I elaborate.

And in the comments:

Look, I actually respect VCDL’s work. However, this is a time when they were late to the game, and didn’t actually add anything to the debate that got things done.

If VCDL was such a meaningful player on this, why weren’t they sent the copy of the letter from Kempthorne?

Of course, your email still doesn’t acknowledge the humor factor in the website postings. Considering even the archives of the emails you speak of are years out of date, there’s little on the public side of things that reflects action. If you can’t acknowledge that, then you’re drinking Kool-Aid. Even I admit weaknesses – especially amusing ones – about groups I support.

I’m having trouble even formulating a coherent response to this.

First of all, to the charge that the VCDL tried to “take the credit.” Here is what VCDL had to say about it:

The efforts of VCDL, which includes TWO Petitions for Rule Making cosigned by Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a host of state organizations (the VCDL web site lists all of the cosigners), as well as the NRA doing a separate effort in tandem which culminated in a letter from 51 U.S. Senators to the DOI, has just paid off!

I would be more sympathetic to her argument had the VCDL not even mentioned the NRA…as the NRA has done many times when discussing efforts that other organizations were involved in.

The fact is that VCDL has been working on this issue for TWO YEARS.

VCDL leadership is understandably happy that we are finally seeing some results, whether those results were a direct consequence of our actions or completely independent of them is irrelevant.

In her comment, she says that VCDL was “late to the game”. Bitter…what the HELL are you talking about? I say again…VCDL has been working on this issue for TWO YEARS. We’ve been trying to get the 800 lb gorilla of the gun rights community involved but they FINALLY deigned to bring the weight of their 4 million members to bear and it got done.

WE’RE “late to the game?” We could have had this done TWO YEARS ago, had the NRA got off it’s collective butt and actually supported us. But no…as usual, they ignored anything but their own interests. When did they finally get involved? When enough people started taking note of the issue.

Why were people taking note of it? Because this issue has been peculating and building momentum for TWO YEARS…thanks to whom? VCDL.

Congrats, Bitter. The group that you love to love no matter what finally got behind the issue…two years into it…but VCDL was “late to the game” and “contributed nothing.”

I thought we are all on the same side.

Apparently not.

As far as the site being out of date.

FOR SHAME that an all volunteer organization without one single paid staff member could be so negligent. How many paid IT professionals does it take to run the NRA site and keep it up to date, I wonder?

I say again: VCDL is an ALL VOLUNTEER organization. Bitter, you are a Virginia resident: what have YOU done to help? I’ve never seen you at a VCDL meeting. I haven’t seen you at any city council meetings. I didn’t see you lobbying our state legislators last month. I’ve never seen you volunteering at a gun show.

Other than sit on your condescending high horse and cheerlead for the NRA, what have YOU done that justifies your criticizing a group that works so hard and does so much to protect and advance YOUR rights?

In stead of finding it humorous that the site is out of date, when have you ever volunteered to help? I can give you the webmaster’s e-mail address if that what’s holding you back.

I guess all the members of state-wide organizations should just quit and let the NRA do its thing. We’re no good for anything anyway, what with being “late to the game” and all.

I was just getting ready to head to the range, but I had to respond to this and now I don’t have time. Thanks Bitter.

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