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Updated: 10 hours 14 min ago

Americans Believe Firearms Make them Safer

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 13:58
This just has to tick off the gun ban lobby.  Their mantra for years has been having a firearm in the home makes you more likely to be the victim of gun violence. This new Gallup poll reports that more than 60% of the public believe a firearm in the home makes them safer.  This is double the percentage that said that in 2000.
The poll also found that 42% of Americans report having a firearm in their home. Gallup notes this is a self-reported measure and it has fluctuated from survey to survey.  Gallup has found that household gun ownership has ranged from a low of 34% in 1999 to a high of 51% in 1993.  It is unknown how many gun owners refuse to say in a phone call if they own a firearm so it is possible that the 42% is significantly higher.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup, appeared on Sportsman Channel's NRANews Cam and Company on Friday to discuss the poll.
Categories: News

Will 2014 Election Be Remembered as the Final Defeat for Gun Control Advocates?

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 10:29
That's what columnist Ken Braun suggested in his article yesterday at MLive:
Following the release of this week’s election results, many big issues will be credited or blamed for altering the balance of power in Congress and state capitols. But despite the political and financial capital spent to the contrary, one issue that won’t leave much of a mark will be gun control. History may record the aftermath of this election as the era when stricter gun control advocates finally gave up.He goes on to detail in the article reasons to back-up his theory.  Things like the fact that when Gabby Giffords was making her rounds in nine states pushing gun control last month, not a single candidate appeared with her.  Braun also noted that even Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy was in a tight battle with a candidate who was promising to repeal the gun bans that Malloy signed into law.  The same with Governor John Higgenlooper in Colorado.  Both Malloy and Higgenlooper prevailed in very tight races but Braun notes that neither incumbent ran on protecting the laws they signed.  Braun spoke with Cam Edwards of NRANews.com yesterday and talked a little more in depth about his article and his theory.
I'm not quite convinced that gun control advocates have faced their final defeat, but I do think as a campaign issue, candidates have avoided it whenever possible for about 20 years.  That's why Bloomberg's groups shifted tactics to strategies like they employed with Initiative 594 in Washington state.  It is likely we are going to be facing ballot initiatives more often than candidates who run on gun control as an issue in future elections.

Update: Regarding ballot initiatives, Bloomberg thinks it's the wave of the future too.  Hat tip to VSSA Executive Director Lu Charette for the update.
Categories: News

The Message To Gun Owners from Election Night 2014

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:33
Much is being written about last night's huge victory for Republicans.  In Virginia, the big story was how close the U.S. Senate race ended up.  While Warner has not claimed out right victory and Gillespie has not conceded, Warner clings to a razor thin 13,000 vote margin out of over 2 million votes cast.  The disappointing thing to note is had everyone who cast a vote for Dave Brat in the 7th District, and Barbara Comstock in the 10th also voted for Ed Gillespie, Warner would be packing his senate office this morning.  In my home county of Chesterfield, Gillespie underperformed his ticket mates Brat and Forbes (Chesterfield is split between two congressional districts) by about 5500 votes - almost half his final deficit.  If you are voting for Brat, the candidate who defeated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, it is hard to understand how that same person votes for Mark Warner, or doesn't vote in the Senate race at all. You have to believe those folks oppose President Obama's policies and anyone who has supported them.

Across the country, candidates who supported the rights of law-abiding gun owners won in places like Maryland where GOP candidate Larry Hogan will be the next governor, North Carolina where Thom Tillis defeated Senator Kay Hagan, and Iowa where Joni Ernst defeated Bruce Braley.  There are some exceptions however.  In Colorado, John Higgenlooper, the man who signed the ammunition magazine ban that caused Magpul to leave the state, looks like he survived a close race all the while Republican Cory Gardner was defeating Senator Mark Udall.

The troubling result is passage of Initiative 594 (I-594) in Washington State.  I wrote last month that what happens with I-594 will impact us in Virginia.  Supporters of I-594 say it simply requires so-called "universal" background checks on the sale of privately owned firearms.  But it would do so much more. And as Caleb notes over on Gun Nuts media, the strategy employed by its supporters should be a wake up call to pro-rights activists:
But allow me to return to the point. The reason why 594 passing is bad news for gun owners everywhere is because it validates Bloomberg’s strategy. This is a new kind of gun control game, they’re smarter than the Brady Campaign and they have functionally unlimited resources. Yes, they played it smart in Washington. They picked an issue that’s easy to misrepresent in universal background checks; they played that issue to a strong blue voter base, and then they spent a ton of money on marketing and GOTV. That’s textbook “Winning Ballot Questions 101″ and it’s really hard to fight against.

I would expect to see a lot more ballot question fights in the near future, and I’d expect them to be over things like background checks. It is by far the toughest fight for us, because defeating their argument requires low information blue voters to actually care about facts, and that right there is why we lost in WA. Gun rights had all the facts on their side, and they still lost.

Sure, gun control at the national level is dead for at least two years. But buckle up Sally, because at the state level things could be getting rodeo pretty quick. Virginia is not an initiative state, but that doesn't mean we won't have to expend a considerable amount of effort on defeating legislative proposals pushing so-called "universal" background checks. That fight will be greatest in the State Senate where we have had to work hard to keep background check bills from getting out of committee even with a GOP majority.  Get ready because it's going to be a busy legislative session.

Update: John Lott asks the question, considering the initiative passed with just slightly less than 60% of the vote, with the gun ban lobby finally stop claiming that 90% support "universal" background checks?
Categories: News

You've Used Deadly Force, Now What?

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 15:28
Lee Vernon, and CEO of Combative Weapon Solutions, has some useful information titled The Aftermath of Using Deadly Force over on the Personal Defense Network web site:
At the Concealed Handgun Licensing classes I’ve taught for years, I often throw out the old “What would you do in x, y, z situation?” question to students. And just as often, I’ve been amused and appalled at the responses. I then try to explain that, depending on the situation, what we think we will do and what we actually end up doing may be two totally different things. Simply put, every situation is different. That plus your experience and amount of training will dictate to a large degree the choices made. And the choices made in those critical few seconds have major implications in more ways than people realize. Let’s look at what you will likely have to deal with after a situation where you use deadly force. Vernon goes through the law enforcement response, lawyers and insurance, financial and emotional distress that you will likely encounter.  It's a must read.

This is a good time to mention that VSSA members get a special discount at Virginia Self Defense Law.  This isn't insurance, it's a retainer agreement.  VSSA President Ernie Padgette is a client of VSDL, and if you carry concealed, you should be too.  If you want peace of mind about what might happen if you have to use your self defense firearm to protect you or your family, contact VSDL today.
Categories: News

Gerry Connelly Doubles Down in VA 11th

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 08:17
Gerry Connolly is the Democrat Congressman in Virginia's 11th Congressional District.  This race had not been on the radar until the last week because it has been a safe Democrat enclave (rated as a +10 D) since Republican Tom Davis retired from congress several years ago.  But last week my email inbox started exploding with email from people like former Governor and NRA Board member Jim Gilmore and others touting Republican Suzanne Scholte.  Then, I saw this post yesterday over on Guns and Curves.  It's an open letter from a Scholte supporter taking Connolly to task for his "War on Women" attacks:
The real irony here is that your Republican opponent is not only a woman but is an Award Winning Human Rights Activist. She even was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award this year from President Obama. Scholte has fought for human rights and women’s rights in the United States and abroad. She has been the President of the Defense Forum Foundation since 1988.And he hasn't stopped there.  Connolly is a big gun ban supporter.  Because Scholte supports the rights of law abiding gun owners, he has gone on the attack on this issue too. The open letter also included this graphic:
Connolly is running the typical 2014 campaign talking about birth control and how his opponent wants to ban access to it.  He has done little for his district so he has nothing positive on which to run.  Will Connolly get swept up in what is looking more and more like a GOP wave?  Given the demographics of the district, it will be tough for Scholte to pull it out, but it appears Connelly thinks she might, so he is pulling out all to stops to scare voters that she is an extremist.
Categories: News

Gabby Giffords Struggles to Gain Traction for Gun Control in Mid-term Election

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:14
Breitbart has the story here.  It seems while the former congresswoman is doing her best to make her push for gun control a central issue in the mid-term elections, she is having trouble getting candidates in tight races to join her:
In part by design, but also in recognition of the country's political landscape, not a single candidate in this year's midterm elections for statewide or federal office appeared with Giffords as she made her way from Maine to Washington state over 10 days.Giffords has focused her activity on nine states, including Washington which has an initiative on the ballot that would make the act of an instructor handing a firearm to a student a crime without a background check. All you need to know about just how uphill her challenge is, is this quote:
"If this happened in March or December or any other time, we'd have asked other politicians to join," said Marti Anderson, an Iowa state lawmaker who helped organize a Giffords event in Des Moines. "But it's risky 15 days before an election."While gun control ranks near the bottom of concerns for most voters this election, there are a few exceptions.  Colorado and Connecticut, where major restrictions on the rights of gun owners were rammed through each legislature in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, have pro-rights activists energized to defeat both governors.

Groups like the one Giffords heads, and the multiple organizations Bloomberg funds have gobs of money but they don't have what the pro-rights community have; grassroots.  Money is important but people vote.  We are less than a week out for the election.  Now is the time to double down on efforts to help those candidates who support us.
Categories: News

Virginia Gun Collectors Association Show November 8-9

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 10:07
The Virginia Gun Collectors Association will hold their next show at the Prince William County Fairgrounds November 8-9, 2014.  Saturday hours: 9am - 5pm Sunday hours: 9am - 4pm.  Admission is $7.00 per day or $10.00 for a weekend pass.  

The Virginia Gun Collectors Association is focused on firearms and firearm related equipment at their shows. They maintain a no junk policy and a positive collectors atmosphere. What you will find at the show are knowledgeable vendors with quality firearms, as well as ammunition and shooting supplies. The VGCA provides a firearms evaluation table where experienced collectors will provide you with an estimate on your firearm's value and help you learn about your current collection pieces.
Sales tables cost $65.00 each and Display tables are FREE. No sales may be conducted from Display tables. If you have any special needs, questions about available tables or show rules, please contact Rick Nahas, Show Administrator, at 571-215-8761 or via email at jet53sw@aol.com
There is ample free parking, and food service for breakfast and lunch is available. There are local motels in Manassas for those who are visiting from out of town.  You do not need to be a member of VGCA to reserve a table at the show. If you are interested in reserving one or more tables, please return a completed table application along with a check for the proper amount made out to V.G.C.A. You may request tables to be held for you over the phone but reservations cannot be confirmed until VGCA receives your signed application and check.  
Categories: News

What Current Polls Can Tell Us About the Midterm Elections

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:25
Remember that polls are simply a snapshot in time but National Review's Jim Geraghty has shared the enterprising work of Sean Trende of UVA's Center for Politics that looks at the likelihood that a candidate with a certain percentage lead in the polls at this point in an election will go on to win.  Jim then looks at what Trende's chart tells us about the close races and the chances the GOP will send Harry Reid packing his office and moving to the minority leader's office in the Capitol.  First the good news:
Let’s start with the good news for Republicans.
In Arkansas, Tom Cotton is enjoying a 5.5 point lead. 86 percent chance of victory!

In Colorado, Cory Gardner has a 4 point lead. 91 percent chance of victory!

In Alaska, Dan Sullivan has a 4.3 point lead. 91 percent for him, too!

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell has a 4.4 percent lead.

In Iowa, Joni Ernst has a 2.5 point lead, right between 2 and 3. Oooh, a 70 to 77 percent chance of victory!

(In Louisiana, Bill Cassidy has a 4.8 percent lead in a head-to-head matchup, but that race is almost certain to go to a runoff. Put that one aside for now.)

In case you were wondering, in South Dakota, Mike Rounds has a 9.8 percent lead in the RealClearPolitics average, but it would be 3.5 if you only used polls conducted in October. So you can interpret his odds of victory as either 97 percent or 91 percent if you round up to 4.

Here’s the kind of intriguing news for Republicans: In Kansas, “independent” Greg Orman’s lead is eight-tenths of a percentage point in the RealClearPolitics average. Rounding that to one, we find on the above chart that Orman has… a 44 percent chance of victory. Yup, somehow having a one-point lead 13 days from Election Day is actually a bad sign. However, by 12 days, the chance of victory with a one point lead jumps up to 88 percent; by a few days later, it’s down to 68 percent.

Georgia Michelle Nunn’s lead in the RealClearPolitics average is 0.4 percent. So she’s not even on the chart. Bump her up to one point for the sake of argument, and she’s in the same spot as Orman.Then he looks at the not so good news:
In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan has a 1.6 point lead, which we’ll round up to 2 points. Bad news, Thom Tillis, that’s a 70 percent chance of victory for her!

In New Hampshire, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen also has a 1.6 point lead, which comes to a 70 percent chance of victory. Considering how steadily Scott Brown has closed these past weeks, you have to wonder if this is one of those 30 percent cases.

Every other Senate race has a 6 percentage point margin or higher.

This is a nice but not quite ideal scenario for Republicans. Assuming neither Georgia or Louisiana are resolved on Election Night, let’s assume Republicans lose the seat in Kansas and gain seats in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado and Iowa. That’s a net gain of six seats! But as great as that sounds, it would give Republicans 50 seats and Democrats 48. If Democrats win both runoffs, they could keep control of the chamber by having Vice President Biden break the ties. If Cassidy wins the December runoff, Georgia’s January runoff becomes moot to control of the Senate.If you are not a political junkie, then it probably doesn't matter to you whether we will be following run off elections through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But it matters which party controls congress.  We know what Harry Reid has done to gun owners.  By changing the rules of the Senate, he has allowed Obama to pack the federal courts with anti-rights judges.  It is in the best interest of gun owners that Harry Reid and his band of cohorts are sent into the minority, thus making it harder for Obama to appoint more anti-rights justices to the courts.  And the only way to do that is if all gun owners in states with U.S. Senate races turn out and vote for the candidates who support our rights.

Categories: News

Virginia Beach City Council Approves Amended Anti-gun Proposal With Legislative Package

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:55
Pilot Online reported yesterday that the Virginia Beach City Council approved an amended anti-gun proposal Tuesday night to be included with their legislative requests for the 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly.   The chief of police, who requested that the council make the request, said this isn't about gun control but a way to make it easier to reunite the owner with his or her lost or stolen firearm:
The agenda item - one of 26 recommendations by the council - came at the behest of police Chief Jim Cervera, faced with the exact problem Frost described. Cervera said the proposal is an administrative change to make it easier to reunite gun owners with their property, not a gun control initiative.One has to ask, if this is simply a way to reunite the owner with their stolen property, why was the first request to make not reporting a Class 1 Misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail, and now an undetermined civil penalty?  I had the opportunity to discuss the issue yesterday with Cam Edwards of NRANews's Cam and Company.
Categories: News

Shooting Aids on Defensive Rifles

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:44
In the below video, firearms instructor Rob Pincus notes that if you have a defensive rifle, you should know how to use it as an aiming device in unorthodox situations. If you can’t use your sights for any reason, a laser aiming device can help you predict where your bullets will go. Pincus demonstrates the use of a Crimson Trace Railmaster Pro green laser in situations where you have low contrast for a sight, or red-dot can’t be used or is broken, or in situations where you cannot get the rifle into a traditional shooting position.
Categories: News

This Hill Article Says it All

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 07:49
Virginia's U.S. Senate race is considered a long shot to send Mark Warner back to the private sector.  But the real prize in 2014 has always been seeing the GOP sending Obama's gun ban supporting Harry Reid packing his majority leader office to the minority.  While many pundits point to signs that the prize is within reach, this article in The Hill should energize gun owners and other voters wanting to turn back many of Obama's unpopular polices to work that much harder until the votes are cast.  The article specifically talks about the Colorado U.S. Senate race but could be about any of the races that the GOP are close to winning.  It's never over until it's over and a good number of election laws that allow voting by mail and to register right up to election day give our opponents the opportunity turn out their voters.
Every registered voter received a ballot in the mail last week, giving both Republicans and Democrats the opportunity to follow turnout in real time and pester holdouts. Coloradans can also register to vote through Election Day, allowing for the possibility that both parties could increase turnout.

Democrats boast that their ground game is better than ever.So, whether you live in Virginia where the challenger has a hard road ahead in the final two weeks, or Colorado, North Carolina, South Dakota or Kansas, now is the time to get out and do everything you can to see your candidate win, and see Harry Reid lose his job as Obama's top Lieutenant in the U.S. Senate.  You can find an NRA Campaign Field Rep or Election Volunteer Coordinator in your area and volunteer to help by clicking here.
Categories: News

VSSA Annual Meeting Raffle Winners

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 08:10
The VSSA Annual Meeting was held Saturday, October 18, at the Arlington/Fairfax IWLA.  There was a lot of shooting going on throughout the day and we had some winners who received plaques for showing their skills.  The winners were:

Archery: JR Wingfield
Shotgun: Joe Turner
Air Rifle: John Duran
Pistol: JR Wingfield
Rifle: JR Wingfield
Top Gun: JR Wingfield

The drawing for the Annual Raffle was also held and the winners were:

1st Place: Winner of the Sig P938 pistol: Wes Newbrough 
2nd Place: Winner of the Henry Golden: Joe Turner
3rd Place: Winner of the $100.00 Bass Pro Gift Card: LW Cowley

Congratulations to all the winners!
Categories: News

Virginia Beach City Council Amends Anti-gun Request for General Assembly

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:36
In September, VSSA noted that the Virginia Beach City Council planned to request the General Assembly pass a law that would allow them to charge any gun owner who had their firearm stolen with a class one misdemeanor if they did not report it to police within a certain amount of time.  WTKR reported yesterday that the Council and chief of police heard 100% negative feedback on the proposal, causing the council to amend their request.

Council still wants to charge gun owners a civil penalty which still makes them a victim twice. Gun owners in Virginia Beach need to turn out in force at the council meeting to voice opposition to the amended proposal as well. It will do nothing to prevent crime but will be an attack on lawful gun owners.
Categories: News

NRANews Finds What Media Can't About the Negative Impact I-594 Will Have on Washington Gun Owners

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 08:17
Opponents of Washington state's Initiative 594 (I-594) have been pointing out that the simplest of transfers among gun owners would be impacted by the 18 page law if it is approved by voters.  Most recently San Juan Island Sheriff Sgt. Scott Brennan wrote about how residents on the island off Washington's coast would be negatively impacted if the initiative passes:
This means if you want to sell your long time neighbor John that shotgun he has always admired, you, John and the shotgun have catch the ferry to the mainland and drive to a licensed gun dealer in Anacortes or Mt. Vernon.

You have to register the gun. John has to fill out background check papers. You have to pay a ‘reasonable fee’ (whatever the gun dealer wants) You then both go home and wait.

Then 10 days later, you, John and the shotgun again catch the ferry back to the mainland and go back to the dealer, where John finally pays you and you get to hand him the shotgun. That’s SALES.

Now, we get into TRANSFERS. Sooo, the deputies want to surprise a retiring officer with a gun as a gift. The gun owner, the gun and the retiring officer again have to catch the ferry and go the mainland gun dealer. We have to register the gun and the ‘surprised officer’ has to do the background check paperwork. We again pay the ‘reasonable fee’.

Then we all get to go home again and wait ten days. Then we again catch the ferry to the mainland, go back to the gun store and finally ‘surprise’ our coworker with his gift (TRANSFER).

Here is one better. I want to loan my friend Gary my break down shotgun for his motorcycle trip to Alaska. We, once again, have to go to the mainland, drive to Anacortes or Mt. Vernon, register the gun, Gary does the background check and we pay the ‘reasonable fee’.

Ten days later we’re back and I get to ‘loan’ him the gun in front of the dealer. Gary has a great trip and comes back three weeks later. After he comes back, we all have to go back to the mainland, go back to the dealer and now I have to fill out the paperwork and pay the fee to be approved to get my own gun back.What has been the response of proponents to folks that point out these facts? They simply deny it and move on and the media in Washington have been happy to leave it at that.  So, it has been left to the new media, in this case, Cam Edwards of NRANews, to go to the 18 page document and confirm what Sgt. Brennan and others have been saying.
These arguments appear to be gaining traction as polls have shown support for the initiative has begun to drop even though supporters have spent millions and still have millions more to spend in the closing weeks.  And, gun ban proponent Gabby Giffords will be closing out her "Protect All Women" tour in Washington just before the election.  Pro-rights forces have their work cut out for them.
Categories: News

Why I-594 is Important to Virginia

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 18:32
This November, an important ballot initiative is before the voters of Washington state.  It is known as I-594 and if it passes, it will make the simple act of handing your firearm to a friend at the range, or an instructor handing a firearm to a trainee, a criminal offense.  I-594 is being sold by billionaires like Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates, both of whom have contributed the bulk of the $7million raised by supporters of the initiative, as "universal background checks".  But this proposal spanning 18 pages is much more.
You might ask why Virginians should care about I-594.  Virginia doesn't allow ballot initiatives and one half of the Virginia General Assembly is firmly in pro-rights hands and would never pass such a law.  But for how long will that be the case?  Last week's federal court decision throwing out Virginia's Congressional redistricting could have ripple effects on state legislative districts in the not too distant future.  There are voices in Virginia who want a "non-partisan" commission to undertake the task of redistricting every 10 years.

It is not lost on the pro-rights community that I-594 could just be the start of the trouble.  Washington is being used as a test to see if the model can be used in other states that allow the initiative process.  The forces aligned pushing the bill have far more money than the pro-rights side, not withstanding the claim by the anti-rights folks that the NRA has gobs of money and uses it to beat back "commonsense gun safety proposals."  There has been a small family feud in the pro-rights community, with some in Washington fighting I-594 complaining that the NRA is not spending enough to fight the initiative.  But the NRA's strength has not been its money, it has been an active grassroots, and the NRA has had staff in the state working with those grassroots supporters for months.

As the information is getting out, support for the initative, which stood at over 70% in the spring, is beginning to slip, though a majority of those polled still support it.  Now the NRA is up with a new add that points out that law enforcement are opposed to the measure.
As Sebastian wrote earlier today, let's hope that the ad hits the "low-information" voter and continues to chip away at the support in the final 21 days of the election.  Because if this scheme passes, look for it to come to a state near you.
Categories: News