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Haner is Right - Virtual Assembly Amounts to Legislative Malpractice

Thu, 01/14/2021 - 10:50

Late yesterday afternoon, the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee convened via Zoom video conference to meet and take up legislation.  VSSA had previously signed up to speak in favor of HB1799, a bill that would add public land to the places that were allowable for Sunday Hunting.  Citizens were warned at the time of signing up that they would only receive a link to the meeting if it was anticipated that time may be available to speak - sign-up was "first come first served".  VSSA did receive a link to the meeting so it was presumed our representative would at least be given an opportunity to state the Association's support for the bill.  When the bill came up for a hearing, the chairman said 50 people had signed up and were in the waiting room to speak for or against the bill.  He said there was not enough time for all to be heard, and asked the patron if he and anyone he wanted to speak.  The person he suggested was a representative of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation.  He was the only person allowed to speak for the bill, and one person spoke against the bill - a representative of the Farm Bureau.  The bill was defeated on a 6-16 vote.

Last week, legislative veteran, lobbyist, and blogger Stephen D. Haner wrote about this year's session at the blog Beacon's Rebellion:

From our “Be Careful What You Ask for Department,” I give you the General Assembly “short session” that opens Wednesday, which is supposed to last only 30 calendar days instead of the usual 46. The Republican effort to limit the session’s possible output and impact is being answered by Democrats seeking to accelerate the process instead.

I was asked recently what my priority was for the coming session. The answer is to avoid a deep vein thrombosis from sitting all day, five or six days a week, straining to follow intense legislative discussions and legislative maneuvers with lousy sound and a screen that looks like Hollywood Squares crossed with musical chairs.

Doing a General Assembly at all under these conditions is legislative malpractice, a danger that should frighten all Virginians of any ideology. Nobody – not lobbyists, agency folks or average citizens – will have much luck getting input considered. Bills will be acted on far faster than even the digital tracking system can report. Expect fiscal and other impact reports to post well after bills have passed or even after the gavel falls “sine die” around Valentine’s Day.
Steve is write, what was experienced yesterday is nothing short of "legislative malpractice."

After Georgia Runoff Disaster Will Gun People Need to Follow This Path?

Wed, 01/06/2021 - 09:47

On Monday's Bearingarms.com's Cam and Company, host Cam Edwards talks about a piece written by 10th Amendment Center’s Matt Maharrey.  In the column, Maharrey urged gun owners to follow the lead of cannabis activists in going around federal law.  

Maharrey begins his open letter to “gun people” by acknowledging that Joe Biden poses a threat to the Second Amendment rights of Americans, even if the Senate were to remain in Republican hands. After all, he writes, “there are quite a few liberal Republican senators who might just go along with more gun control, especially if there is some kind of tragic shooting incident that gets people all riled up about guns again.”

We know that much is true. In fact, we’ve already seen Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey embrace the idea of “universal background checks,” even if there’s no way for the federal government to easily police private transfers of firearms. And Maharrey is also correct when he points out that “modern presidents have proven that they don’t really need Congress to implement gun control. They can do a lot of damage to the Second Amendment via executive order,” pointing to Donald Trump’s ban on bump stocks, which took effect in 2019.

None of that matters, according to Maharrey, “because the weed people have given you the blueprint to stop federal gun control in its tracks.”

Cam then goes on to lay out what Maharrey proposes. It is worth the time to listen.

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Roanoke City Council Considering Gun Ban in Municipal Buildings

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:22

 The Roanoke Times has the story here.

The council scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Jan. 19 as it considers an ordinance to prohibit people from carrying guns inside the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, a goal of present and past council members for at least four years. Without discussion, the council set the public hearing as part of its consent agenda during Monday’s regular meeting.If you live in Roanoke City, contact your council member and let them know you oppose this ordinance.  Also plan to speak at the public hearing on the 19th.   Roanoke City Council meetings are held in the City Council Chamber on the fourth floor of the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, located at 215 Church Avenue SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24011.  You can sign up to speak by clicking here.

ATF Raids Polymer80 - Maker of Firearm Build Kits

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 08:54

The Wall Street Journal broke the story last Friday:

The raid target, Nevada-based Polymer80, is suspected of illegally manufacturing and distributing firearms, failing to pay taxes, shipping guns across state lines and failing to conduct background investigations, according to an application for a search warrant unsealed Thursday after the raid took place.
The probe focuses on Polymer80’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit,” which includes the parts to build a “ghost” handgun. The kit, which Polymer80 sells online, meets the definition of a firearm, ATF investigators determined according to the warrant application. That means it would have to be stamped with a serial number and couldn’t be sold to consumers who haven’t first passed a background check.Gun rights activist John Crump wrote on Ammoland:The target of the raid centers around the company’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit,” which includes a slide, barrel, parts, the jigs, drill bits, and an 80% frame. The end-user would still need to mill out the frame to turn it into a working firearm. The ATF claims that because of the way the company sells the kits that these packages constitute firearms, and Polymer80 needs to serialize the frame.After sharing the story on his web site, gun writer and radio host Tom Gresham asked the question "Is this the first of many moves to erode our 2nd Amendment rights or simply poor execution by Polymer80?"  Tom spoke with the Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb in the first hour of Sunday's program.
VSSA · Gun Talk Radio Talks with Alan Gottlieb About ATF Raid

Messaging Matters

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 13:08

Cam Edwards has a piece over at bearingarms.com that illustrates that messaging matters.  While something may seem like a good illustration to make a point, it really does matter how we try to persuade people to our point of view.

The owner of a Castle Rock, Colorado plumbing company is apologizing after a digital sign for the business displayed a picture of a Nazi concentration camp guard shooting a Jewish inmate over the weekend. The picture, which was captioned with “Hitler gave Jews the gift of gun control, you know, because he cared about their safety,” was meant to serve as a warning about the dangers of anti-gun legislation, but Javier Hoggard, who owns Patriot Pros Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, quickly realized that the message was being lost when the complaints started coming in.Just because something looks like it will make a great soundbite doesn't mean it is the best way to make a point.  It matters what we say and if we want to persuade others to our way of thinking when it comes to firearms freedom, we should choose our words carefully.

Tom Gresham Speaks with Clark Aposhian on the Larger Importance of his Bump Stock Law Suit

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 09:08

On yesterday's Gun Talk Radio, Tom Gresham's first guest was firearms instructor Clark Aposhian, who has a law suit pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Trump Administration's bump stock ban. 

Aposhian filed a lawsuit last January challenging the bump stock ban, arguing that outlawing the shooting accessory was unconstitutional because it amounts to the executive branch rewriting laws, a job reserved for Congress. He had asked a Utah federal judge to press pause on the ban while his lawsuit played out, but she ruled he did not show “a substantial likelihood of success” on the merits of his lawsuit.

A three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar decision in May, ruling he did not show he was likely to win his case or that the ban would hurt the public's interest.  His attorney's appealed that decision and asked for an enbanc review by the full court, which has been granted.  During yesterday's program, Aposhian discussed the larger inplications of his suit on gun rights in general and that this isn't just about bump stocks.

VSSA · Gun Talk Radio's Tom Gresham Speaks with Clark Aposhian on his Bump Stock Ban Suit

Thoughts on the Current Ammo Shortage

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 16:03

Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, VSSA's sister organization, shared the below information on the current state of ammunition availability with ISRA members yesterday.  VSSA thought you might be interested in this information:

The constant question everyone is asking is where all the ammunition is. There are all kinds of conspiracy theories out there but I don’t buy any of them at this time. The production of ammunition is more complicated than one might assume.

In the fourth quarter of each year, ammunition companies estimate what is going to happen in the following year. In 2019, ammunition manufacturers estimated how much raw material would be needed in 2020. Handgun and rifle ammunition requires lead, antimony, copper, zinc, aluminum, bismuth, bronze, rubber, steel, tin, tungsten, and several varieties of plastic. Additional waxes, types of oils, waxes, and other lubricants have to be purchased. In short, they have to buy a lot of stuff before they begin manufacturing.

The other factor is the ammunition companies run a full year’s production on one caliber and then reset the machine to run another caliber. There are not 9mm, 38 special, 380 ACP, 45 ACP or other calibers in ammo loading machines just sitting around waiting to be turned on. There is no order that says, “Hey Charlie, run over to the plant and run a couple million 9 mm’s.” It doesn’t work that way.

Think back to the Fall of 2019. The Election was a year away and things were relatively peaceful. In January, COVID-19 hit us, and later, George Floyd was killed. That is when things started to fall apart, at least as we know it. Ammunition sales went up and are now averaging 139% more than in 2019. There are 7,000,000 more gun owners in the United States than last year.

Ammunition companies are getting ready for the process to begin for 2021. They have to rebuy all the components that I mentioned earlier. Let’s guess they are buying 50% more than last year. That means the cost of materials may go up if supply is short. Remember, many other industries are using the same materials. That’s my take on the ammunition problem.

Blacksburg Town Council to Consider Ban on Firearms in Public Buildings and Permitted Events

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 08:17

 Blacksburg is the latest to take advantage of the gaping hole the Govenror and General Assembly created in Virginia's pre-emption statute.  The Roanoke Times has the story.

Blacksburg Town Council is set to act on a proposed ordinance to ban the carrying of firearms inside public buildings and on streets being used for festivals, among other places.

If passed, the ordinance would make Blacksburg one of just a handful of Virginia localities that have taken such action—something that localities can now do based on a local option measure passed by the General Assembly earlier this year and that took effect in July.

The council could take a vote on the matter at its Jan. 12 meeting.If you live in Blacksburg you should contact council members now and let them know you oppose this proposed ordinance.

November Another Record Breaking Month for Gun Sales

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 13:53

Cam Edwards at Bearingarms.com has the story here.

The Great Gun Run of 2020 continued at a record-setting pace in November, according to new analysis from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The firearms industry trade group estimates that over the course of the past month there were 1,949,141 background checks performed on gun sales; a whopping 45.2% increase over November of 2019 and the most guns sales ever in the month of November.

That brings this year's total to 19.1 million, which is almost 4 million more than the last record setting year - 2016.  With one month left in the year, look for the total to top 20 million for this record breaking year.

NoVA Sharpshooters Host the 2020-2021 Virginia USA Shooting Pistol Junior Olympics State Championship

Sat, 11/28/2020 - 10:33
By Mark Budgeon Every year USA Shooting invites shooting clubs across the United States of America to host qualification matches called Junior Olympic State Championships (JOSCs). These events allow junior athletes to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts from across their resident state as well as non-residents. For the past three years, the NoVA Sharpshooters have hosted these qualification matches at the Arlington-Fairfax Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

This year athletes, parents and coaches all pitched in to put this event together in spite of the COVID 19 pandemic. Following Virginia guidelines, the club successfully hosted the Sport Pistol and Air Pistol JOSCs allowing 26 athletes to compete for qualification scores and potential invitations to the USA Shooting Junior Olympics planned for 2021.

On Sunday morning, November 22nd, seven athletes from the NoVA Sharpshooters and Team LocoMotion met at the Rifle Pistol Range for a 60 shot Sport Pistol match. Suman Sanghera placed first winning the Junior Women gold medal and also recognition as the Virginia State Champion. Josephine Mou won the silver medal and Lauren Creese won the bronze. For the junior men, Victor Mou won the gold medal, Ethan Jardines placed second winning the silver medal and William Regala won bronze.

Sport Pistol JOSC (L to R): Suman Sanghera, Ethan Greenhaw, Josephine Mou, Ethan Jardines, Lauren Creese, Victor Mou, William Regala
After the sport pistol match, these seven athletes participated in the air pistol JOSC held across the road at the Sills Air Range. Nineteen junior athletes from the NoVA Sharpshooters, Team LocoMotion (Purcellville), Rockin’ Rockets (Rockingham County 4-H), Lafayette Gun Club (Grafton) and an independent shooter from Frederick, Maryland competed in the 60 shot match. Since there were six or more competitors in each gender category, a state champion could be named for both the junior men and the junior women.
For the junior women, Suman Sanghera again placed first winning the gold medal and recognition at the state junior women champion. Makenzie Anne Wygans from the Lafayette Gun Club won silver and Christina Alvarez won bronze. For the junior men, Bhavjeet Sanghera placed first winning the gold medal and recognition as the state junior men champion. Victor Mou won silver and William Regala won bronze.Air Pistol JOSC (L to R): Makenzie Anne Wygans, William Regala, Christina Alvarez, Victor Mou, Suman Sanghera, Ethan Greenhaw, Josephine Mou, Zachary Dantzlerward, Madeline Matney, Connor Shea (nine athletes not pictured)These athletes scored high enough to earn automatic invites to the 2021 Junior Olympics: Suman Sanghera (sport and air pistol), Bhavjeet Sanghera (air pistol) and William Regala (air pistol). When all the clubs across the country complete their matches and report their scores, USA Shooting will establish cutoff scores for each event and age category. Then USA Shooting will extend invitations to athletes for the 2021 Junior Olympics. The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is the traditional location for the USA Shooting Junior Olympics. However, the facility is restricted to preparing the USA Team for the Summer Olympics. USA Shooting will announce the location for the Junior Olympics at a later date.

Congratulations to these junior athletes and their parents and thanks to coaches Lei-Ann Chang, Tim Greenhaw, Jennifer Alvarez for taking the time to lead the program. Only in its fourth year, the NoVA Sharpshooters Junior Shooting Program has grown to be the largest and most successful junior international pistol program in the state of Virginia.

Gun Ban Groups Pushing Biden to Take "Executive Actions" on Gun Control

Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:16

Bloomberg's gun ban online publication "The Trace" writes this morning that gun ban groups are urging Biden to take seven steps to enact gun control without legislative approval:

With control of the Senate hinging on the double-feature runoff in Georgia and Democrats positioned for a slim majority at best, party officials and advocates — as well as a collection of 85 gun reform organizations — are pressing the incoming Biden-Harris administration to take swift executive branch actions to curb gun violence. As my colleague Chip Brownlee breaks down, Biden does have significant power to direct agencies, launch rule-making processes, and appoint leadership around the agenda of strengthening gun restrictions and increasing resources for reducing shootings. Among the possibilities: cracking down on untraceable “ghost guns,” creating an interagency task force, banning the importation of assault weapons, and restructuring the ATF to enforce existing gun laws.This is the second piece this week that mentions ATF's regulatory ability. Earlier this week, John Crump wrote at Ammoland.com that during an ATF conference call, Acting Director Regina Lombardo told those on the call that the Biden transition team has reached out to the ATF to find out what the agency’s “top priorities” are.  
Also this week, Mark Oliva appeared on Bearingarms.com's Cam and Company to dicuss the possibility of a Biden backdoor gun ban.  Oliva told host Cam Edwards that there's reason to believe that Biden and his anti-gun allies are already looking at ways to do a run around Congress and the Constitution.

The idea of "Executive Actions" just stands our Constitution on it's head.  The Founders did not envision as system of government where the executive branch could create laws.  That is the purview of the legislative.  Elections indeed have consequences.

Georgia Run-off Election is Ground Zero for Gun Rights

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 12:52

There are two races for the U.S. Senate in Georgia that will determine whether gun owners have a firewall against a President Joe Biden and his gun ban schemes.  As Gun Talk Radio host Tom Gresham said last week, and reiterated on his radio program yesterday, gun owners need to step up and do what it takes to insure that Democrats do not win those two seats.

If you don't want what happened in Virginia to happen nationally, VSSA urges you to make a donation to help win the Georgia Senate run-off elections.

Abigail Spanberger: I Support the Second Amendment, But...

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 16:28

Seventh District Democrat Representative Abigail Spanberger likes to say she supports the Second Amendment and even tries to shore up that claim by saying she carried a gun during her time with the CIA and that she grew up with guns in the house.  She repeated that line last night during the candidates forum with her opponent, Delegate Nick Freitas.

But like most Democrats who claim to support the Second Amendment, she always has that "but".  She has already voted in favor of criminalizing private sales (so-called "universal" background checks), and she supports the usual measures aimed at gun owners, things like laws that take away an individuals firearms without due process ("red flag" laws) and banning modern sporting rifles.  

Spanberger has tried real hard to portray herself as a "moderate" who works "across the aisle" with "Democrats and Republicans".  You can't turn on the Rush Limbaugh radio program on AM1140 WRVA without hearing her commercials multiple times during the program.  The fact that she would even advertise on Limbaugh's program shows that she is trying to convince right leaning voters that she is one of them.

Don't be fooled. Spanberger is no moderate.  She votes with Nancy Pelosi 91% of the time.  If you live in the 7th Congressional District, vote for Delegate Nick Freitas.

Virginia Gun Sales Soar in 2020 - Breaking 2016 Record

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 17:23

 WRIC has the story.  

Data from the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center, which has tracked mandatory background checks on buyers since 1990, shows estimated firearm sales have spiked in 2020, a year rocked by the global pandemic and protests across the country.

There have been 587,107 background checks in Virginia through September, surpassing the annual record in 2016 of 505,722. Gun sales have risen nationally, with statistics from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System showing an average of more than three million background checks from March through August. 

Voter Registration Deadline is October 13

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 17:19

Voting is one of the most important privileges we have as American citizens. In 2016, only 61.4% of the voting age population in the United States reported voting. The 2020 election is less than a month away and it is imperativel that gun owners participate in the 2020 election. 

Don't risk your rights! If you are not registered to vote or have moved and need to register at your new place of residence, you only have until Tuesday, October 13 to register.  To register to vote in Virginia, visit the StateBoard of Elections website for more information on voter eligibility and the registration process.  You can register online as well as in person.
 Learn more about registering to vote in Virginia.

ATF’s Action Against Q, LLC’s (Q) Honey Badger Pistol

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:29

You have likely heard about ATF’s action against Q, LLC’s (Q) Honey Badger Pistol and its status as a purported short barrel rifle.  ATF sent Q a "Cease and Desist" letter.  If you are not familiar with this situation, you can find more information by clicking here.  I've seen a lot of gun folks on social media (many that I respect and consider good sources of information) using this as an example of President Trump not being sufficiently pro-gun, basically because ATF is an executive branch agency and supposedly carries out administration policy.  If you know anything about how the federal government works, you know that the bureaucracy regularly does everything they can to undermine Republican administrations.   I was listening to a gun podcast yesterday that featured an interview with Alex Bosco from SB Tactical, and he believes that this decision is exactly that - bureaucrats trying to undermine the President a month out from the election to cause problems with an important part of his base.  I urge you to listen to the interview.  You can hear the interview by clicking here.

Please everyone take action and get involved. This cannot be allowed to stand.  First, here is the organization Alex mentioned in the podcast linked above:
FRAC: https://www.fracaction.org/

It is not too late to make your voice heard.  VSSA strongly urges you to contact the Department of Justice and demand they take swift action to stop and reverse ATF’s efforts to issue arbitrary and capricious decisions affecting millions of legal gun owners.

Additionally, VSSA encourages you to reach out to the White House and ask President Trump to rollback ATF’s agenda:

  • White House Comment Line:

VSSA Junior Pistol State Championship

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 10:08
By Mark Budgeon
Twenty junior pistol athletes competed in the VSSA State Championship held Sunday, September 27, 2020. The NoVA Sharpshooters sponsored the competition which included two events: sport pistol and air pistol.

In the morning, six athletes gathered at the Rifle Pistol Range to compete in sport pistol. This event uses a .22 long rifle, semi-auto pistol with iron sights. Targets are placed at 25 yards. The 60-shot match includes two stages: precision and rapid fire. During the precision stage, shooters fire 30 shots at a precision target. This stage is very similar to NRA bullseye slow fire. During the rapid-fire stage, shooters fire 30 shots at a rapid-fire target. The rapid-fire stage is not like NRA bullseye. In sport pistol rapid fire, the shooters fire six series of five shots. The gun is held in the “ready” position which is 45 degrees from the horizontal. At the fire signal the shooter raises the gun to the target and has three seconds to fire the shot. Then the shooter returns to the “ready” position. This cycle continues until five shots are completed.

VSSA President, Joe Turner, presented awards to the top three competitors as well as medals to the winners in various age categories. It is worthy to note these six athletes went on to compete in the second event which was 10-meter air pistol.Suman Sanghera Champion (Center), Ethan Jardines 2nd Place (Left), Victor Mou 3rd Place (Right), VSSA President Joe Turner (Right)
In the afternoon, fourteen juniors competed in the 10-meter air pistol match held at the Sills Air Range. During the 10-meter air pistol match, athletes used a .177 caliber air pistol with iron sights and fired 60 shots at an electronic target placed at 10 meters.
The air pistol event included two qualification relays with the top eight athletes going on to compete in a finals match. The finals match uses an elimination process. A total of 24 shots determines the winner of the finals match. Points from the finals match are then added to the qualification match score to determine the overall champion.

VSSA President, Joe Turner, presented awards to the top three competitors as well as medals to the winners in various age categories.

Suman Sanghera Champion (Center), Victor Mou 2rd Place (Left), Connor Shea 3rd Place (Right), VSSA President Joe Turner (Left)
Sport Pistol Competitors: Suman Sanghera (Champion), Ethan Jardines (2nd), Victor Mou (3rd), Ethan Greenhaw (J2 Gold), Josephine Mou (J2 Silver), Lauren Creese (J3 Gold)

Air Pistol Competitors: Suman Sanghera (Champion), Victor Mou (2nd), Connor Shea (3rd), Christina Alvarez (J2 Gold), Ethan Jardines (J2 Silver), Josephine Mou (J2 Bronze), Lauren Creese (J3 Gold), Landon Cerrone (J3 Silver), William Regala (J3 Bronze), Zachary Dantzlerward, Ethan Greenhaw, Erin Reeder, Olivia Creese, Graham Jardines

Wall Street Journal: Gun Control Hurts Those Who Most Need A Gun

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 13:33

 Recently, the Wall Street Journal had this report on the increase in gun sales in America.