Archive for December, 2008

The first anti-gun bill has been introduced for the 2009 session of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 832, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke, would allow localities to adopt ordinances that prohibit firearms, ammunition, or components or combinations in community or recreation centers, administrative buildings, or public libraries owned or operated by the locality during an official meeting of the governing body.

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Ken Blackwell has a great article over at National Review about Obama’s pick of Eric Holder as Attorney General. While many of Obama’s picks have been applauded, Blackwell points out that even the Washington Post has raised questions about Holder. You can find the article here.

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Gun owners have already been treated to the nomination of anti-gun Eric Holder as Obama’s pick for Attorney General.  Wh should be wary of who he may pick at Interior and EPA as well.

On Friday, December 12, Greg Lawson, Director of Communications for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance was on NRA News‘  Cam and Company.  Lawson talked to Cam Edwards about the speculation surrounding who will become President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Interior.  Lawson said two names have moved to the head of the pack: U.S. Representatives Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

Rep. Grijalva is a favorite of the anti-hunting crowd.  He received a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in each of the last six years.  In Defense of Animals, another large anti-hunting organization, issued an action alert to its followers asking supporters to contact the PResident-elect’s transition team and urge Rep. Grijalva’s appointment.  Additionally, the HSUS’ legislative arm has come out in support of Rep. Grijalva.  Of interest to gun owners, Grijalva was rated an “F” candidate by the NRA in 2008.

Rep. Thompson’s HSUS approval rating last year was 58 percent.  Thompson is a sportsman, a member of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus, and was endorsed by the NRA-PVF in 2008, receiving a rating of “B+”.  The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance signed a letter, along with other conservation organizations, encouraging his consideration by the new administration.

While many of the daily issues that affect sportsmen are dealt with at the state government level, the Secretary of the Interior wields great influence, overseeing key conservation agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Interested sportsmen are encouraged to contact the Obama transition team and let them know their thoughts on this nomination.  You can contact the head of the team, John Podesta, by faxing 202-682-1867 or emailing John.Podesta@ptt.gov.  You can also click here and send your comments directly to the transition team web site.

Over at EPA, Lisa Jackson’s name has surfaced as a possible nominee to head EPA.  Jackson played a pivotal roll in New Jersey’s cancellation of its balck bear hunting season.  As head of EPA she could do the bidding of the anti-hunting groups by setting rules related to the use of lead ammunition – rules that could be detrimental to hunters and shooters.  She could also play a role in reducing access to public land for hunting.  While the Interior Department has over site of federal lands, the EPA could use environmental concerns as a means of trying to restrict use of those lands.

Sportsmen and gun owners need to remain vigliant.  If Obama appoints individuals with verifiable anti-hunting records, it will be one more sign that Obama’s rhetoric on the campaign trail was meant to divert attention form his real record on issues important to gun owners and sportsmen.

Update: The Campaign Spot is reporting that Obama has chosen Colorado Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior.  In 2004, Salazar received a “D” rating from the NRA-PVF but he has been no friend of HSUS.  According to Project Vote Smart, his ratings from HSUS have been no better than 50% and have mostly been 0-25% support for HSUS legislation.

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Today is Bill of Rights Day – the day that the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution were approved. What better day for the Second Amendment Book Bomb. Please join me in helping Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA) Life Member, Stephen Halbrook, push his new book “The Founders Second Amendment” ahead in the rankings for Amazon, in order to promote the Second Amendment. If you don’t have a copy already, I highly recommend getting one for yourself and a friend. If you already have a copy, it makes a Christmas Gift. Click on the link above for more information.

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Spotsylvania County Repeals Fingerprinting Requirement for CHP Applicants
On a unanimous vote last night, the Spotyslvania County Board of Supervisors voted to repeal the requirement that concealed carry permit applicants be fingerprinted.  This was sold by the Board staff as a cost saving measure and as localities struggle with balancing their budgets in an economic downturn, more localities may see the value in doing away with the fingerprinting requirement.  This is an opportunity for gun owners to contact their local governing board and suggest that the locality could save money be eliminating the fingerprinting requirement if they have such a requirement (not all localities do).
Virginia Crime Commission Delays Vote on Gun Show Loophole Legislation
The Virginia Crime Commission met yesterday and heard testimony on possible legislation to address the so-called “Gun Show Loophole” but put off a vote on recommending legislation until January 13th.  At the meeting both pro-rights and anti-rights citizens spoke, with many on the anti-rights side being family members of victims or survivors of the Virginia Tech shootings.  The press covered this heavily yesterday and articles about the meeting are plentiful.  The Virginian Pilot reported that during a break, Senator Ken Stolle, vice chair of the commission said that the commission would probably approve a strict background-check  requirement at gun shows, but to  survive, the recommendation would need majority support from members of  both parties on the commission.  Stolle said “That’s not going to happen.”   The Pilot reports that Delegate Dave Albo, the commission chairman, and Stolle both floated the idea of having a state trooper stationed at each gun show with a computer available to conduct  voluntary background checks for private gun purchases. A State Police  representative said that could be done if it’s funded and Stolle said that proposal could likely get majority support on the commission. 
So, at a time when the state budget faces a shortfall of $2.3 billion, we are going to pay a State Trooper overtime (because that’s what it would be – an off duty trooper in uniform getting paid overtime) to sit at a gun show and see if anyone comes up wanting him to conduct a background check.  I understand Senator Stolle wanting to offer something in the hope that we can finally stop seeing these gun show bills every session but this proposal is not going to please the anti-rights side because it is not mandatory and if it were to pass, it gives Governor Kaine a vehicle to make it mandatory with an amendment or sending down a substitute bill that would not go to committee but would hit the floor for an up or down vote.
Gun owners need to make it known between now and January 13th when the commission meets again that there is no need for gun show legislation.  Key on the pro-rights members of the commission – Delegate Terry G. Kilgore, Delegate Beverly J. Sherwood, Senator Kenneth W. Stolle, Delegate Robert B. Bell and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and urge them to oppose any recommendation from the commission that would impose background checks for private sales at gun shows.  Also ask them to oppose any proposal that would commit taxpayer funds in these tight budget times to pay for a state trooper at gun shows for voluntary background checks when there is no evidence it would be a wise use of taxpayer money.  It is very likely the trooper would spend the entire weekend twiddling his thumbs.

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I will be on NRANews‘ Cam & Company tonight to talk about the Virginia Crime Commission gun show legislation and the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors’ recommendation to repeal the fingerprinting requirement for concealed handgun permit applicants. You can also hear me on the NRANews Daily News with Ginny Simone at 5:00 PM this afternoon.

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According to an AFP report, Barack Obama said yesterday during a press conference that gun owners have no reason to stock up on guns.

“I believe in common sense gun safety law, and I believe in the second amendment. And so, lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I’ve said that throughout the campaign. I haven’t indicated anything different during the transition, and I think that people can take me at my word.”

Obama always adds he has no intention of  “taking away folks’ guns.”  True enough. But he has made statements that make it very clear he plans to make it as hard as possible, or in some cases impossible, to get certain types of guns. I think actions speak much louder than words and given Obama’s past record, and the fact that he has announced a very anti-gun nominee for Attorney General, gun owners should be very wary.

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Jim Shepherd writes in today’s Shooting Wire that one of the consequences of the run on tactical rifles is that some of the distributors that service gun retailers end up competing with the folks they are supposed to be servicing. Shepherd writes:
More than one dealer is complaining that one distributor is not only raising prices to dealers, they’re selling that same inventory direct to consumers – for the same price. …As one former dealer told me, “it’s always been up to the dealer to make his own money, a distributor can sell to anyone they please as long as the transaction is completed through an FFL.” But, he confided, he wouldn’t bet on the distributor winning any friends in the dealer ranks.  Some call it an example of supply and demand; others say it’s no different than the “entrepreneurs” who snapped up all the available plywood in their areas and trucked it to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. There, they sold that plywood to disaster victims – at astronomical markups.

You can read all of Shepherd’s article here.

Uncertainty is driving gun sales – uncertainty about the economy and political uncertainty. But on the political side, Obama can’t do anything the day he takes office and the legislative process means that it will be weeks, if not months before any potential gun control bill comes up for a vote. So for now, as demand for these firearms continue to outpace manufacturing capacity, patience should be the word of the day.

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Posting has been light.  I was on a family vacation last week and I am just catching up.  I found some updated information on the Hunting with Hounds issue over on Andy Thompson’s RTD Outdoor Blog.  Based on Andy’s post, DGIF is “in the middle of the regulatory process” and will be working with the General Assembly Sportsman’s Caucus on any changes to Virginia’s “Right to Retrieve” law.  You can find more information here.

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