VGOF

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gun Ban Lobby Shifts Messaging to "Guns and Violence Against Women"

You've probably seen or heard that domestic violence is the new front in the gun control battle. First, it's not that new because they've been trying that approach in the Virginia General Assembly for several years.  And, a "summit" on "gun violence" at UVA last December suggested this as one approach to pass new restrictions on the rights of law abiding gun owners.   It may be more accurate to say that guns are the newest part of the left's "War on Women" meme. The release of a new ad by Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety targeting three GOP U.S. Senators topped many of the news reports.
Interestingly, three of the four women on ABC's The View, did not buy into the message in that ad.

And an enterprising YouTuber came up with their own version:
No big surprise, Virginia's junior U.S. Senator jumped on the "guns cause domestic violence" band wagon yesterday.

Maybe Everytown should talk to Nikki Turpeaux about the subject. Nikki is a victim of domestic violence and she made the decision that it would never happen to her again.

Hat tip to Bearing Arms.

Second Amendment Scholar Steve Halbrook Predicts D.C. Will Enact "May Issue" Statute

On Wednesday's NRANews Cam and Company on The Sportsman Channel, VSSA Life Member and Second Amendment Scholar Steve Halbrook talked about last weekend's ruling in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. (Palmer v. District of Columbia) that struck down the District’s ban on handgun carry outside of the home. On Tuesday, a 90-day stay was granted to allow the City Council to comply with the ruling or file an appeal. During the discussion, Halbrook predicts that D.C. would likely enact a "May Issue" permitting system given the fact that after Heller, the Council actually made it harder to register a firearm.
video

The Well Armed Woman

It's almost old news that women are the fastest growing segment of the gun owning community.  Recently, NRANews Cam and Company host Cam Edwards spoke with Carrie Lightfoot, the founder of The Well Armed Woman, a one-stop shop for firearm education, accessories, and networking for women who wish to carry. In the interview, Carrie talks about the continued growth of the organization, as well as the growth of women taking concealed carry courses and NRA “Refuse to Be A Victim” seminars. She reports that there have been over 100 local media stories about Well Armed Woman chapters around the country, all of them positive.   Take a look.
video

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gun Ban Researcher Daniel Webster: Lott's Scholarship Has Been Completely Discredited

With the weekend decision in Parker vs. District of Columbia, a lot is being written about concealed carry.  The Washington Post had a blog post yesterday titled More Guns, Less Crime? Not Exactly.  In the post, Emily Badger writes:
That prediction — Washington will be safer without the gun ban — stems from what's known as the "more guns, less crime" hypothesis. It argues that violent crime declines in places where more legal gun owners carry the weapons in public, both because those people are capable of self-defense, and because would-be criminals know they're out there. "More guns, less crime" has been an incredibly potent idea in local policy debates over gun laws. But is there evidence that it's true?  
The District, which is appealing the decision, isn't buying it.

The theory has largely been fueled by a deeply contested 1997 paper by economists John Lott and David Mustard, who concluded that "concealed handguns are the most cost-effective method of reducing crime thus far analyzed by economists." If states without concealed-carry laws had them back in 1992, Lott and Mustard calculated, that year they could have avoided hundreds of murders, thousands of rapes and tens of thousands of assaults.
In the next paragraph you get a sense of where that term "deeply contested" may have originated.  Badger went to Johns Hopkins University gun ban researcher Daniel Webster.  Webster was part of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy that held a "summit" at UVA at the end of last year.  Webster is currently involved in a project of the Police Executive Research Forum funded by the U.S. Department of Justice where he is studying a City of Sacramento ordinance requiring purchasers of ammunition in the city to sign a log and leave a fingerprint at the time of purchase and what impact it may have had on reducing crime.

Webster told Badger:
"John Lott’s research was in my opinion very instrumental over decades in having more states pass laws to make it easier to get permits to carry concealed loaded guns, and to lessen the barriers for those permit holders to take guns in ever more places, whether it's bars, or places of worship, or schools," says Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. "It’s all based upon Lott’s scholarship that has been completely discredited."
In fact, the very study that Webster sited to Badger as proof that Lott's research on concealed carry is flawed was itself challenged in the research paper, Trust But Verify: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy.  The Abstract to that paper notes:
In a recent article, Aneja, Donohue and Zhang claim that they are unable to replicate the regressions published by the National Research Council in Chapter 6 of Firearms and Violence. They conclude that the NRC regressions must have been based on bad data supplied by John Lott. The implication is that earlier studies that found that right-to-carry laws reduced crime were flawed because of bad data. However, we can replicate the NRC results with Lott’s original data and with the data set used by the NRC. The earlier studies are not flawed by bad data.
But even more important. Webster's quote in the blog post that "My opinion is that I think there’s greater evidence that they probably have had some harmful impact" just doesn't hold up when you look at the numbers.  For instance, between 2006 and 2012, the number of firearms sold in Virginia increased 101% while crime committed with a firearm decreased 28%. Firearm related crime has dropped in Virginia for four consecutive years.  A VCU criminal justice researcher put it this way:
“This appears to be additional evidence that more guns don’t necessarily lead to more crime,” said Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who specializes in research methods and criminology theory.
Those who question Lott's research usually are on the side of the argument that wants to place more restrictions on law abiding gun owners. So, why doesn't the media openly question the bias that a proponent of gun control may have in their research?

Democrat State Senate Candidate: I Don't Think You Ought to be Able to Sell Somebody an AR-15

Earlier this week, VSSA posted on it's Facebook Page that Democrat State Senate candidate Mike Hymes had made some comments related to his view of what gun owners should or should not be able to do.  Here is the audio:

In the event you had a hard time making out those comments, this is what Hymes said as posted on the Republican Party of Virginia web site:
"I don't think you ought to be able to sell somebody an AR-15, either. Because, law enforcement should have those kinds.  We've had to give our law enforcement in Tazewell County AR-15s because, you know, they go up a holler, some guy's got one. He's bought one. Virginia's gun laws are pretty doggone liberal."

"I do believe you ought to register handguns, we ought to have something. If they had not let that assault rifle ban drop, then that probably  wouldn't be a problem. So that's kinda where I am."
As of this writing, NRA-PVF has posted an "AQ" rating for Hymes for the special election set for August 19 to fill the vacant seat of former State Senator Phil Puckett (State Senate District 38).  That rating is based on responses on the candidate's questionnaire.  We have to presume he told the NRA that he is against gun control to get that rating. Clearly, the above comments would indicate otherwise. So, is Hymes trying to have it both ways?

If you live in Senate District 38, vote your rights.  On August 19th, vote for Ben Chafin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dave Kopel on the D.C. Carry Ruling

I've seen blog posts, Twitter posts, and news reports that make Saturday's ruling in Parker all roses for non D.C. residents when it comes to carrying handguns in the District.  Dave Kopel wrote this morning on the Volokh Conspiracy.  As usual he provides some thorough analysis but also adds some cautionary comments about the ruling:
Taking into account the summaries from the WaPo and from Fox31, it is clear that one should not read them as if they were legal codes. For example, the WaPo article indicates that non-residents “without felony records” can carry in D.C. It is possible that Chief Lanier said this, but it seems more likely that the D.C. Attorney advice which she transmitted to the D.C. Police was more restrictive than the article’s text would literally mean. Federal law (18 U.S.C. 922(g)) sets up 9 categories of persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms. A felony conviction is the best-known of the “prohibited persons” classes, but not the only one. It seems doubtful that the new D.C. order allows gun carrying by persons dishonorably discharged by the military, persons convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor against an intimate partner, and so on, who are prohibited by federal law from gun possession.
And Kopel notes other things to consider:
Nothing in the District Court’s opinion invalidates the D.C. ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds.  Nothing in the opinion addresses the numerous federal and D.C. laws which prohibit carry in a huge number of locations within the District–such as most federal buildings, lots of federal property, as well as schools and colleges. (The D.C. “school” ban even encompasses a school of cosmetology whose students are all adults.) Under a 2009 federal statute, National Parks must follow the arms-carrying policies of their host state. The National Park Service regulation implementing this statute includes the following exemption to a general ban on weapons in National Parks. “(h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.” 36 C.F.R. § 2.4. Thus, it might arguably be lawful to carry a concealed handgun at the Jefferson Memorial, if you have a handgun carry permit from your home state (or if you are a D.C. resident with a registered handgun).
The order provided to Metropolitan Police Officers by Chief Cathy Lanier can be found here.

Chicago Compensated Gun Confiscation Scheme Pays Dividends for Illinois Group

GunsSaveLife.com has the story here:
In 2012, Guns Save Life took up 65 clunkers to trade for perfectly good cash. Some of our guns were fire-damaged, others were just pre-1898 rust-ruined barreled-actions and some were literally held together with tape.  
We received $6240 that day for our collection of junk – including one starter pistol that wouldn’t fire a real bullet on the best day, but did gain us yet another $100 gift card.
The results:
We’ve been spending that money on ammunition for the nation’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting camp each year, held annually at Darnall’s Gun Works and Ranges in Bloomington, IL. This year was the 20th anniversary of the camp, and Guns Save Life spent the final $2000 of that Chicago money on ammo to teach 151 young people, ages roughly 9-16 how to safely handle guns over the four-day, three-night camp. 
I'd say that's putting Chicago's money to good use!

D.C. Sends Muddled Response to Gun Ruling

Having to scramble to respond to a Saturday ruling could cause muddled messages but one would think that after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Peruta earlier this year that the District of Columbia would have had a contingency plan in place in the event the ruling went against them.  But alas, that was not the case, and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier had to clarify her hastily prepared guidance she gave her officers over the weekend.  From Roll Call:
D.C. police have been ordered not to arrest people for carrying pistols and deadly weapons in public. Washingtonians can still face criminal charges for carrying unregistered firearms and ammunition, but the millions of people who visit the nation’s capital are exempt from those provisions under an order from Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. The chief’s guidance effectively put the District’s firearm regulations, at least for non-residents, on a par with the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country. D.C. police got additional guidance from Lanier on Monday afternoon. She clarified that the ruling applies only to handguns, not long guns or shotguns that are still illegal, and that committing crimes with handguns remains illegal.

For non-residents, legal possession of a handgun in D.C. is based on the laws of their home jurisdiction, meaning D.C. police will be responsible for knowing and enforcing licensing and permitting restrictions from around the country. Lanier noted that additional information on gun laws in other states will be forthcoming and said that in the meantime, officers can call a 24-hour information line.

Lanier’s orders came in response to Judge Frederick Scullin Jr.’s July 26 ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that D.C.’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. In the 19-page decision, Scullin wrote that he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism.

In her follow-up guidance to officers, Lanier nodded to the confusion. “Unfortunately, this ruling has left many unanswered legal questions that are currently being reviewed by the [Office of the Attorney General],” she stated.
This guidance could be short lived as the D.C. Attorney General has filed for a stay of the ruling, sighting the Madigan case from Illinois where the 7th Circuit stayed the ruling for 180 days.  This gave Illinois time to come up with a plan to issue permits.  It is unclear if D.C. wants the stay to appeal the case or to comply with it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

NRA Youth Education Summit Returns to Virginia

The NRA Virginia Youth Education Summit was held July 10th-13th and was another smashing success.  VSSA acts as the financial agent for the program using funds provided by the NRA Foundation.  This year 16 Virginia high school students traveled to Richmond to experience a little of Virginia government, a local shooting range and even toured the Federal Reserve Bank. 

Senior NRA Field Rep for Virginia David Wells, said credit to the success of the event goes to a team of volunteers  that planned, coordinated and chaperoned this event. The program is made possible through the proceeds of Friends of NRA events throughout Virginia.

Three participants earned scholarship money and all had a great time.  A full report on the weekend can be found here.

DC Carry Ruling Could Positively Impact Hill Staffer and Lobbyist Caught With Gun At Capitol

Roll Call reports that Saturday's ruling by Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. in Palmer v. District of Columbia could affect currently charges against a Hill staffer and lobbyist recent caught carrying a firearm at the U.S. Capitol. Neither were charged by Capitol Police but were turned over to Metropolitan PD to be charge for violating DC gun laws:
Charges against two men whom Capitol Police allegedly stopped from bringing 9 mm handguns to Capitol Hill could change, as attorneys scramble to interpret the effect of a federal judge overturning the District’s handgun ban. 
On July 26, Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. ruled in Palmer v. District of Columbia that D.C.’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. In the 19-page decision, Scullin wrote that he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism. 
D.C. police were subsequently instructed not to enforce the law against carrying pistols in public. In two separate incidents that are raising questions about campus security, Hill staffer Ryan Shucard and pork executive Ronald William Prestage were charged with violating that law when police uncovered handguns and magazines during administrative searches at the Cannon House Office building.  
The order not to enforce the law came from Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier on Sunday and is being implemented “until further notice,” according to her notice.
Likely stopped, at least for now, by the ruling from proceeding on charges related to violating DC city ordinances, federal prosecutors are considering charging both with violating the prohibition on possessing a firearm at the Capitol building or grounds.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Former N.J. Governor Jim Florio Offers Lame Response to Lott Op/Ed on Christie Magazine/Gun Ban Veto

Last weekend, the New Jersey Star-Ledger printed an Op/Ed by Dr. John Lott that logically explained why Governor Chris Christie's veto of a magazine/gun ban that was passed by the N.J. General Assembly during the 2014 session, was the right decision.  Today, former Governor Jim Florio, no friend of gun owners, took to the paper's editorial page to give an opposing view, and infers Lott is nothing but a shill for the NRA:
First, his book echoes the National Rifle Association’s executive director’s stated view that the answer to gun violence is more guns for everybody. Most people reject this Wild West attitude to law enforcement by shootouts. He offers the fact that there is no evidence to justify limits on magazine capacity.

Aside from the fact that the NRA has forced Congress into prohibiting gun violence research, by following his logic, there is no hard evidence that proposed limits don’t provide better protection. Common sense, however, dictates that when seconds count, a mass killer needs time to change magazines.
Note that Florio trots out the gun ban lobby's talking point about the lack of research.  But Lott has addressed that too:
Despite his widely publicized claim, no evidence has been provided that firearms research actually declined either after the Dickey Amendment to the Centers for Disease Control funding was passed in 1997 appropriations or restrictions were imposed on the National Institute of Health and other federal health agencies funding gun research. What Bloomberg measures is firearms research relative to all other research. And, indeed, after the 1996 restrictions on federal funding, firearms research in medical journals did fall as a percentage of all research but total research on firearms has increased over that time.

Florio goes on to endorse all the policies Obama trotted out last year, and throws in a ban on .50 rifles, even though no one can tell us when the last time a gang banger or your average run of-the-mill criminal used .50 rifle into a convenience store to commit a robbery.

Dr. Lott has in the past posted on his blog point by point responses to his critics.  I'm looking forward to him taking Florio's argument apart.

Roanoke Times Op/Ed: The Fault in Ourselves, Not Our Guns

A Virginia NRA member and hunter had this op/ed in today's Roanoke Times as a response to a previous letter to the editor.  The writer, Glenn Watson, pointed out what was wrong with the opinions laid out in that letter, then pointed out that while firearm sales have increased, crime has decreased.  He closed with:
People make choices their entire life and have to live with those choices and accept responsibility for their actions.
Kyle Scott, who teaches American politics and constitutional law at Duke University and the University of Houston,  referred to it as a lack of a moral compass.  Watson would probably agree.

Let me just add to the points Watson made related to gun sales, between 2006 and 2012, firearm sales in Virginia increased 101% while at the same time, crime dropped 28%.  And last year, murders were down in the City of Richmond to levels not seen in 30 yearsThe total for 2013 was 37.  Within the first four months of 1994, 60 murders had been committed.

While a number of factors lead to a reduction in crime, it is clear, that more guns do not equal more crime.

More Evidence the "40% of Gun Sales Don't Include a Background Check" Claim Is Untrue

The "40% of gun sales don't undergo background checks" claim gets even weaker thanks to this report out of Colorado.  Previously the Washington Post gave President Obama "Three Pinocchios" for making the claim.  Colorado used the number to justify a budget increase to pay for what they said would be an increase in background checks after they passed so-called "universal background checks" in 2013:
Gun-control advocates have long asserted that 40 percent of gun sales nationwide are made by private sellers and thus not subject to background checks. President Barack Obama cited the number last year, unsuccessfully urging Congress to pass a law mandating "universal background checks." 
But that figure, which Colorado legislative analysts and CBI officials say was the best available for the basis of their estimation calculus, comes from a 1997 National Institute of Justice report that gun-right's activists criticize as inaccurate. 
Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said that using the 40 percent figure as a basis for Colorado's projection "calls into question lawmakers' access to accurate information on not only this, but all firearms-related legislation."
That 1997 NIJ report was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. The questions concerned purchases dating as far back as 1991 which was before the Brady Act became law.  This means that some, if not many, of the firearm sales included in that study were bought in a pre-Brady environment.  But of course, the gun banners retreat to their time worn "if we only stop one person..."
"The bottom line," he said, "is even if one, or five, or 10, or 10,000 or 20,000 people are being blocked, that's less dangerous people walking around with guns."
Never mind that most criminals are going to buy their firearms legally to start with.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

August Events of Interest to Virginia Sportsmen

August is when various outdoor shows and events take place in Virginia that get hunters ready for the upcoming season.  Here are some of the more popular events via the VDGIF Outdoor Report:

The 31st Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building which will include a new air gun shooting range sponsored by Crossman, an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams, casting range for kids and much more. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Celebrity guests R.J. Molinere and Jay Paul Molinere - Swamp People on the History Channel, Kip Campbell, Host of Red Arrow TV and Fred Abbas Co-Host of TV's A-Way Outdoors will be featured at this year's show.

The Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend will be held at Holiday Lake August 22-24. This program open to ages 11-90+ offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have. Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include pistol, rifle, shotgun, skeet, trap and muzzleloading shooting, archery, survival, game processing, cooking, preserving your wild game harvest, and a variety of big and small game hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the VA Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. Registration is open until August 8, 2014 and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included); a discounted fee is available before August 1, 2014. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit www.holidaylake4h.com, call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail bbranch@vt.edu.​​​​

The Annual Farmville Outdoor Festival sponsored by Riverside Community Church is being held  Saturday, August 23 at the Five County Fairgrounds, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar from Quaker Boy Pro-Staff followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest and Appomattox River Kennels is sponsoring a Big Buck Contest.  This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!  For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Non-Resident Ensnared by D.C. Gun Laws

Roll Call reports that this time it is an agricultural lobbyist from South Carolina:
Capitol Police confiscated a 9mm Ruger handgun from the bag of Camden, S.C., resident Ronald William Prestage shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning at the Cannon House Office Building. Prestage, 59, was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a District of Columbia offense that carries up to five years in prison.
Are there really this many people that don't know about D.C.s gun laws and their propensity for make examples of anyone caught with a firearm inside the city?