Virginia: "Our entire Bill of Rights has been under assault" - Granite Grok

Virginia: “Our entire Bill of Rights has been under assault”

Virginia Capitol Fence

 As a member of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Rick Goodman has led a grassroots effort in his county to have Prince William County established as a Constitutional County by resolution of the Board of Supervisors in late 2019. 

What an interesting couple of months it has been in Virginia on the 2nd Amendment front. Never has this state seen such a groundswell of grassroots support for any single issue than it has for the preservation of our 2nd Amendment and other Constitutional Rights.

I say Constitutional because ever since the Democrat Party took control of the Virginia Legislature, our entire Bill of Rights has been under assault via legislation. The 2nd Amendment has been the biggest target but our 1st Amendment, 4th, 5th, and many others have been targeted with legislation that has now, unfortunately, passed both the House and the Senate.

This all started in the 2017 election cycle when Virginia conservatives stayed home from the polls. That trend unfortunately continued in the 2019 election. The election that flipped our House and Senate from Republican to Democrat-controlled. With a newfound Democrat majority in both chambers, our Governor, the media, and some in the legislature like to proudly proclaim that our state turned blue in 2019. Well, I respectfully beg to differ.

The Governor had an all-encompassing goal to ban “assault firearms” in Virginia. With pockets full of Bloomberg cash to fuel his campaign to carry that out via several House and Senate bills started shortly after November 5th, 2019.

These gun ban bills had very loose definitions of “assault firearms” and would have included 90% of modern semi-auto long arms as well as most modern semi-auto handguns. It also included suppressors, magazines with a capacity over 12 rounds and any firearm that they were compatible with and trigger activator devices. Are they after our fingers now? The Senate bill was pulled to make room for a more restrictive House bill. The author of this bill was Delegate Mark Levine from Fairfax, VA. He became internet famous after his January 25th, 2020 town hall, where he provided a hilarious pantomime of what an assault weapon is.

After watching this, you get the idea of what an utter piece of garbage this legislation is.

In addition to this massive gun grab, there were dozens of other bills proposed that were infringements of our 2nd Amendment rights in some form. Some of them affected concealed handgun permits, restricted ammunition, restricted car carry, banned indoor and outdoor ranges, to name just a few. As a result of the “assault firearm” and other gun control bills, millions of Virginians engaged their state legislature at unprecedented levels to vote against these bills.

They engaged their local governments to declare their locality a 2A or Constitutional Sanctuary and reject these bills coming out of Richmond. As a result, as of February 2020, 91 out of 95 counties declared either a 2A or Constitutional resolution or ordnance.

This is a movement that we are seeing spread throughout the nation. Recently localities in New Jersey and Upstate New York have taken up efforts to do the same. Contrary to claims by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand action, this 2A Sanctuary groundswell was not run, controlled, or otherwise directed by the National Rifle Association or any other so-called gun lobby. It was a genuine grassroots effort.

Moms Demand Action has been filing FOIA requests with many counties that have adopted 2A resolutions intending to publicly shame the NRA as being behind this movement. Much to their surprise, and known to us all too well, they see that the NRA was conspicuously silent. The VCDL and many pop-up social media groups provided information on the local level, but there was no central command and control.

It was simply amazing to watch this organic movement spread throughout the state in record time. Also, nearly 70,000 people (not the 22K that VSP claimed) showed up to the VCDL Lobby Day on January 20th to voice their opposition to these gun control bills. VCDL Lobby Day is an event that has happened for almost 20 years on Martin Luther King Day, and typically 800 to 1,000 members show up. Even if the number was only 22,000 (as the State Police claimed) it represents an increase 22 times that of Lobby Day 2019.

Never has Richmond seen such a prior maligned rally of any sort. Never has Richmond been as safe as it was on that day and never had Capital Square and the surrounding blocks been as clean as when rally-goers cleaned up the area behind themselves and departed the area without incident. Something that has never happened after an Earth Day celebration on the National Mall.

With groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, the term “gun safety” is a euphemism for gun control. Their version of gun safety is disarming law-abiding gun owners like you and me while ignoring the criminals who will waltz right by the “no guns allowed” sign of a newly minted gun-free zone. All you have to do is look to the recent legislation passed in the Virginia House and Senate to see that. Does anyone truly believe that a mass murderer intent on harm and mayhem will be dissuaded by a gun-free zone sign?

Does anyone in this room think that the MS13 gang member here in Virginia is going to stand in line at a gun store to complete his background check before he buys his illegal gun from the trunk of a car just because a new law says he has to? What about when the young MS13 member buys that handgun from a trunk of a car, is he just going to buy one every 30 days because gun rationing is now the law of the land?

We ALL know the answers to those questions. We ALL in our hearts know that these new laws will only affect the law-abiding among us. Just like in the past, they are ineffective, and none of them, had they been in place, would have stopped any of the tragic mass shootings in recent history. Gun control laws don’t treat the main symptom of the decay of our society; they put a band-aid on a hangnail while ignoring the gushing artery in another limb. They are the easy thing to do because they make people feel safe, and politicians can say they’ve “done something” about the issue of gun violence to their constituents and hopefully live to see another swearing-in day.

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action claim that in 2017, more than 39K Americans and 1,028 Virginians died as a result of gun violence. That number is misleading at best. The actual number, per the FBI, was 10,265 nationwide with 297 in Virginia. You can get to 39,000 claimed deaths, but you have to include 22,000 suicides, 2,100 police-involved shootings, 2,000 home invasions, and 1,900 documented legal defensive uses. Suicides and legal defensive uses are not considered gun violence by the FBI.

Most recently, Bloomberg’s $10M Super Bowl commercial featured a lady who had lost her child to gun violence. This commercial paints a picture of a young child who was shot. In reality, that child was 20-year-old George Kemp Jr., who was shot in an altercation. While this is tragic, none of us would consider a 20-year-old man a child.

The commercial also claims that 2,900 children are killed each year. That 2,900 amount contains 17 and 18-year-olds. Again, 17/18-year-olds are not children, and while all deaths are tragic young men in this age group are statistically most likely to engage in criminal behavior, which could lead to their death. Take out 17 and 18-year-olds and that 2,900 number drops to around half the amount claimed.

They further claim, “We continue to face the ongoing epidemic of mass shootings in our state and nation”, again misleading. Per the FBI, over the last 18 years, there were 277 mass shootings nationwide. In those tragic events, 2,430 Americans were killed or injured.

While those mass shooting deaths are tragic according to US Government agencies and statistics last year alone, 250,000 Americans died of medical malpractice. There were 88,000 alcohol-related deaths, and 480,000 died from cigarettes and most tragic of all over 862,000 abortions – last year alone.

Sadly, with VA House and Senate legislation recently passed to remove restrictions on abortion, that last number will go up dramatically. Those 1.6M deaths are indeed epidemics – mass shootings, while tragic and, in most cases, completely avoidable, are not at epidemic levels.

They claim, “More people die by gun violence than car accidents.” Again, misleading. The National Safety Council states that last year 40,000 people died in car accidents, four times the number of gun homicides reported by the FBI. Even using the artificially inflated number of 39,000, the claim is still wrong.

Why does Bloomberg, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Bradey, and other anti-gun groups have to mislead their audience by inflating statistics? If your idea is so good, you shouldn’t have to lie to justify your position.

We see this all the time, and every time we do, we need to take a “No Shrug” approach and confront the statistic. Remember, a lie that goes unchallenged quickly becomes the truth.

I mentioned before about this new legislation not only targeting our 2nd Amendment but our 1st, 4th, 5th, and others. The new red flag laws are a direct infringement of our 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments. Red Flag laws cannot be effectively implemented without completely sacrificing due process. That is unconstitutional and unacceptable at any level. I pray that Virginia does not succumb to the rash of weaponized Red Flag claims that other states have seen. Recently a weaponized red flag claim in Colorado resulted in the felony warrant issuance for a false claimant.

Our 1st Amendment is under attack via HB 1627. That bill would make it a crime to openly criticize the Governor down through the Attorney General via verbal, written, or online means. Is it truly the case that the Facebook or Twitter rant of some irate and animated individual could result in a knock on the door by authorities? If that is the case, then our freedom of speech is gone, and that is a sad day for Virginia and our nation.

Recently there was another incident in a House Public Safety Committee where when HB961 (the “assault firearm/magazine/etc. ban) was rubber-stamped and passed out of committee despite massive opposition the 2A supporters became animated and voiced opposition. The committee chair ordered that the live feed be cut and ordered everyone out of the room, Capital Police formed a riot line before the dais. They continued the rest of the hearing to an empty chamber, thus further restricting our 1st Amendment rights.

Regarding background checks for all gun purchases through FFLs: From 1998 to 2020, there were 335 Million background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background System per the FBI, the agency that operates NICS and conducts them on every purchase through a dealer.

Some would lead you to believe that you can simply walk into a gun show or fire up an internet browser to buy a gun without a background check. That is not the case; the laws inside a gun show or on a gun store web site are the same outside the gun show.

When you purchase a gun through a dealer, you will go through a background check. For online purchases from a dealer, yes, the initial deposit may be made online, but the actual purchase and transfer will not happen until you go to your designated gun store and do the transfer and background check paperwork. We don’t need more background checks, we have an existing system that works pretty well, but it could be better. Our Government needs to concentrate its efforts on improving NICS by firming up mental health reporting into that system. Until very recently, HIPPA regulations inhibited that reporting.

In closing, our opposition to these laws is not because we want to see people kill themselves; mass shootings occur or anything of the sort. We take great umbrage when detractors of our cause claim otherwise. We simply know that these laws will only impact the law-abiding among us and that criminals will ignore these laws as they have always done and as they always will. As long as there have been laws, there have been criminals to ignore them. That very fact is why we, law-abiding Virginia gun owners, have, enjoy, and regularly exercise our right to keep and bear arms.

As it states on the great seal of Virginia, SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS. In this case, the saying is appropriate as it is translated into Thus Always to Tyrants.

Rick Goodman
Bristow, VA

Rick Goodman is also a veteran of the US Coast Guard, is a citizen activist in his home state of Virginia. An active member of his Northern Virginia community in veterans organizations Rick has been a long time proponent of the rights and freedoms affirmed by our Constitution, not just the 2nd Amendment.

Watch for our Podcasted Radio interview with Rick – Coming Soon