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Wall Street Journal: More Seniors Fearing Crime Flocking to Shooting Ranges

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The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has this article today talking about how firearm retailers around the U.S. say that more seniors are showing up for shooting lessons.

Multiple sources have written about how women are driving new gun sales and now there is another segment of the population that has apparently joined women at the range.  The NRA told the WSJ that 22,739 people over 65 took basic firearm training courses from NRA-certified instructors in 2015.  NRA indicated that is four times the number five years earlier and that growth in that age category was much faster than the overall growth rate.

As we have heard with women, personal security is a driving force behind senior citizens wanting to learn how to properly use a firearm:
Stephen Eyler, 71, who owns a printing shop in Oklahoma City, began thinking about buying a pistol after two incidents in which he and his wife, Shirley, felt threatened by strangers. The Eylers worried about random shootings, people with mental problems and “radicals,” Mr. Eyler said: “You see it on the news almost every day.”

In early March, after researching guns on the Internet, he bought two Glock semiautomatic pistols, one for himself and a smaller model for his wife, at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City. The couple signed up for lessons at H&H and plan to get concealed-carry permits so they can stow the pistols in their car’s glove compartment.While personal security may be the main reason, one gun shop owner the reporter spoke with said He said seniors also show up because they’re looking for hobbies because target shooting doesn’t require as much mobility as golf or tennis.

Contrast the Wall Street Journal article that talks about another segment of the population adding to the ranks of gun owners with this propaganda piece from Bloomberg's mouthpiece The Trace that says the idea that more women are becoming gun owners is a myth.  While the Journal actually went out and talked to firearm retailers and shooting ranges to gather information for their article, The Trace relied on a survey that regularly undercounts gun owners because of the method used to collect the information.

Check out the entire WSJ article.  It is a good read.

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly To Announce "Virginia Coalition for Common Sense"

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The Washington Post reports that former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly will be in Virginia today to introduce the creation of a group called Virginia Coalition for Common Sense made up of law enforcement, the faith community, domestic violence prevention, and mental health communities to push for mandatory background checks at gun shows.  Just last month, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a bill that expands recognition and reciprocity for Virginia's concealed handgun permits, creates the ability for private sellers to use the State Police to run voluntary background checks on perspective buyers at gun shows, and tightened restrictions on gun ownership for those under a court ordered domestic violence protective order.


The couple were in Delaware yesterday announcing the "Delaware Coalition for Common Sense" where according to WDEL News Talk Radio, they pushed for "processes for relatives and law enforcement to temporarily prevent people suffering a 'mental health crisis' from accessing guns" and "closing what Kelly deemed the 'Charleston Loophole,' a provision in federal law that automatically allows a gun dealer to complete a firearm sale if a background check takes longer than three business days without a ruling."  Look for similar measures to be pushed when they announce their Virginia Coalition.


The Post noted while Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety "strongly rebuked" McAuliffe for making the concealed carry deal with GOP legislators, Giffords group stayed mum.  It was not mentioned whether McAuliffe or any in his administration would be at the unveiling today but former Obama U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Tim Heaphy along with a former staffer for former U.S. Senator Jim Webb will be part of the coalition.
 

McAuliffe Vetos Gun Bills That Would Overturn Executive Order 50

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Late yesterday, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed House Bill 1096, which would reverse elements of the governor’s executive order that bans the possession of firearms in Virginia executive branch office buildings. He also vetoed House Bill 382, which would bar state agencies — other than the Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Virginia Port Authority and institutions of higher education — from adopting regulations preventing employees from storing a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private personal vehicle at their workplace.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Governor's veto statement said:
“As governor, I am the chief personnel officer of the state workforce,” McAuliffe said in vetoing the measure.

“I believe there is a need to establish and enforce workplace violence prevention policies that focus on employee safety and an atmosphere of workplace safety.

“An essential component of workplace violence prevention is the regulation of the possession, brandishing, or use of weapons on-site and during work-related activities. Our current state policy is aligned with and reinforces this best practice.”The Richmond Times Dispatch reported this morning that the state GOP accused McAuliffe of being "inconsistent" on gun laws but McAuliffe was consistent on the issues addressed in these bills.  He said at the start of the session that he would veto any legislation that undid his earlier actions in this area and he did exactly what he said.  Neither bill passed with enough votes to override a veto but gun owners should let their voice be heard to their legislators so they know gun owners do not support McAuliffe's vetoes.

Was Heller and McDonald the Best We Could Get Out of SCOTUS

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Sebastian writes on the blog Shall Not Be Questioned that it's possible we currently only have two strong votes for the Second Amendment on the Supreme Court:
...I think we have two real votes for a meaningful Second Amendment on the court: Thomas and Alito. Scalia was the third, but he’s gone now. I didn’t think there was anything radical about the Alito and Thomas concurring opinion in the Stun Gun Case, yet it’s interesting that neither Kennedy nor Roberts joined it. My perception, I hope I’m wrong but fear I’m right, is that the reason there’s been no certiorari granted on any of the gun cases is because the Heller majority had two weak links. Heller and McDonald may very well be the best Scalia could extract from his colleagues who formed the five justice majority in those cases.I'm more confident each day that the GOP majority in the senate is going to make sure Obama's nomination to replace Scalia goes nowhere.  The fact that the senators with the toughest re-election campaigns this year seem to be holding firm leads me to believe they aren't getting much pressure back home to confirm the nominee.  If things hold as they are now however, I'm with Sebastian that things don't look good no matter whether the next President is Clinton or Trump getting a good replacement for Scalia. 

Hunter Skills Weekend April 22-24

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The Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox is April 22-24 and is an excellent opportunity to try and learn a variety of outdoor skills.  No experience is necessary! The weekend includes three 4-hour hands-on workshop sessions provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and class offerings change with each event.

This year's event includes long-range rifle shooting, reloading ammunition and predator hunting as well as the customary offerings of basic shotgun, upland game bird shooting skills, deer hunting skills, wild game cooking, bowhunting and 11 others.  But hurry, class sizes are limited and are “first-come first-served” so register now to save your spot.  Visit www.vahea.org to learn more about the event and see pictures of class activities.

This program is a partnership between the Virginia Hunter Education Association, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and the host facility, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox, VA.

For more information and registration forms visit: http://www.holidaylake4h.com/vahunterweekend.php , call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail bbranch@vt.eduEarly registration fee (before April 1) is $110.00, after April 1 the fee is $120.00, and the deadline is April 8, 2016.  Meals and lodging are included. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred, but not required.  Anyone age 11 or older can attend; children under 18 must attend with a parent; parents and youth must take the same classes.

Hat tip VDGIF Outdoor Report.

Three Richmond Area Gun Shop Break-ins Possibly Related

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NBC 12 reports that police answered calls to three Richmond Area gun shops between 10:15 pm Monday and 7:00 am Tuesday.
In Chesterfield, police responded to a breaking and entering call at Southern Police Equipment, the parent company of Southern Gun World, at 7609 Midlothian Turnpike at 10:15 p.m. Monday. When officers arrived, three suspects fled. Nothing was taken, police said, but a door had been damaged.

All three male suspects are about 6' tall, police said. One suspect was wearing a black sweatshirt, black pants, a black Chicago Bulls ball cap, a red bandana around his neck and dark-colored gloves. He was carrying a black bag.

The second suspect was wearing a black sweatshirt and black pants and was carrying a light-colored backpack with blue straps. The third suspect was wearing a black sweatshirt, gray or white sweatpants and black and white shoes.

In Henrico, police responded to a call around 11:20 p.m. at Cross Tactical Supply at 375 E. Williamsburg Road. The front door of the business had been kicked in. Police say inventory is still being assessed to see if anything was taken.

"They can't get anything out of this store, the safes are secure and they put everything in the safe," said Rick Faulcner, a frequent customer.

The Hanover Sheriff’s Office says Hopkins Gun and Tackle at 8151 Mechanicsville Turnpike was broken into overnight. Owners arrived around 7 a.m. Tuesday to find their store ransacked. They were taking inventory to access if anything was taken.

"It's a very strange coincidence," said Vance Hopkins, CEO of Hopkins Guns and Tackle. "It's an unusual thing knowing how far they had to go to get the guns and to get back out, but I think they left enough clues to go ahead and catch them."ATF and NSSF are offering a $5000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.  Call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confidential tip line at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or email ATFTips@atf.gov.

Eugene Volokh on Yesterday's Pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court Decision

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Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that reversed and sent back to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts a decision dealing with the use of a stun gun for self-defense.  As noted by Sebastian at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned, it was a relatively short decision that gives us a little hope that all may not be lost with the death of Scalia, at least in some cases.  This morning, blogger Eugene Volokh, who teaches free speech law and other law courses at UCLA School of Law, wrote about the decision and offered a few thoughts.  On the subject of whether this unanimous decision signals a change in the way the full court views Heller and McDonald:
This is a unanimous decision, unlike the court’s earlier Second Amendment cases — D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago — which were 5-4. I doubt that Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, who were in the dissent in McDonald, are reconciled to those cases; I suspect they would be willing to overrule them if they had five votes to do so. But in this case, they were willing to accept them as given.This case was decided without oral argument.  Volokh noted that whether the stun gun ban may still be justified is a more complicated question, and that a number of the justices may hesitate to resolve that question without oral arguments.  He also suggested those justices might have thought there’s no need to devote such resources to the case now, since the matter might go away if the Massachusetts high court on remand holds in Caetano’s favor.

Volokh went on to talk about Thomas and Alito's concurring opinion and it bears noting that in the Massachusetts decision, the court said if Caetano (the defendant) had wanted a weapon for self-defense, she should have purchased a firearm (not necessarily an easy task in Massachusetts).  Thomas reasoned that thinking is a threat to the fundamental right of self-defense for the following reason:
The reasoning of the Massachusetts court poses a grave threat to the fundamental right of self-defense. The Supreme Judicial Court suggested that Caetano could have simply gotten a firearm to defend herself. But the right to bear other weapons is “no answer” to a ban on the possession of protected arms. Moreover, a weapon is an effective means of self-defense only if one is prepared to use it, and it is presumptuous to tell Caetano she should have been ready to shoot the father of her two young children if she wanted to protect herself. Courts should not be in the business of demanding that citizens use more force for self-defense than they are comfortable wielding.

Countless people may have reservations about using deadly force, whether for moral, religious, or emotional reasons — or simply out of fear of killing the wrong person. “Self-defense,” however, “is a basic right.” I am not prepared to say that a State may force an individual to choose between exercising that right and following her conscience, at least where both can be accommodated by a weapon already in widespread use across the Nation.No doubt given a fifth vote to overturn Heller and McDonald, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor, all of which voted in the minority on both case, would vote to do so.  But we should take victories when we can get them and this decision is a good one for the right to self-defense.

The Trace: Is Merrick Garland Anti-Gun

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This morning, Bloomberg's anti-gun mouthpiece The Trace asks the "Is Merrick Garland Anti-Gun" then sets out to tell us that everything that we heard from pro-rights groups after President Obama announced his new Supreme Court pick doesn't really mean anything:
This critique, foreshadowed by gun rights proponents over the past few weeks as Garland’s name surfaced as a possible candidate to replace Antonin Scalia, is largely premised on a procedural vote Garland made in a 2007 case that centered on whether Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban was unconstitutional.

But those who denounce Garland in the name of gun rights might be misreading that 2007 vote, which was in favor of allowing more judges on his court to review a decision made by a three-judge panel, says Joseph Blocher, a constitutional law professor at Duke University.

Rather than definitive evidence that Garland would like to curtail gun rights, the vote may simply be an indication that he is a jurist who is especially deferential to rulings made by previous courts, Blocher says.

“It is impossible to tell” what Garland meant by voting for rehearing, Blocher tells The Trace. “It may well be that he just wanted the whole court to weigh in on such a major decision. That would not be particularly unusual.”
With all due respect to Professor Blocher, I'll take VSSA Life Member Steve Halbrook and  Dave Kopel's insight on the issue. Halbrook appeared on NRANews yesterday to discuss the nomination.
Kopel wrote back in 2008 in America's First Freedom:
Merrick Garland is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He could be counted on not only to oppose Second Amendment rights in general, but even to nullify explicit congressional statutes that protect those rights.

In 2007, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit ruled against the D.C. handgun ban in the case of Parker v. District of Columbia (which was the name of the case that eventually became District of Columbia v. Heller when it went before the Supreme Court). The D.C. government asked for a rehearing of the case, before all 10 judges of the D.C. Circuit.

Six judges voted not to rehear the case, while four judges voted for a rehearing, presumably because they disagreed with the three-judge panel that had ruled against the handgun ban. Garland was one of the four judges who wanted a chance to validate the handgun ban.

In 2000, Garland was on a three-judge panel that heard the case of NRA v. Reno. In that case, the Janet Reno Department of Justice had flouted the congressional statutes that prohibit the federal government from compiling a registration list of gun owners, and which required the destruction of national instant check (NICS) records of lawful, approved gun purchases.

Judge Garland voted to let Reno get away with it. He said that registering all the people who were approved by NICS was permissible because Reno was not registering every gun owner in the country. And he said it was fine for Reno to keep gun buyer records for six months because although Congress had said the records must be destroyed, it did not say “immediately.”It is expected that Virginia's Senators Warner and Kaine will stay in lock step with Obama on this nominee but it won't hurt for gun owners to register their opposition and point out the above as reasons that anyone who claims to support the 2nd Amendment, as both Warner and Kaine do, should oppose Garland for the Supreme Court.

Hat tip to Shall Not Be Questioned.

Virginian Ginny Thrasher Sweeps NCAA Rifle Championships

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West Virginia University freshman and West Springfield High School alum Ginny Thrasher won both smallbore and air rifle, only the second WVU athlete to win both individual honors, at the recent national championships in Akron, Ohio. Thrasher's shooting led the Mountaineers to an unprecedented 18th national rifle championship and their fourth in a row.  The Exponent Telegram likened her performance to winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, or winning the NCAA 100- and 200-meter dashes as a freshman.  The paper noted if she was a basketball star and not a rifle athlete she would be looking over a multi-million dollar offer from the NBA.

Thrasher is a self-described "army brat" who was born in New York but lived around the world.  She spent her high school years at West Springfield High School in Springfield, VA where she the rifle team's captain for three years and a four-time MVP.  She placed third at the 2014 Junior Olympics Championships in the women’s 50m smallbore, and finished sixth in the women’s 50m smallbore at the 2015 Spring World Cup Selection.  Thrasher also earned five medals, two in open categories and three in junior competitions, at the 2015 USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol, securing U.S. National Team status and her haul at the 2015 USA Shooting National Championships included a Gold medal in the junior’s 50m 3 positions rifle (1171), a second-place finish (836.8) in the open women’s 10m air rifle and a third-place finish (1238.7) in the open women’s 50m rifle prone with the prone score securing her the junior championship title.

Besides shooting for her high school team, Ginny also was a member of the very successful Acorns Optimist Rifle Club in Northern, Virginia.  Talking to the Exponent Telegram about her first NCAA Championship experience she said:

“The seniors have been very good through this whole year, making sure I could trust them and they could trust me. I feel like over this week we bonded a lot,” she said. “They told me everything I did so far was enough. I didn’t need to win. I just needed to shoot the way I can shot.”

Thrasher was interviewed by NRANews.com's Cam Edwards about her performance and told him she did not take up shooting until her grandfather took her hunting in the eight grade.
It must be in her blood because she has come a long ways in a very short time.  Congratulations to Ginny and VSSA wishes her all the best as she continues her shooting career.

2016 General Assembly Wrap-up

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The Virginia General Assembly adjourned it's 2016 Session a day early on Friday, March 11. The big success of the session came on February 26 when Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law legislation to address Attorney General Mark Herring’s cancellation of concealed carry reciprocity/recognition agreements with 25 states. House Bill 1163 and Senate Bill 610, patroned by Delegate Michael Webert and state Senator Bryce Reeves, will recognize all valid out-of-state concealed carry permits. This legislation also expands Virginia's reciprocity with other states by requiring the Virginia State Police to enter into reciprocal agreements with certain states so they will recognize Virginia’s concealed carry permit. This new law will go into effect on July 1, 2016.  In  the meantime, the State Police have updated their web site to reflect that agreements in place before December 22nd are still in effect.

Last week, the Governor’s amendment in the nature of a substitute to Senate Bill 626 and House Bill 766 was rejected and the bills were sent back to the Governor’s desk for his final consideration.   The Governor’s recommendations would have completely negated the intended purpose of the bills and turned the bills into domestic predator protection bills. Patroned by state Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel and Delegate Todd Gilbert, SB 626 /HB 766 would allow the petitioner of a protective order to temporarily carry a concealed handgun without a permit, giving them immediate self-defense options while waiting for their CHP to be approved.  McAuliffe's substitute would have required the petitioner to have already applied for the CHP before the protective order was issued (basically knowing ahead of time they were going to be in need of a protective order), required that they had already completed the required training (which by the way could not be an online course as other applicants can use), and would allow a judge to deny the use of the protective order as a temporary permit.  Senate Bill 626 and House Bill 766 are now heading back to the Governor’s desk in their original form.  He can either sign them or veto the bills.  Please contact the Governor and urge him to sign HB766 and SB626.

House Bill 1096 and House Bill 382 also head to the Governor’s desk for his consideration. HB 1096 patroned by Delegate Michael Webert would prohibit any state entity from adopting or enforcing any rule, regulation, policy, or administrative action governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combinations thereof unless expressly authorized by statute. The bill invalidates any such rule, regulation, policy, or administrative action adopted by a state entity prior to July 1, 2016.  HB 382 patroned by Delegate Buddy Fowler would prohibit state agencies other than the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Virginia Port Authority and institutions of higher education, from adopting any regulation or workplace rule preventing officers or employees of such agencies from storing a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle at their workplace unless the adoption of the regulation is expressly authorized by statute. The bill also provides that any such regulation or rule adopted prior to July 1, 2016, is invalid.

I had the opportunity to speak with Cam Edwards of NRANews earlier this week about the session.


Thank you to the VSSA members and other readers of this blog who contacted their lawmakers this session, especially on SB626 and HB766 last week.  We would also like to thank VSSA members who answered our fundraising request  to support the War Chest at the start of the session.  Your generous support allowed us to raise all of the funds necessary to pay our legislative lobbying bill this session.  Whether you contributed $5.00 or $500, your support is greatly appreciated and VSSA thanks you. You can continue to check the Legislative Tracking Form on the VSSA web site to monitor whether the Governor has signed, amended, or vetoed the bills now before him and this blog will continue to keep you informed of all legislation.  Know that as Virginia's oldest gun rights organization, VSSA will continue to fight for your Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia!

General Assembly Rejects McAuliffe's Changes to Victim Protection Bills

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Earlier this week, Governor Terry McAuliffe sent substitute bills as amendments to HB766 and SB626.  These companion bills would have turned a protective order into a temporary concealed handgun permit (CHP) until the victim was able to secure a permanent permit.  McAuliffe's substitute bills turned these bills from a victim protection bill to a predator protection bill by allowing judges to arbitrarily deny the temporary permit, requiring the victim to have already applied for a CHP before the protection order was requested, basically making the victim have to know ahead of time that they are going to need a protective order and thus apply for the CHP in anticipation of the violence against them, and requiring the victim to have already completed the firearms training needed to get a CHP, but prohibiting the use of the online option that other CHP applicants can currently use.

Today, the State Senate rejected the Governor's substitute on a vote of 11-29 but fell six votes short passing the bill in it's enrolled version, meaning that had they done so, the Governor would have had no further options to stop the bill from becoming law.  Several Democrats changed their vote from when the bill originally passed as the bill originally passed with a veto proof margin.

The House of Delegates however not only rejected the Governor's substitute 28-71 then went on to pass the bill in it's enrolled form on a vote of 66-33.  Unfortunately, when the bill got to the Senate, it met the same fate as the Senate bill, falling six votes short of the 2/3 majority needed to pass. The actions are now communicated back to the Governor.

DGIF Hosting Archery in Schools State Championship on Saturday

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From the DGIF Outdoor Report:


VDGIF is conducting the 8th Annual National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament on Saturday March 12, 2016 at Meadow Event Park, the new State Fairgrounds near Doswell. This tournament is the “culminating event” for Virginia schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Last year, more than 237,000 Virginia students at more than 750 schools participated in archery instruction during their PE classes throughout the school year. The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes student education and participation in archery. The program’s focus is designed to teach International style target archery in 4th through 12th grades as part of the in-school curriculum. Before presenting archery instruction to their students at school, teachers must successfully complete an 8-hour instructor certification training program referred to as BAI, Basic Archery Instructor. Certification is conducted by VDGIF Outdoor Education staff and VDGIF-certified volunteers. Currently over 750 schools, and 1950 teachers have been trained.

For more detailed information, visit the Department’s website. For more information and to get your school and teachers involved in NASP, contact VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia State NASP Coordinator Karen Holson at (804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov. Also, be sure to check out the NASP video and Virginia Wildlife feature article!

Governor McAuliffe Playing Games with Bill to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

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HB 766, and SB 626, bills that would effectively make a protective order a temporary concealed handgun permit (CHP), covering the person being protected by the order while waiting for their CHP application to be processed and their permanent CHP to be issued.  Both bills passed the House and Senate.  During consideration of the bills in committee, both the gun ban lobby and groups representing domestic-violence survivors said women would not be capable of defending themselves with a firearm in an emergency.  Apparently, they shared the same views with Governor McAuliffe because instead of signing the bills, he has sent down a substitute bill for consideration that neuters the bill’s intent of allowing a victim to immediately begin to carry a concealed handgun for protection.

The Governor’s substitute does the following:

1.  Allows judges to arbitrarily deny the temporary permit. 
2.  Requires the victim to have already applied for a CHP before the protection order was requested, basically making the victim have to know ahead of time that they are going to need a protective order and thus apply for the CHP in anticipation of the violence against them.
3.  Requires the victim to have already completed the firearms training needed to get a CHP, but prohibits the use of the online option that other CHP applicants can currently use.

The original bills passed with veto proof margins in both houses.  The bills are now on the calendar for consideration by both the House and Senate and both were passed by for the day today.  Contact your delegate and state senator today and urge them to defeat Govornor McAuliffe's substitute.

Washington Post Follow-up Story on NOVA Armory vs. NoVA Gun Ban Legislators

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The Washington Post has this piece that gives another side to the battle between a new gun shop and seven northern Virginia legislators seek to create gun shop free zones.  You may recall last week this blog shared the story of seven gun ban legislators trying to bully the landlord of a new gun shop trying to get the landlord to not rent to Dennis R. Pratte, owner of NOVA Armory.  The new story features a photo of the owner's daughter Lauren, which her dad calls the "owner in training," and gives his response to the letter and the neighborhood activists:
“The actions of these local crazies against our business is approaching the level of ‘tortious interference,’ ” the news release quotes Lauren Pratte as saying. “If you’ve posted on Facebook, agitated people on the local community’s online forum, made harassing phone calls, or sent angry emails designed to interfere with our business relationship with our landlord, you are on my attorneys’ list. So if you don’t see NOVA Armory open for business, you better worry about seeing us in court.”Pratte is the former owner of NOVA Firearms, which was embroiled in its own battle last year, and My Gun Factory in McLean which is now closed.  For their part, the agitators aren't happy with the possibility of being sued for trying to keep a legal business from opening.

According to the Post, it appears that unlike the other businesses in the location that NOVA Firearms was originally going to move its shop, the other tenants in the location that NOVA Armory plans to locate are keeping their powder dry in this fight so far.
Karen Taylor Soiles, a physical therapist who rents space in the same three-story commercial building where Nova Armory intends to open, said her landlord and most other tenants are avoiding discussion about the shop, although it’s the prime topic at every neighborhood gathering.VSSA will continue to monitor this and keep members informed as new developments occur.

State Senator Responsible for Concealed Carry Deal to Announce Run for Lt. Governor

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The presidential nominating process isn't even finished and already candidates are lining up for the 2017 Virginia statewide elections.  The latest is State Senator Bryce Reeves, the driving force behind the deal to reinstate reciprocity/recognition with the 25 states that Attorney General Mark Herring had planned to end. The Washington Post reports:
Reeves, a Spotsylvania small businessman, former Army Ranger and former Prince William County narcotics detective, plans to announce his bid early Monday evening at the Virginia War Memorial, with several members of the legislature by his side.

“Virginia deserves strong conservative leadership, and I plan to continue to bring just that to Richmond,” said Reeves, 49, in a statement. “I have proudly fought for all Virginians during my time in the Senate, whether it meant protecting their 2nd Amendment rights, standing up for the rights and proper treatment of our veterans and military families, or simply working to lower taxes and provide economic opportunity for everyday Virginians.” Reeves becomes the second GOP State Senator to announce a run for Lt. Governor.  Over the weekend, State Senator Jill Vogel told the Post she planned to run as well.

While Vogel has a pro-rights voting record, Reeves will likely garner a lot of support for his role in brokering the deal, resulting in the bills to be signed a couple weeks ahead of the end of the General Assembly session.  The nomination will be decided at a party convention in June of 2017.

General Assembly Votes to Override McAuliffe's Ban on Firearms in State Buildings

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On Monday, the State Senate approved HB 1096 with and amendment.  That bill would override Governor Terry McAuliffe's Executive Order 50 banning firearms in state buildings.  Yesterday, the House approved the amended version and the bill now heads to Governor McAuliffe.  The Virginian Pilot reports:
Del. Michael Webert’s bill, HB1096, would negate the order by invalidating any administrative action governing the carrying of firearms unless authorized by the legislature. The measure won final passage Wednesday in the House of Delegates and now goes to the governor for his signature.

Webert, R-Fauquier County, acknowledged after the vote that the legislation could be undone by a veto.Gun owners should contact the Governor's Office and urge him to sign HB1096.  Remind McAuliffe that in defending his agreement with the Republican leadership to override Attorney General Herring's out-of-state carry permit recognition action, acknowleded there is no proof that people carrying concealed firearms commit crime, much less in state buildings.

You can contact the Governor's office by clicking here.

Gun Ban Legislators Continue Fight Against Gun Retailers

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The Washington Post posted this report last night detailing the latest moves by seven state legislators in their war against firearms dealers.  Last year, NOVA Firearms wanted to move to a larger location since their business had outgrown their current location.  They found a location, had even begun to was renovate the space for their needs when the landlord caved to pressure from other tenants and the community and broke the lease.  NOVA Firearms found another location, but this one ended up being near a school.  This sparked new protests and several of the legislators representing the area introduced legislation to restrict firearm dealers within a certain distance from a school.  The bills failed to be approved by the respective House and Senate committees and died.

Now a different business, NOVA Armory wants to open in Arlington County and Delgates Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez, Richard Sullivan and Mark Levine along with Senators Barbara Favola, Janet Howell and Adam Ebbin have written a letter to the property owner decrying the opening of the business.
The letter recalls the years in the 1990s when Virginia was known as the “gun-running capital of the East Coast” and warns that Nova Armory, the business that aims to locate at 2300 N. Pershing Dr., is “already marketing aggressively” to residents of other states.

Last week, the Arlington County Board also decried the plans of Nova Armory to open what the store described as a “high-end” retailer of sporting and self-defense weapons. Residents of the Lyon Park neighborhood, across Route 50 from Joint Base Ft. Myer-Henderson Hall, have raised objections to its opening. The store will be across the street from a private preschool and day care center. The legislators think because the business is so close to Route 50 with easy access to Interstate 95 that this gives the potential for "nefarious and illegal activities." The letter echoes back to the so-called "iron pipeline" from Virginia to points north where criminals supposedly illegally pay Virginia residents to buy guns and create "black market to sell firearms for cash or drugs, or become a magnet for robbery as was recently the case in a firearms store in McLean, Virginia.”   But that appears to be cover for their anti-gun bigotry based on this line from the letter:
“The selling of firearms, while legal, does not reflect the Arlington community’s values,” the legislators said.The Post reports that some residents from the Lyon Park community where the store will be located have started a petition opposing Nova Armory, supposedly collecting more than 3,000 signatures so far. A petition supporting the business has topped 500 signatures.  One of those supporters told the Post:
“As an Arlington resident and homeowner, I welcome this new business to the County,” wrote petition-signer Dan Alban. “A lawful firearms retailer poses no particular danger to nearby residents or businesses, and baseless hysteria about the proximity of guns is an inadequate justification for prohibiting a legitimate business from operating in the County. Legitimate businesses and other organizations should not be prevented from opening because they are unpopular or controversial.”We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Study Indicates Programs Like NSSF's Project Childsafe Help Prevent Unintended Firearm Deaths

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

It is said that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then. So it also seems Bloomberg's mouthpiece, The Trace, stumbles across the truth now and then. The gun ban lobby's favorite online news source has this story about a new study indicating programs like NSSF's Project ChildSafe are effective, because, according to the study people were much more likely to comply when provided with a free device to secure their firearms. Project ChildSafe has distributed millions of free firearm locking devices since the early 2000s. The Trace notes:
To conduct the study, Rowhani-Rahbar and his colleagues Joseph Simonetti and Frederick Rivara combed through electronic databases for research on safe gun storage intervention methods. They focused exclusively on studies that used randomized or quasi-experimental trials — two of the most sound methods of conducting research — and ended up with seven studies that met their selection criteria. Six of the studies used safe storage programs that incorporated counseling on the risks of having unsecured guns in the home, and two of those also provided firearms owners with a free gun lock. One program studied provided whole gun cabinets to participants in rural Alaska, but no counseling — only instructions to lock household firearms in the cabinet and keep its key in a secure location.

The intervention programs that gave participants free storage devices were decidedly more effective. When subjects were given counseling and a cable lock, the share practicing safe storage increased by 9.7 percent. In the program where participants received a free gun cabinet, only 35 percent of the intervention group reported having unlocked guns in their homes in a follow-up report, compared to 89 percent of the control group. Among the programs that provided just counseling, only one produced a significant improvement in storage practices.

“If they didn’t actually give the device to participants — even if they provided a coupon or discount to buy a lock — the interventions didn’t work,” Rowhani-Rahbar says.Of course the article had to go back to that tired talking point that there is a "dearth of firearms research" something that has been debunked but overall the results of this study that the U.S. Department of Justice made a good decision when it awarded a grant to NSSF last year to support Project ChildSafe.

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