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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.

Democrats Include Current Wishlist of Gun Control in Party Platform

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Ahead of the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee has released their proposed platform for the party to run on this election cycle.  From Guns.com:
“We will expand background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws, hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable, keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons—off our streets, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues,” states the platform.

The list mirrors the position taken by presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who also advocates closing the “Charleston Loophole,” revoking licenses of firearms dealers found to have high rates of straw purchasers and gun traffickers, and seeking to add those who have been the subject of some outpatient treatments to the list of prohibited possessors.

“Make no mistake about it: The 2016 Democratic platform represents an ambitious, progressive agenda that all Democrats can and should be proud of,” said Clinton senior policy advisor Maya Harris, who was a representative to the platform committee, noting that it “reflects the issues Hillary Clinton has championed throughout this campaign.”This follows the report in the Christian Science Monitor that Democrats are "reveved-up" to see if gun control can be a winning election issue. With the gun ban crowd being so up-front with their plans, look for gun sales to continue their record setting pace.

Christian Science Monitor: Democrats Fired Up to See if Gun Control Can Be Winning Election Issue

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The Christian Science Monitor had this article yesterday on how the Democrats itching to see if gun control can be a winning election issue:
But will gun safety actually motivate voters? Will it cause them to punish opponents of “common sense” regulation and reward supporters?

That’s the key question, because America has seen versions of this story before – mass shootings, a presidential candidate for more gun regulation (Barack Obama), and favorable public opinion. And yet it is the gun-rights lobby, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has had the upper hand in legislation at the state level and in Congress.

Still, advocates of gun-safety regulation feel encouraged, with many saying the country is reaching a tipping point. They describe a slow boil of anger and fear about gun deaths – now combined with terrorism. They cite a frustrating disconnect between public opinion and a nonresponsive Congress.

“There comes a time when you have to say something, we have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time,” said Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia, the veteran civil rights leader, during the House sit-in last month.The article points to the 2015 Virginia State Senate election and the victory of Jeremy McPike, which Bloomberg's Everytown spent heavily as one reason gun control is no longer a "third rail" issue.  What the Monitor reporter did not say is a)it was a Democrat open seat, and a district that went for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 and b)the other race in which Bloomberg spent heavily was won by the NRA endorsed candidate Glen Sturtevant.  It is likely that McPike would have won without Bloomberg's money and Sturtevant won in spite of Bloomberg outspending the NRA almost 10-1.  Which leads me to this part of the Monitor article:
What will make a difference this year is organization and momentum, says Ms. Milikowsky. Everytown can’t match the NRA in dollars, she says, but it has people power: mayors, moms, survivors, and other supportive Americans, a total of 50,000 volunteers who will be focusing on key state races, as well as advocating for Clinton.Really?  Everytown can't match NRA in dollars?  Bloomberg has much deeper pockets than the NRA and he spends heavily propping up the organization.  Plus, NRA's real power is not money, it is the dedicated group of members who get involved in campaigns and go the polls.  It will take a big effort on the part of gun owners this year, an effort not really seen since the 2000 election, to make sure Hillary Clinton is not elected president.  You can sign up to volunteer by going to http://www.nrailafrontlines.com/volunteer and find volunteer opportunities in your area at http://www.nrailafrontlines.com/calender.

Andrew McCarthy: Government Could Strip Every Constitutional Right under "Emergency" Claim

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Andrew McCarthy had a great article on National Review Online yesterday about Chuck Schumer's (D., N.Y.) claim at a Judiciary Committee hearing last week that many constitutional liberties are routinely restricted in "emergency" circumstances — in particular, Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless search and arrest, so we should do the same thing to the Second Amendment:
President Obama and his allies in Congress seek to deny the constitutional gun-ownership rights of Americans merely suspected of terror ties — even as the Left champions the non-existent immigration rights of aliens from regions notorious for terror ties. The backbone of the Democrats’ stratagem is a specious “constitutional” claim, one whose logic would empower the government to strip every civil right the Constitution is designed to protect against government encroachment.

As posited by Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) at a Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Democrats claim that many constitutional liberties are routinely restricted in emergency circumstances — in particular, Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless search and arrest. Hence, the argument goes, Second Amendment rights, too, may be stripped away if Democrats can concoct an emergency — such as the ongoing crisis in which guns, apparently with minds of their own, mow down infidels.McCarthy continues:
It is black-letter law that a statute cannot limit a constitutional safeguard. Not only is the Constitution the higher-ranking source of law; the safeguard in the Second Amendment is a safeguard against government action. If government action could undo such a safeguard, the purpose of having the safeguard in the first place would be defeated. The Second Amendment, and indeed all constitutional guarantees against governmental abuses of power, would be null and void anytime government came up with an “emergency” pretext.McCarthy, who as a U.S. Attorney prosecuted the "Blind Sheik" for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting the U.S. from jihadists.  But he also understands the Constitution and explains in great detail why this theory being pushed by  the gun ban Democrats is dangerous to liberty.  Read the entire article.

Volunteers Needed to Help at Salem Fair NRA-ILA Booth

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The Annual Salem Fair is now open and the NRA-ILA Team needs your help! With over 350,000 people in attendance between June 29th and July 10th, this will be an excellent time to spread gun rights and the NRA message. Located at the Salem Civic Center on 1001 Roanoke Blvd Salem, VA 24153, the event runs from 4pm til 9pm weekdays, and Noon until 9pm weekends.

NRA-ILA is looking for volunteers to help maintain the booth and interact with fairgoers. For those interested in volunteering, please contact Patrick DeStefano, at 864-680-0399, or by email at patrick@nrailafrontlines.com

WHENJune 29, 2016 at 4pm - July 10, 2016 at 4pm       WHERESalem Civic Center1001 Roanoke BlvdSalem, VA 24153United States

The Hill: House to Vote on Gun Bill Next Week

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Just received this from thehill.com:
In a conference call Thursday, Ryan told rank-and-file Republicans that the House will take up a terrorism package that will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, as well as a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, according to a source on the call.

It’s unclear exactly which bill will be brought to the floor.

Democrats launched an historic, daylong protest on the House floor last week demanding a vote on such legislation in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage that killed 49.Contact your congressman now and let them know you oppose any new restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.

Volunteers Needed for NRA-ILA Table at Richmond Gun Show July 9-10

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Without the hard work of dedicated gun owners, we would not have made the gains we have legislatively over the years.  In fact, without some very dedicated volunteers doing things like working gun show tables and other campaign activities, our rights would likely have been eliminated years ago.

This year we are going to need that support and hard work more than ever. We are facing the biggest threat to our rights that we have seen in years, eclipsing even the threat after the tragic events of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.  Whether we win or see anti-gun politicians advance their agenda significantly all depends on the outcome of the election this November. That is why we need  gun owners to answer the call and become activists today.

With that in mind, NRA-ILA will have a table at the Richmond gun show on July 9th and 10th at the Richmond Raceway.  They need folks to work the table to recruit volunteers. If you can lend a hand for an hour or two, please contact:

Alan L. Penn
NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator
(Email) alanlpenn@comcast.net
(Cell) 804-489-3775

New Gun Laws Take Effect July 1

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

On July 1, laws passed during the General Assembly session take effect.  Here are a few of the most important gun related laws:

Senate Bill 610 and House Bill 1163, patroned by state Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17) and Delegate Michael Webert (R-18), which passed during the last session overrides Attorney General Mark Herring's order that ended reciprocity/recognition with 25 states. Action to terminate existing agreements and mutual recognition was delayed to allow the new provisions to take effect on July 1, making revocation unnecessary.    As a result Virginia’s recognition of permits remained unchanged until July 1 when the new law becomes effective.

Effective July 1, the holder of a valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permit or license issued by another state may carry a concealed handgun in Virginia provided:
  • the holder of such permit or license is at least 21 years of age; and
  • the permit or license holder carries a photo identification issued by a government agency of any state or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State; and
  • the holder displays the permit or license and such identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; and
  • the permit or license holder has not previously had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked. 
The legislation also provides that the Virginia State Police in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General will work with the various jurisdictions to secure reciprocal privileges for Virginia citizens desiring to carry concealed in other states.

Although the new law will require Virginia to grant recognition to all states that issue permits, those states may not authorize Virginia permit holders to possess a firearm in their state. You will need to contact each state to determine if they will recognize your Virginia permit.

Additionally, on Friday, July 1, the Virginia State Police will begin the process of reaching out to additional states to enter into reciprocal agreements allowing Virginia concealed carry permits to be recognized when traveling to those states.  Please note that effective July 1, new CHP applications will need to be used to apply for new or renewal permits.

Also beginning on July 1, State Police will be present at every gun show in Virginia to perform voluntary background checks for individuals who wish to take advantage of the service before selling their privately owned firearm to another individual.

Rigged Polling Helps Drive Gun Control Narrative

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

Today's New York Times continues the narrative started with last week's congressional gun control "sit-in" by declaring the wall protecting us from new gun ban laws may cracking:
A widely publicized sit-in by House Democrats. A bipartisan compromise proposal in the Senate. Neither is very likely to lead to any legislative action in Congress on gun safety this year. Election Day is too close, and most of the Republican opposition is too dug in.  But the fact that a legislative response remains elusive does not mean there has been no movement on the issue. Members of both parties say they sensed a shift in the gun debate after the mass killing in Orlando, Fla., a notable difference in attitude from the reaction on Capitol Hill after previous horrific shootings.
Eight Senate Republicans joined with 44 Democrats on a Republican-proposed compromise that would deny people on two different federal watch lists the ability to buy weapons unless they could successfully appeal that decision. Several other Republican senators showed some willingness to accept new restrictions on gun purchases if they could be structured in an acceptable way. A bipartisan companion measure also was introduced in the House.
These are incremental steps, but in the gridlocked world of gun control politics, they count for something..This is all part of Obama's, and the Department of Justice's efforts to do everything they can not to mention the words Islamic Terrorism, taking the opportunity instead to push gun control.  They are aided by the media which pushes out poll results that are rigged, as Frank Miniter wrote last week in Forbes, using wording in such a way that most people will say yes to the questions asked.  For instance:
The deception begins with polls. A CNN/ORC poll conducted June 16-19, is a good example. Its asked participants if they “generally favor or oppose … preventing people who are on the U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns”?

Given how this question is worded, it should be no surprise that 85% of respondents said they are in “favor” stopping terrorists from legally owning guns. Who can blame them? Any reasonable person must want law enforcement to investigate, watch and, when necessary, prevent possible terrorists from getting guns.

Notice it uses the word “prevent” not “ban” or “stop.” “Prevent” implies a more nuanced approach than the U.S. Government using secret (as they must be) black lists, like the “no-fly list,” to not just take away a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms away, but also their Fifth Amendment right to due process under the law.

Actually, the 15% of the respondents who said they “oppose” … “preventing people who are on the U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns,” likely knew this was a loaded question and then stubbornly refused to go along with the premise that the government should be able to take the U.S. Bill of Rights away from U.S. citizens without even having its power checked by the judicial branch.This allows the media and Obama to run with the false narrative that the NRA doesn't care if terrorists can buy guns.  It's about demonizing the NRA. Doesn't seem to be working as a poll released earlier this week showed the NRA is more popular than both political parties and Hillary Clinton, and viewed negatively by less people than view Obama negatively.

Miniter appeared on NRANews.com last Friday to discuss his article in more detail and why all of this is hypocritical.
One last note, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine were among the Senators that walked down the hall to join their gun ban cohorts in the House.  It looks like Warner has completely reverted to his pre-Governor campaign positions on guns.

Delegate Michael Webert on How Arbitrary Restrictions on Rights Won't Prevent the Next Attack

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

At The Daily Caller, Delegate Michael Webert writes about efforts by President Obama, Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats to use the terrorist attack in Orlando as a justification for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and prohibiting persons on secret watch lists from buying firearms.
If the government is so intent on suspending the right of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights on the basis of suspicion, then what is there to stop the government from moving to curtail other rights based off the assumption you might be a threat—not much. Today, it’s firearms, tomorrow it could include anything from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, limiting the right to a fair and speedy trial, to limiting the right to freely express oneself. Literally the possibilities are endless, and it’s not as far-fetched as it may sound.Delegate Webert, who was deeply involved in the effort to roll back Attorney General Mark Herring's order on concealed carry reciprocity/recognition, appeared on NRANews on Wednesday to discuss the article in more detail:


Longtime VSSA Lobbyst and Member Tom Evans has Died

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

News was just received that VSSA's longtime lobbyist, Tom Evans, has died.  Tom served as VSSA's lobbyist until 2009 when health problems caused him to retire.  Tom's relationship with both pro-gun and anti-gun legislators allowed him to work with both sides of our issue and accomplish many positive results.  He was intimately involved in the passage of "Shall Issue" concealed carry legislation in 1995, partial repeal of handgun rationing in 2004, VSSA's range protection legislation in 2004, and Virginia's pre-emption statute.

VSSA currently does not have information related to final arrangements but will post them when it is received.

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