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Car Regulations vs Firearm Regulation

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

Yesterday, VSSA Executive Director Lu Charette forward this article from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) that points out traffic fatalities rose 7.7 percent last year and more than 35,000 people were killed, yet President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Congressional Democrats have not called for cracking down on car owners the way they do on gun owners.  It's one of the things you hear from the gun ban crowd from time to time that it's easier to get a gun than it is to drive a car.

CCRKBA is turning the gun ban lobby's argument back on them but as Dr. John Lott points out in his new book The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, and earlier this month on Armed American Radio, the gun ban crowd compares apples to oranges in making the comparison between guns and cars because the majority of deaths involving automobiles are due to accidents/negligence.  Accidental/negligent deaths involving firearms are at all time lows and are around 500-600 per year.

Libertarian Presidential Ticket No Friend to Gun Owners

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It's no real secret that many Americans are not happy with the choices in this year's Presidential Election.  Gun owners know that Clinton will continue the attacks on our rights that Obama opened and has continued since 2013.  Donald Trump has declared he supports our rights and has received the endorsement of the NRA, but since the GOP convention, he has made one misstep after the other.  Polls show Clinton with as much as a 9 point lead.

I've posted on this blog previously that the only real choice for gun owners is to be single issue voters and to pull the lever for Donald Trump.  For those who may be considering the Libertarian candidate due to the party's usual support for the 2nd Amendment, consider these comments from the Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate William "Bill" Weld via Jim Geraghty at National Review Online:
“The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle; the problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon, and those are independent criminal offenses,” Weld said. “That is when they become, essentially, a weapon of mass destruction. The problem with handguns probably is even worse than the problem of the AR15.”Those kind of comments make you wonder how he ended up on the Libertarian ticket but as Geraghty points out, Weld has a history of being anti-rights:
While failing to keep his fiscal promises, Weld also managed to make some moves on cultural issues that are seriously inconvenient for a Libertarian candidate in 2016. In 1993, as governor, he endorsed a slew of gun-control proposals: a statewide ban on assault weapons, a waiting period for buying handguns, a limit on the number of handguns an individual could buy, and a prohibition on handgun ownership by anyone under 21. “The purpose of this common-sense legislation is to remove deadly guns from our streets and to take weapons out of the hands of many teens who themselves are becoming deadly killers,” he said at the time.Just more proof, gun owners have only one choice this election it we don't want the Second Amendment to become irrelevant - pull the lever for Donald Trump.

Rasmussen: Most Like the NRA But Aren't Moved by Its Endorsement

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Rasmussen reports has the results of a new survey that shows approval for he NRA is high at 54% (much higher than congress and about the current average of approval for President Obama) but the survey also shows that the NRA's endorsement of Donald Trump is not a huge factor in how they will vote this election:
Most voters share a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association and say their Second Amendment constitutional right to own a gun is important to their vote in the coming elections. But even among voters who rate the second Amendment highly, the NRA's endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump isn't critical to how they will vote.That almost looks like a contradiction, given that the other major candidate in the race has constantly attacked the right to keep and bear arms.  How can you say on the one hand the right to own a gun is important to your vote but that the endorsement of one candidate over the one who has made it clear she does not respect that right will not affect your vote?

Gun owners are not monolithic.  You have people who own firearms for different reasons, from the folks who own and carry everyday for self defense to the guy who owns the gun for hunting and only takes it out of the gun cabinet from October to January.  A large number of gun owners don't vote based on whether a candidate plans to greatly restrict that right. The activist gun owner is a small percentage of the overall gun owning population.

Despite what the Washington Post Fact Checker says, Hillary Clinton has no respect for our right to keep and bear arms and here is the proof that she wants to make the Second Amendment totally meaningless via Frank Miniter of Forbes.com:
Our task in the next couple of months is to get gun owners, especially the new members of the gun owning community to understand the results of this election will affect their rights and if they don't base their vote on the gun issue, they may not like what they wake up to four years from now.

Correction on VSSA Board of Directors Ballot

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

By now members should be receiving their VSSA Annual Meeting mailing.  We would like to correct one error on the ballot.  While the bios provided mention that current VSSA Vice President Tom Ciarula is a current member of the Board of Directors, the ballot does not designate that he is an incumbent.  We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Olympic Shooting Sports Update

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Anyone paying attention on Saturday knows that the first Gold Medal awarded at the 2016 Rio Games was to a young fresh faced teenager from northern Virginia named Ginny Thrasher.  Dan Patrick had a great interview with Thrasher after her win and at no time did he bring up the subject of crimes committed with guns in the US, it was all about Thrasher's unexpected win.  The shooting sports received great coverage due to Thrasher's win.

On Sunday, trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein earned a Bronze Medal.  In a tweet on Sunday, The Chicago Tribune referred to her not by name but as "Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics ".  Being the great person she is, Cogdell-Unrein handled it all in stride.

So far they are the only two medals awarded to Team USA shooters.  This morning, Thrasher missed making the finals of the 50M Three Position due to a costly 8 on her second to last shot.  Still, a Gold Medal and finishing 11th in Three Position isn't bad for a first time Olympian.  All eyes now turn to Friday's Skeet competition where 6 time Olympian Kim Rhode is going for her sixth consecutive medal.

This week on NRANews.com, host Cam Edwards had the opportunity to speak with Corey Cogdell-Unrein about her experience and her return to the Olympics.
Cam followed that up with an interview of Kevin Neuendorf, director of Media and Public Relations for USA Shooting. He provided a recap of Team USA’s 2016 Olympic shooting competitions and noted the sport is getting more attention than ever.

Obama Going After Gunsmiths

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Last week's eBullet included an article from NRA's America's First Freedom that detailed the effects of a new directive from the State Department that essentially means gunsmiths must now register as gun manufacturers and pay a fee of over $2000 each year.  On Monday, Frank Miniter wrote about the new directive in Forbes and how Obama is using the bureaucracy to target gun rights:
Imagine a gunsmith getting up from his bench, where he was busy tweaking a gun’s stock for a customer, to answer a call from the State Department demanding he pay $2,250 every year or face the legal consequences, and you see why this is outrageous.

As there is no known reason for burdening gunsmiths with this large annual fee, and because doing so requires a strange and expansive redefinition of the word “manufacture,” it seems clear this is just more gun-control politics from the Obama administration.Miniter mentioned in the article that the National Shooting Sports Foundation is lobbying Congress to step in and fix this problem with legislation.   Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation appeared on NRANews.com on Monday to discuss the issue and how it is causing confusion for gunsmiths and gun owners, and what NSSF is doing to fix the problem.

Thrasher Wins First Gold Medal of 2016 Olympic Games

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

Virginian Ginny Thrasher set an Olympic record and upset Chinese shooter Du Li to take home the first Gold Medal awarded in the 2016 Olympic Games.  From USA Today:
Thrasher, 19, beat silver medalist Du Li of China in the final round with a total of 208.0, setting an Olympic record in the finals. Du finished with 207.0.

Yi Siling of China took bronze as the first medals in Rio were awarded.

Thrasher wasn't one of the favorites to win a medal coming into the Olympics.The final shots of the medal round for NBC Sports:
And talking about winning the medal:
Thrasher is a product of  the air rifle program at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County and Arlington-Fairfax IWLA.  She will compete again on August 11 in three position.

Your Gun Threatens Public Health

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At least that's how the Democratic Party Platform puts it according to an article posted yesterday on the American Spectator web site:
Under the heading, “Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans,” the following sentence appears: “There is insufficient research on effective gun prevention policies, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] must have the resources it needs to study gun violence as a public health issue.” This attempt to pitch gun control as a public health crisis is not new, of course. Two years ago, the Democrats introduced a bill that would have provided the CDC with $10 million a year to study gun crime from the public health perspective. And, in June of this year, the American Medical Association declared that gun violence is a public health crisis.The article's author, David Catron goes on to say this is the first time the platform has framed the issue as a public health issue. In the past it has been framed as things like "Protecting Rights and Freedoms" then listed the usual laundry list of gun control proposals.  Catron wrote they have two goals in mind with the change:
By converting gun violence from a law and order issue to a health crisis, Hillary Clinton and her accomplices hope to achieve two goals: Move the public’s focus away from crime prevention, a task at which Democrats are notoriously inept, and convince us that it’s all about scientific progress rather than increasing the power of the federal government.He also touched on the myth of a "gun violence epidemic:
And the claim that gun violence is an epidemic is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence of the voters. It is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific veneer that Clinton and the co-conspirators who cobbled together the Democrat Party platform have attached to a transparently political project. To illustrate just how absurd it is to use such terms as “epidemic” in discussions about gun control, Dr. Paul Hsieh asks the following question in Forbes: “Which of these things is not like the other? (1) Measles, (2) Influenza, (3) Tuberculosis, (4) Murder. If you picked #4, ‘murder,’ you’re right. The first three are medical diseases. In contrast ‘murder’ is not a medical problem, although it is a tragic cause of death.”

Even if murder qualified as a medical problem, it is an “epidemic” that is being brought under control. That may seem counter-intuitive to a public inundated by sensational media stories about mass murders committed by “lone wolves.” Yet it is true that both violent crime in general and murder in particular have been declining for decades. As Nick Gillespie reports in Reason, “In 1995, for instance, the violent crime rate (which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) per 100,000 inhabitants was 684.5. In 2014, it stood at 365.5. For murder and non-negligent manslaughter, the rate was 8.2 and 4.5 in 2014.” In other words, violent crime and murder rates have been cut in half.The gun ban lobby must believe that talking about the issue in the term of public health they can move public opinion in their direction.

Washington Post: Tim Kaine's Zigzag Path to Gun Control

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The Washington Post posted a great article on their website Monday afternoon about Tim Kaine's gun control journey.  Post reporter Laura Vozzella captured the essence of Kaine's political career as a candidate who says what he thinks will get him elected:
His current push for more regulation reflects new calculations by Democrats that after years of mass shootings, they can campaign on gun control and win.

“Back before you had these mass shootings that seem to happen every month, running on gun control did not put you in a strong position in a Southern state,” said Wayne Turnage, who served as chief of staff when Kaine was governor. “I don’t think there’s any question the national appetite has shifted.”He first waded into the issue as Mayor of Richmond when he spent $7000 of taxpayer money to send busses of gun control supporters to the Million Mom March in 2000.  After an outcry from pro-rights advocates he finally agreed to raise the money from private sources to pay back the city treasury.  Vozzella goes on to lay out how a year later, when running for Lt. Governor, he was singing a different tune:
The next year, when Kaine was running for lieutenant governor, he needed to convince rural Virginia voters that he wasn’t too liberal. He rebranded himself as an outdoorsman who supports the Second Amendment and appreciates guns used for sport. He had camo-style bumper stickers printed. And he played up his role in helping to insert language in the state constitution that guarantees Virginians the right to hunt and fish.Then he went clay target shooting to prove his Second Amendment bona fides as a candidate for Governor.  Now he relishes the fact that he is once again in the crosshairs of the NRA as Hillary Clinton's running mate, saying the group has opposed him every time he has run for office and he has never lost.

Read the entire article.  I don't often recommend articles in the Post but this piece is spot on.

Gun Ban Lobby Retooling Messaging, Again

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Politico had this article earlier in the week titled Dems urged to retool their guns message that details how the group Americans for Responsible Solutions, led by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, is pushing to rebrand their messaging.  While they may be trying to change their PR, it is still all about enacting more restrictions on our rights.  Politico reported this is all based on poll and focus-group data with the hope that it will take hold among a public that has long accepted gun ownership:
For example, groups seeking tighter gun laws have been trying to get away from the “gun control” label since well before ARS started testing for a new messaging strategy last year. Better options, they say, are “gun violence prevention” and “preventing gun tragedies.”

"We've stepped away from a debate about guns that was sort of postured pro-gun or against-gun,” said Peter Ambler, the PAC’s executive director, “into one that’s centered around data-tested ideas like the background checks that we know increased public safety and save lives, but don't sort of disapprove of the individual gun owner and don't disapprove of the responsible use of firearms in society.”

And while Hillary Clinton promised to “keep taking on the NRA” in October, she should maybe stop, according to ARS’ findings, and instead take on the “gun lobby.”

“The NRA has great favorabilities in a lot of places,” said Global Strategy Group Jeff Pollock, pointing to the 144-year-old organization’s popular — and apolitical — hunting and safety training programs. They have a new playbook too:
ARS invested heavily in developing the new message, hiring Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to run several polls, Global Strategy Group to host online discussion boards and Anzalone Liszt Grove to hold five focus groups around the country with gun-owning women, millennials and minority voters.

The strongest message in favor of stronger gun laws, Walker said, is “with freedom comes responsibility.”

That language mirrors that of gun rights groups, by design. The NRA calls itself “freedom’s safest place,” for example.

“Essentially, we co-opted their language,” Walker said. Similarly, another point stresses that “as adults, we have a responsibility to make our country a safer place to live.”

ARS’ strategy also subtly suggests that its allies are overplaying some strategies. “Relying on victims’ and survivors’ stories alone can amplify feelings of hopelessness,” its strategy booklet cautions.  “Mothers have also been powerful advocates for stronger gun laws, but we need to show through our messengers that they are not the only ones who want to reduce gun violence,” it advises, before suggesting bringing in more men, gun owners, hunters and experts like ER doctors and police. It appears from the article that they may have finally figured out that the power of the NRA is not money, but the activists who contact their legislators.  I especially liked this line:
“Their money isn’t that big,” Pollock said. “It’s not what they do. Their power rests in their stupid postcards and their ability to terrorize members on the Hill and have them panicked about their rating.”Politico also pointed out that that what goes unsaid is the gun ban lobby far out spends the NRA.

The article finishes up with some interesting data that confirms previous reporting on the views of so-called "millennials" and the issue of gun ownership:
ARS also developed specific messages to turn out parts of the original Obama coalition of blacks, Hispanics, women and millennials. The latter might actually be the most difficult to persuade. ARS’ pollsters found that millennials' views on guns track more with the party ID than their age, and other studies have found that younger voters are especially open to gun rights, seeing them in the same vein of personal liberty as gay rights.Jenn Jacques who writes at BearingArms.com appeared on NRANews.com's Cam and Company yesterday and said that the gun ban groups may try to change their messaging to talk about freedom and safety, it's really still just about control.


A Shooter's View of the National Trophy Team Match

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Guest post by VSSA Pistol Team Member
Kent LeThe Civilian Marksmanship Program's National Trophy Team match (NTT) is an interesting match that requires each team to have at least one "tyro" - a new shooter who has never shot in the NTT before - to be eligible for awards; this is to encourage participation and growth in the sport. The course of fire is the straightforward National Match Course: ten shots in ten minutes, "slow fire", at 50 yards; two five-shot strings, twenty seconds per string, "timed fire", at 25 yards; two five-shot strings, ten seconds per string, "rapid fire", at 25 yards. The team shoots in pairs, two members shooting side-by-side at a time; this simplifies scoring (only need to score two shooters at a time) and divides other duties (score verification, changing targets) amongst teammates to make the matches flow better.

Last year I was the tyro for the Virginia team, and we thought we had a good chance at being competitive: the other shooters on the team were Matt Buckman, Joe Chang, and Brent Obenour, and Steve Huff, all excellent shooters. I was also in good form having shot very well in the President's Hundred (P100) and National Trophy Individual (NTI) matches earlier in the day. As the tyro, my spot as a firing member of the team was secured; the other four shooters compared their scores in the P100 and NTI matches, and the top three P100+NTI shooters would shoot during the NTT. 
The weather was not ideal last year with cool temperatures and intermittent rain, but it didn't seem to affect our individual match scores much. However, we fell short of our expectations during the team match when one of my shots could not be accounted-for in the slow fire stage, even after lodging a challenge to have the target scored by match officials (I very likely cross-fired on the wrong target), and one of our teammates cross-fired an entire string of rapid-fire on my target; at Perry, this is very easy to do - there are a hundred targets side by side on the line; it's not hard to bring the sights up on the wrong target and still feel like everything's right. The result was 60 total points lost and the Virginia team being far out of contention.
This year I was tasked with organizing the NTT team, which I named "VSSA" for Virginia Shooting Sports Association. The VSSA organization provided a Virginia state flag for use during the team matches at Camp Perry (and anywhere else) with Michael Vincent as its caretaker, and we used it this year for the NRA team matches and the CMP NTT match, fitting right in with the other state teams and their flags.
With my own tyro status already "burned" we had Viesturs Lenss shoot for our team as our tyro. Selection for the remaining firing members was the same as the previous year: the best three combined P100+NTI scores of each of the other potential members of the team would determine who shot for the team. Of the potential members, Joe Chang, Matt Buckman, and myself were selected to shoot, with Steve Huff as an alternate.
The weather this year was quite different than last year, with lightly overcast skies and breezy winds, the ground was quite dry and firm. Joe and Matt shot first, posting solid scores. Then it was my turn to shoot alongside Viesturs. 
It was a somewhat surreal experience this year both in shooting the match and scoring for our neighboring team, Arizona Rifle & Pistol. During the relay that Viesturs and I shot, AR&P's shooters were none other than Steve Reiter, several-time Senior U.S. Champion, and John Zurek, who took Third Place overall in the NRA National Precision Pistol Championships this year, awarded just the day before. Performing scoring duties for their team were Tony and Brenda Silva; Ms. Silva is a U.S. Olympian and several-time USA Shooting National Champion. None other than Rob Leatham, 24-time USPSA National Champion and 7-time IPSC World Champion, was providing coaching and even equipment to Mr. Zurek. A video cameraman hovered around Mr. Leatham for the whole match, and I got to watch him explain some of the nuances of the sport of Precision Pistol for the camera. I tried not to let it get to me, but I'll admit I was a little star-struck.
This year's performance had none of the problems of last year, and Viesturs and I both turned in excellent scores. We had a good feeling as we packed up our gear after a long week of shooting. Joe, Matt, and Viesturs started the long drive home, while I stayed behind, already slated to appear on stage during the CMP National Trophy Pistol Awards Ceremony to receive the badge for the newly instated Distinguished Rimfire Pistol program.
It turned out to be a good thing that I stayed behind: our VSSA team score of 1107-29x was 2nd overall, coming in behind United States Army Marksmanship Unit "Blue" team's outstanding score of 1143-45x. VSSA out-shot Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association by just one point to win the Oglethorpe Trophy for the highest-placed civilian team; I got to go up on stage to receive the award for the VSSA team. Two of VSSA's members, Joe Chang and me, were also named for the prestigious National Civilian Pistol Team and awarded the Elihu Root Medal along with James Morman and Alan Barcon, both of the Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association team. I was also awarded two additional Elihu Root Medals as both the captain and coach of the top civilian team, who are also named for the National Civilian Pistol Team (and who both happened to be me). Joe's performance in the NTT would earn him top civilian shooter, top senior shooter, and a whole raft of other awards - his name was called a lot during the ceremony.
I finally started my drive home at 6:30PM and arrived at 2:00AM, very tired but very pleased with a successful representation of the Virginia Shooting Sports Association this year at the National Matches at Camp Perry.

VSSA Team Wins Oglethorpe Trophy at the 2016 National Pistol Matches

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Written by Michael Vincent Photos courtesy of John Rickards
The National Pistol Matches at Camp Perry in Ohio ran from July 11th through July 17th 2016. Camp Perry is named after Commodore Oliver Perry who defeated the British on Lake Erie in 1813 just off shore from the current National Guard base. The National Matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1907. The weeklong event consists of both NRA and CMP precision pistol matches.

The week starts with a Small Arms Firing School run by the Army Marksmanship Unit. Tuesday is the start of the matches with the Harry Reeves Memorial match and the Distinguished Revolver matches along with the individual CMP EIC matches.

Wednesday is the Preliminary match day. VSSA had two 3 person teams for the Preliminary matches. Each team member shoots a different caliber pistol (22, Centerfire and 45) for a total possible score of 900 points. Stars and Stripes Forever with shooters Kent Le (45acp), Marc Wangel (Centerfire with 32 S&W Long), and Michael Vincent (22), took 12th place overall with a score of 820-25x. Two Guys and a Gal with shooters Anton Beatty (45acp), David Friedman (Centerfire 45acp), and Laura Merciez (22) took 38th place with a score of 706-11x.

Photo by John Rickards, Preliminary team Stars and Stripes Forever Left to right Kent Le, Marc Wangel, Mike Vincent  Photo by John Rickards, Zak Vincent guards the flag while Anton Beatty goes to the target carts
The 2700 National Championships begins with the .22 Championships on Thursday followed by the Centerfire and .45 Championships Friday and Saturday.  All team members shoot the same caliber pistols on these days for a total possible team score of 1200 points each day plus a 3600-point aggregate. VSSA had two teams competing in the entire Championship and one team competing just for the 22 event. VSSA’s 4 person team Stars and Stripes Forever with shooters Anton Beatty, Kent Le, Marc Wangel, and Michael Vincent had a 3 day aggregate score of 3245-75x for a 6thplace finish in Expert class. VSSA’s 2 person team Metropolitan Pistol League with shooters David Friedman and Paul Thorn had a 3 day aggregate of 1336-13x for a 12th place finish overall. VSSA’s 4 person 22 only team Deuces with shooters Anne Buckman, Joe Wawrzaszek, Laura Merciez, and Zak Vincent had a score of 997-14x for a 10th place finish in Sharpshooter class.Short Line 25 YardsLaura Merciez
David FriedmanLeft to right Laura Merciez, Marc Wangel, Anton Beatty, Anne Buckman, Joe Wawrzaszek, Zachary Vincent, David Friedman, Kneeling Kent Le, Michael Vincent, Photo courtesy of John RickardsSunday is CMP day with the National Trophy Individual match followed by the Presidents 100 match. The last match of the week is the National Trophy Team match. VSSA had a team of four shooters. To be eligible for awards in this match each team must have a Tyro, or new shooter that has never participated in this match before. Veteran shooters Joe Chang of Springfield VA, Kent Le of Chantilly VA, and Matt Buckman of Lovettsville VA were joined by Viesturs Lenss of Alexandria VA for his first attempt in a NTT match. This proved to be a very successful combination with a score of 1107-29x they took second place overall and first place civilian team to win the Oglethorpe Trophy.
Complete Match results can be found at:http://competitions.nra.org/championship-results/nra-national-outdoor-rifle-pistol-championships-results.aspx
Congratulations To All!Oglethorpe Trophy
NRAStaff Photo

33rd Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show Set for August 12-14

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The Virginia Outdoor Sportsman show will once again be at the Richmond International Raceway, 600 E. Laburnum Ave.
Richmond VA, 23222, on August 12th, 13th and 14th.  This year's show will feature popular hunting personality Eva Shockey.  Growing up with Professional Hunter and Television personality, Jim Shockey, as her father, Eva was brought outdoors and in front of the camera at an early age. With a combined passion for conservation and adventure, Eva is now a full-fledged Outdoor Channel and Wild TV personality and is quickly making a name for herself within the industry as a proud, female outdoors-woman. She is truly one of the best ambassadors for the sport of hunting.  Eva made headlines in the industry by becoming the first woman in over 30 years to be featured on Field & Stream’s cover, and only the second woman in history to receiver her own cover, the other being Queen Elizabeth.

The hours for this year's show are:
August 12 - 4PM - 9PM
August 13 - 9AM - 7PM
August 14 - 10AM - 6PM

Also, the night before the show starts, the Greater Richmond Friends of NRA will hold their banquet at the Richmond Raceway complex beginning at 5:30 PM.  You can get more information here.

Real Solutions

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That's the title of the latest NRA-Freedom's Safest Place ad by Colion Noir.  In the new ad, Noir makes clear that every American would be better served if politicians and media members stopped fanning the flames of racism and instead focused on fixing the epidemic of violence in our inner cities.

A New Gun Control Scheme

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During Wednesday's broadcast of NRANews.com's Cam and Company (at about the 2 hour 15 minute mark), host Cam Edwards mentioned an article that appeared in the Huffington Post titled "Quantifying the social cost of firearms: a new approach to gun control."   It was written by Timothy M. Smith, Professor of Sustainable Systems Management & International Business, at the University of MinnesotaSmith writes:
Another week in America, another week of sadness and hand-wringing prompted by gun violence.

While the most recent incidents are tinged by race, they also point to a country awash in guns and the too many deaths that result from their use (or abuse). But are these shootings any more likely to lead to some kind of meaningful action to address the problem?

Unfortunately, probably not. As long as the debate continues to be one of constitutionality (the right to bear arms) and control (regulation), little meaningful change is likely to address the 16 million new guns entering the U.S. market each year or the nearly 34,000 annual gun deaths.

A new dialogue is desperately needed among policymakers and the public. And it could begin by shifting our focus away from the regulation of guns toward understanding (and mitigating) the social costs of firearm fatalities.

My research examines ways to assess the social, environmental and health effects of new technologies to inform policymakers and companies. Though my focus at the University of Minnesota is on sustainability, similar analyses may also be useful for the political debate over gun control.Smith comes up with a calculation for the cost of deaths involving firearms based on type (rifles come in at about $15 per rifle since they are used in so few crimes where handguns cost around $400 per handgun). He then ends up proposing a $140 registration fee:
An $140 annual registration fee, applied only to the 23.1 million guns transacted each year, could generate over $3.2 billion in revenues annually. If nothing else, these resources could bolster local police and security budgets, improve access to gun safety training and education, incentivize new technologies that make guns less dangerous and compensate victims’ families.Of course that would price a large number of people out of the market, which is the intent of such a scheme - to reduce the number of people who can buy a firearm.

She Started With Deer Hunting, Now She's an Olympian

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Last week the Washington Post had another great article on Virginian Ginny Thrasher:
Ginny Thrasher once dreamed of being an Olympic figure skater. While she glided up and down the ice at Fairfax Ice Arena, Thrasher thought about one day representing the United States on one of the world’s biggest stages. But when ninth grade came around, Thrasher realized her route to a gold medal probably wasn’t in skating.

“To be honest, I was never very good at it,” Thrasher said.

But this August, Thrasher, 19, will represent the United States as the youngest shooter on the 15-member Olympic rifle team. As a freshman at West Virginia, she won national titles in both air rifle and small-bore during the NCAA championships in March. Then on April 4, she was named to the U.S. team headed to Rio.

“What she achieved as a freshman in college is as good as anyone in the last 10 years or more,” West Virginia rifle Coach Jon Hammond said. “The things she’s achieved just this year, it’s not very often that someone achieves that. Usually it’s someone who has international experience and has been shooting for a long time. Not a college freshman.”Just a little over five year's ago, according to the article, Thrasher asked her parents during a return trip from her grandparents why she "couldn't go hunting with grandpa?"  Not only did she go hunting, to the surprise of her father and grandfather, she shot a deer:
“It was just a big rush of adrenaline,” Thrasher said. “Things were happening very fast and all of a sudden, my aim was good and it was an exciting feeling.”That hunting trip lead her to go to an open practice for the air rifle team at West Springfield High School (located in Fairfax). The rest is history.  The Post notes that by the end of her senior year at West Springfield, Thrasher had earned five medals at the 2015 USA Shooting national championships and third place at the 2014 Junior Olympic championships.  In March, Thrasher became the second member of West Virginia University’s rifle program to win both the individual small-bore and air rifle NCAA championships, earning her a spot at the U.S. Olympic trials in Fort Benning, Ga. By the end of the second day of the three day trials, Thrasher had pretty much clinched her spot.

Read the entire article.  It's another great profile of this outstanding young lady.

Media Tries to Drive Wedge Between NRA Members and Leadership

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It started on Saturday with this article in the Washington Post titled "The NRA’s Internal Split Over Philando Castile" that tried to paint a schism between NRA members and the organization's leadership in Fairfax over the response (or lack of) in the death of a black concealed carry permit holder earlier in the week:
After a Minnesota police officer fatally shot a black man on Wednesday, gun control advocates weren’t the only ones criticizing the National Rifle Association. Some of the blowback was coming from within the organization.

The NRA is facing internal division as its members argue that the group did not do enough to defend gun owners’ rights by speaking out on behalf of Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., who was shot to death during a traffic stop.

Castile had a valid permit to carry a gun. He also reportedly informed the officer who shot him that he was armed in an attempt to head off a misunderstanding.By Sunday, other publications had picked up the narrative.  The "blowback" referred to was comments posted on the NRA Facebook Page.  The thing is the lack of a response was not driven by a lack of support for the rights of a lawfully carrying individual, or not wanting to support a black gun owner as race hustler Al Sharpton charged,  but following the organization's history of waiting until the investigation is completed before responding.  It's what the organization repeatedly asks for the gun ban lobby and gun ban politicians to do after high profile shootings before they call for more gun control.  It is a matter of being consistent. 

Also on Sunday, NRA News Commentator Colion Noir (an attorney by profession) released a new video commentary responding to the media’s narrative that the NRA does not care about the black community.  He opened the video commentary echoing the emotions felt by many across the country this past week:
“As I watched Philando Castile dying in that car, I watched myself die, and it evoked every emotion in my body.” Speaking directly to the unjust critics who claimed the NRA was being racist for not immediately issuing statements, Noir goes on to say:
“as a lawyer, I’ve learned to wait for all the evidence before rushing to judgment because emotions can blind you and rob you of impartiality.”He directly called out Russell Simmons, who previously stated Noir was just being used when NRA News gave him his own show. Noir also takes on Don Lemon for attacking the right of young black men to open carry. He cites the NRA’s long history of defending the rights of African-Americans including Shaneen Allen, Josephine Byrd and Otis McDonald, stories the media has largely ignored, adding:
“The Democratic Party invented gun control after slavery to keep guns out of the hands of black people and they haven’t stopped since. But you don’t tell that story, either.” Noir also asks where the media was when four people died and 51 were wounded in Chicago over July 4th weekend.

You can view the complete video below.

The Hill: GOP Struggles to Find Votes for Gun Bill

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The Hill posted this article Wednesday night reporting Speaker Paul Ryan is having trouble rallying conservatives around his efforts to include an amendment related to the so-called "terrorist watch list" to an "anti-terror" package.  This follows up an earlier report posted Tuesday night that characterized the revolt as a "handful of naysayers" from the House Freedom Caucus.  From last night's article:
“They seem to be at wit’s end,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). “For whatever reason, they seem to be taken by surprise by the number of Republicans who have defected.”

The conservative revolt has forced GOP leaders to delay action on the package, which was initially scheduled to move through the Rules Committee on Tuesday and hit the floor Wednesday.Making this part of a larger anti-terror package is putting strong 2A supporters in the position of voting against the larger package because the don't support taking away a civil right without due process.
It’s unclear how, or if, the Republicans will proceed. Some conservatives are floating the idea of splitting the gun provision from the larger anti-terror package. That strategy would provide an out for the conservatives opposed to the notion that gun control in any form is the appropriate response to the Orlando tragedy.

“It’s clear that terrorism shouldn’t be diverted to a gun control issue,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) told The Hill Wednesday. “That’s almost perverse, where you have a person mass slaughtering, whether it be in San Bernardino or Orlando. That’s not a gun issue.”King, who is no friend of gun owners and who opposes Ryan’s gun measure in favor of stronger measures, suggested Ryan would back away from plans to move the firearm provision if they can’t win the support of more conservatives.  Keep calling your representatives and let them know you oppose any new gun control and that our Second Amendment rights should not be taken away by a secret government list.

GOP Conservatives Revolt Against Ryan's Terror Watch List Push

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Sebastian at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned has the story here via The Hill.  Virginia's own 7th District Congressman Dave Brat was quoted in The Hill article:
Added Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), another Freedom Caucus member: “If it is a suspected terrorist and we have evidence to that extent, then Logic 101 [suggests] that person should either be in jail or out of the country.”I think we can all agree on that.

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