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Obama's Shifting of Federal Courts to Left Will Impact Gun Rights for Years

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Lawyer and blogger Dave Hardy had this post at Arms and the Law sharing a Reuters article about the massive shift in the make up of the federal circuit court districts.  In 2009, only the 9th Circuit was predominantly made up of Democratic appointees with the 2nd Circuit split 50-50.  Today, less than half (the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th) are majority Republican appointees.  Hardy notes that both the Democrat and Republican circuits have massive imbalances in appointees:
...What's also interesting in both Repub dominated and Demo dominated circuits, the proportions tend to be overwhelming, 66-33% or more.While some say Obama's overreach on environmental issues is his crowing achievement, it is his imprint on the federal courts that will haunt gun owners likely for a generation.  Much of what we have regained of our Second Amendment rights have been won in select cases in the federal courts.  This could be much harder to do going forward, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November.

Hat tip Sebastian at Shall Not be Questioned.

Looks Like Massachusetts AG Did Not Learn Lesson From Mark Herring's Mistake

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The Boston Globe has the story here:
Attorney General Maura Healey’s controversial assault weapons crackdown has become yet another political land mine threatening the Bay State’s already shaken Democratic Party as it seeks to mount a serious 2018 challenger against Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

In deeply blue Massachusetts, the Democratic Party is turning into its own worst enemy.

“There are a lot of Democrats who aren’t happy with her decision, but they don’t want to come out against one of the party leaders,” said state Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), one of 58 lawmakers who signed onto a letter opposing Healey’s ban.You will recall that last December, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring had a major blunder when he summarily ended reciprocity/recognition agreements with 25 states.  That move was so unpopular that when the General Assembly convened Governor McAuliffe read the tea leaves and saw he would be overridden if he vetoed bipartisan bills that were winding their way through both houses of the legislature.  McAuliffe decided to throw Herring under the bus and worked out a deal that allowed him to tell gun ban groups he got something in return (they did not really buy his spin).  Maybe Healy should have paid more attention to what happened in Virginia.

Hat tip to Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned.

Gun Ownership Increases Among Seniors, Women, Minorities

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This week, two articles, one in the Kansas City Star and one on the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal Blog continue to show gun ownership among three specific groups are on the increase. First, from the Kansas City Star:
People 65 and older make up one of the most solidly growing demographics for the firearms industry. They’re acquiring guns and getting training — for recreational target practice and a perceived need for self-protection.

The National Rifle Association reports a fourfold jump since 2010 in the number of older Americans taking basic firearms training courses taught by certified NRA instructors. That is greater than the 265 percent increase in all demographics taking firearms training during the same period.

That helped push the overall number of Americans participating in target shooting from 34.4 million in 2009 to 40.8 million in 2012, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The increase is not only seniors. The number of women of all ages who target shoot has jumped nearly 57 percent since 2006. Target shooters also increasingly are people who live in cities or suburbs. The Daily Signal has a similar report:
She added that in recent years, an increasingly diverse group of women has sought to learn about guns for the first time. They include single mothers and married women, from 22 to 82, in occupations such as nurses, small-business owners, social workers, accountants, and lawyers. They travel from Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, as well as other parts of Massachusetts.

Roberts also sees a potential political shift.

“Women are voting typically on the Democratic side because over the last two or three generations self-defense and firearms were demonized,” she said. “Women were told they can’t take care of themselves. That’s changing.”These trends appear to be verified by a new Pew Research survey showing that 44% of American households have at least one firearm.

Delegate Michael Webert to Speak at VSSA Annual Meeting

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Delegate Michael Webert will be the guest speaker at the 2016 VSSA Annual Meeting on September 17 at the Arlington-Fairfax IWLA.  Delegate Webert's district includes Fauquier, Warren, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties.  His day job is a farmer who runs a family farming operation on roughly 3500 acres of owned and rented land.  During the 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly, Delegate Webert sponsored House Bill 1163, one of three bills that was part of an agreement with Governor Terry McAuliffe to overturn Attorney General Mark Herring's December action ending concealed carry reciprocity and recognition agreements with 25 states.  HB1163 requires the State Police Superintendent to enter into reciprocal arrangements with states that require the mutual recognition of concealed carry permits within 60 days of it’s enactment. The legislation also prohibits the recognition of an out of state permit if an individual’s Virginia permit has been revoked.

Also during the 2016 General Assembly, Delegate Webert sponsored and the Governor signed HB206. HB206 repeals the requirement that a Virginia resident present a secondary form of government issued identification to purchase a firearm. Under the new law, an individual would be required to provide only a single form of ID issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense that indicates Virginia residency.

You can find more information about the 2016 VSSA Annual Meeting, as well as download a dinner reservation form and additional raffle tickets for the 2016 Annual Raffle at  https://www.myvssa.org/vssaam.  This year's first prize is the Smith & Wesson M&P® 9mm SHIELD™ with Crimson Trace® Green Laserguard®.

Gun Owners Speak Out Against McAuliffe State Building Gun Ban

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The Virginia Department of General Services held a public hearing today on making Governor Terry McAuliffe's Executive Order banning concealed carry in state owned buildings permanent.  According to the Associated Press, gun owners turned out to make their voice heard against a permanent ban:
“Gun-free zones are a magnet to people who want to do harm; they are a magnet to terrorists,” said Vicki Lindsey from Chesterfield, echoing similar comments made by several other advocates.McAuliffe issued the emergency executive order last year without any proof that gun owners carrying concealed in state buildings had ever been a threat to state employees or the public doing business in the buildings.

If you were unable to attend the hearing, you can make your voice heard by submitting written comments on the Virginia Town Hall regulatory website at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2905. The full text of the proposed regulation can also be found at that link.

Why Should You Vote Your Guns in 2016?

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That's the question contributor Kevin Creighton answers in this post on the Ricochet blog:
Voting guns means you reject the idea that only the people whom the government trusts should be armed. It means you understand that protecting what matters to you most is your job, not the government’s. It means you understand that no matter how efficient a police state is, bad things are going to happen to good people. Moreover, it means understanding that if a politician does not support that basic right of individual self-defense, they do not support the other individual rights either.

The Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms is a litmus test about how a candidate feels about the role government should play in your life. It’s not about “allowing” you to hunt or shoot competitions, it’s about not relying on government to define how you and your loved ones will be protected from the evil that is in this world. Voting guns is voting for your life and the lives of your loved ones.Creighton reminds the reader in the lead-up to his conclusion, using links to her own statements, that Hillary Clinton does not believe Americans should not be able to own semiautomatic rifles, that the Australian-model of gun control is something "worth looking at", that the right to keep and bear arms is something that only belongs to the government, and that she believes the "Supreme Court got DC v. Heller wrong."  Additionally, Clinton believes people do not have the right to defend themselves and their family with a firearm.

Stopping Hillary Clinton should be what this election is about for gun owners.  Get involved today.  NRA-ILA has two campaign field representatives in Virginia, one in the Richmond area and one in Roanoke.  Their contact information is below.

Patrick DeStefano, Roanoke, VA 864-680-0399 patrick@nrailafrontlines.com
Joe Vrecheck, Richmond, VA (817) 729-8365 joseph@nrailafrontlines.com

CNN Op/Ed Writer Says Best Way for Trump to Show he Cares About Protecting Blacks From "Gun Violence" is to Support Gun Control

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Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, and host of SiriusXM's radio's daily program "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast has an Op/Ed at CNN taking Donald Trump to task for saying he is concerned about keeping blacks safe from "gun violence" but doesn't support gun control, which Obeidallah says is the best way to protect them from that fate:
Donald Trump recently began saying he's concerned with keeping African Americans safe from gun violence.

But it's hard to believe he's sincere given that Trump refuses to support the very prescription to do that: Gun safety laws. And unless he talks gun safety measures, it would appear the pundits are correct that Trump's true goal is not to help the black community but rather to persuade white voters uncomfortable with Trump's history of bigotry that he's not a racist.Obeidallah doesn't stop there,  he ticks off the gun ban lobby's favorite list of proposals that are the only way in his opinion to stop blacks from being the victims of crime involving firearms:
First, Trump should publicly support universal background checks to close what has been called the "gun show loophole." The result will be that private gun dealers -- like their federally licensed counterparts -- will be required to do background checks to ensure that criminals, terrorists and those with certain mental conditions are precluded from legally buying guns. Recent studies show that these types of background checks "can significantly curb gun violence."

Second, Trump should declare his support for proposed legislation drafted by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress that would "make firearm trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for "straw purchasers" who buy guns for convicted felons and others who are prohibited from buying guns on their own." This, too, could save lives by making it more challenging for criminals to have access to guns.

Trump should also support closing down what are known as "bad apple gun dealers." Shockingly, 90% of the guns used in homicides in the US can be tied to 5% of the gun dealers, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. But astoundingly, the NRA has fought efforts to crack down on these unethical gun dealers.

And if Trump is sincere, he won't respond by serving up the same tired and baseless NRA talking points that Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation so new gun laws won't work.I guess Obeidallah has never heard of people like Colion Noir, Rick Ector, Maj Toure, Antonia Okafor, or  Chip Eberhart, all of whom are black and who advocate for the right to keep and bear arms.  They know that gun control does not stop crime, it only makes the law abiding victims.

Public Hearing on McAuliffe Ban on Carry in State Buildings This Wednesday

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From WTVR CBS 6:
The public hearing will be held from 10 a.m. until noon on August 31, 2016, in the auditorium of the Pocahontas Building located at 900 E. Main Street, Richmond, Virginia. Seating and access will be provided on a first-come basis. Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearing must sign up at the event. Sign-up begins at 9 a.m., and speakers will be called in the order in which they signed up. There is no pre-registration. All speakers are limited to two minutes. All persons and bags are subject to search prior to entering the auditorium. No signage will be allowed.

Members of the public who attend but are not able to speak or who cannot attend the hearing can submit written comments on the Virginia Town Hall regulatory website at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2905. The full text of the proposed regulation can also be found at that link.McAuliffe's ban put into place by executive order can only become permanent if it is approved through the normal regulatory process. Now is the time to make your voice heard using the above link.

Wall Street Journal: Gun-Control Groups Reignite Debate by Crossing the Aisle in Senate Races

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It appears from this Wall Street Journal blog post that some in the gun ban lobby community don't like Gabby Giffords' group endorsing two Republicans, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey and Illinois' Mark Kirk, both of which are in tight re-election races this year:
“You can’t blame some of these groups for trying to show some bipartisanship by supporting Republicans, but I’m not convinced it’s ever worked,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) “It doesn’t change the fundamental dynamic: Republicans are still in control.”

But others argue that these groups are helping neutralize blowback Republicans could face when they buck powerful interest groups like the National Rifle Association.Some pundits look at the move as the group playing "long ball" thinking if supporting candidates that crossed gun owners help them win, it may encourage others to do the same and show there is no price to be paid for crossing gun owners.

While Giffords and Bloomberg are rewarding Toomey for betraying gun owners who worked hard for him six years ago, it looks like a local PA gun ban group is stabbing him in the back based on this report from Bitter at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned:
Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.

But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.It remains to be seen whether Toomey can convince gun owners in Pennsylvania that his opponent Katie McGinty will be more dangerous to their gun rights than he is given he has already double crossed them.  In a close election, gun owners sitting out his election could make the difference between winning and losing.

NRA's National Day of Action

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Second Amendment advocates will take to neighborhoods in Richmond this Saturday, August 27th, for the NRA's National Day of Action. Teams will be doing a neighborhood walk and informing the community about pro-gun candidates in the upcoming election. Volunteers will receive training, light refreshments, and free NRA swag! They will be meeting at 10am at the Dollar General parking lot, 7528 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Mechanicsville, Virginia.

In addition to the neighborhood walk, volunteers are needed to help at the Richmond Gun Show at the Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, August 27th, starting at 9am.  If you can help at any of these activities, contact Joey Vrechek, the Richmond area Campaign Field Representative.  You can contact Joey about the National Day of Action, or if you are interested in any other volunteer opportunity, at joseph@nrailafrontlines.com or (817) 729-8365.

NRA-ILA Fundraiser in Chesterfield September 29

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

Virginia NRA Field Representative David Wells has alerted VSSA to an event that will take place in Chesterfield County on September 29th.  The special Defend America event is a fundraiser for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action division.
 The list of speakers include VSSA Life Member and President of the National Rifle Association, Mr. Alan Cors.   This will be an entertaining evening in a relaxed casual BBQ setting, while raising much needed funds for the battles that lie ahead for our 2nd Amendment freedoms.
 You can download the RSVP card here that details the various giving levels.  There are premiums included for upper level tables.   Seats are limited, but if you have any interest in attending or need more information please contact David Wells at: Phone: 434-696-2189 officeemail: dwells@nrahq.org.   

Ultimate Training Munitions Available to the Public

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Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM) was founded in 2000 with a mission to provide a safe training ammunition that would allow military, law enforcement and professional training organizations to ‘train as they fight’ in immersive and authentic training environments and disciplines.  Through a partnership with NRA, Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM) is now proud to offer the safest and most accurate training ammunition on the market as an alternative to traditional live-fire ammunition. A technology once available to only Military and Law Enforcement trainers can now be yours by ordering Target Shooting products directly from UTM. Simply...
  • Convert your firearm in seconds
  • Load UTM ammunition
  • Safely train with more freedom
This past weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway, site of last weekend’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, NRANews host Cam Edwards had the opportunity to speak with Tony Lambraia of Ultimate Training Munitions. For attendees of the race, they converted firearms with UTM training kits to shoot non-lethal munitions. People shot Glocks and AR-15 rifles with interactive targets in a safe and comfortable environment. UTM training has been adopted by NRA training programs as a safe and reliable alternative to live ammunition. Lambraia explains the magic behind UTM training; this is what real firearms safety is all about.

Car Regulations vs Firearm Regulation

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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

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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

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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.


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