Lobby Day Crowd Estimates

First off a disclaimer. I was not at the VCDL Lobby Day in Richmond on Monday. I was in Las Vegas at Industry Day at the Range. Secondly, I am not an expert on crowd estimation.

Numerous media reports have said the attendance at Lobby Day was 22,000. They break it down to 7,000 within the fence and the remainder outside.

From VCDL Facebook Page

I spoke to both friends of mine that attended and Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon who have described the size of the crowd. On that estimate of 22,000, I am raising the BS flag.

Gutowski described to me some of the crowds in the side streets. One street was filled sidewalk to sidewalk for three blocks deep. Another 2-3 side streets had were packed similarly 1-2 blocks deep.

From VCDL Facebook Page

Officials in the Northam administration and their allies in the media would like you to believe the crowd really wasn’t as big as it actually was. If you throw out an exact number like 22,000, it sounds authoritative and the gullible media will go with it.

This is the converse of when the Demanding Moms and other gun control groups have events. There they stage photos to make the crowd look larger than it really is. The prime example is the NRA Annual Meeting that was held a few years ago in Nashville. The late Bob Owens called them out on it. They said 500 attended which the media reported and Bob showed how they staged the photo which actually had about 150 people in it.

From VCDL Facebook Page

I think when all is said and done, the crowd of gun rights supporters attending Lobby Day on Monday probably was double the official figure and approached 50,000. Whether Democrat legislators in Virginia will take notice and temper their plans is the real question.

Somehow I doubt it.

Follow-Up On My Antifa Post

This is a follow-up to my post from Friday saying I didn’t have a good feeling about the Seven Hills Antifa participation in the VCDL Lobby Day.

I think my worries were warranted. Looking at their webpage, they have posted a list of people that they consider known”fascists and sympathizers”.

Included in their list is John Crump who writes a column for Ammoland. I’ve read his articles for a few years and nowhere do I get the feeling that he is “known fascist or sympathizer.” Writing about Oath Keepers, Threepers, the Second Amendment, Ralph Northam, or anything else doesn’t make you an “other”.

You don’t publish a long list of people with pictures unless you want them targeted. While they themselves may not be the ones targeting these people, according to Seven Hills Antifa there are others of their leftist colleagues who do plan to attend.

They also had a long statement in another post about the Vice News article. They seem to be upset because their fellow traveling friends now think they have gone and joined some sort of white supremacist Neo-Nazi unit.

Many folks have read this article, or possibly just the headline, and come to the conclusion that we are choosing to march with Neo-Nazis and Klansmen on Monday. This was and never will be the case. We are forever in opposition to these groups. It is our group’s stated mission to keep these groups from having footholds in Richmond and beyond. There are many racists and fascists planning on attending “2A lobby day rally” on January 20th, at a steadily increasing rate since this bill emerged in November. We anticipated their efforts to recruit from the 2A movement, as has already been happening, and saw this as an important point to intervene since we oppose this legislation. We recognize how many in the movement, especially due to the projections of law enforcement, bear extreme prejudice towards Richmond and its residents, in the equation of “Democratic strongholds.” We understand the many racist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic remarks that abound in the river of online comments on these issues.  Reading through and digesting these conversations is a reality of the work we engage in. We see it as our place to endure this, to be able to peer further into the void. In no way does this mean we seek to make alliances with those who wish violence and terror upon those most vulnerable.

The response to the Vice News article by Seven Hills Antifa is quite long.

It concludes:

We will work to get active threats out to the community as we get and verify them. We will never know all the threats but we will do our best to keep a watchful eye. We are not a vanguard force, and rely on the contributions of our community and comrades to be effective. We will use everything at our disposal to defend our neighborhoods in the event that fascists decide to move offensively. Our hope is that instead this moment will transpire in whatever peace is left. 

We are deeply sorry to our allies that this article scared or angered. Especially if it seems as though we were going to march alongside Neo–nazis or fascists. We would never do that and our intention is to only ever expose and expel them to the best of our ability. We hope that our prior words and actions speak to this, and that good faith can be assumed in us, especially in moments where we cannot afford transparency.We are always available to talk, and we encourage you to reach out. Only some of you may know our faces, but all of you have our ears. 

Love and Rage

I know it is easy for me to say be alert, be aware, and be safe given I’ll be at the SHOT Show and not in Richmond. Nonetheless, it is good advice. If you decide to be inside the fenced enclosure on the Capitol Grounds, make sure you have 2-3 good friends who are armed outside of it as your escorts. If you own a GoPro, take it with you and have it running on your hat or body. Think of it as your personal body cam or dash cam.

Thanks to Rick R. for the links to Seven Hills Antifa’s webpage.

“Update FWD: They’ve recruited armed militias to intimidate us”

That is the actual headline of a fundraising email I received this afternoon at 4:41pm EST from Brady United Against Gun Violence (sic).

Nothing like some hyperbolic lies to get that old money flowing in when you don’t have Mike Bloomberg funding you. At least that is the impression they are giving.

BREAKING: The Washington Post reports that thousands of armed militias and pro-gun extremists plan to descend on the Virginia State Capitol on Monday, threatening “violent insurrection and civil war” over the state’s proposed gun safety laws. The FBI has already arrested six Neo-Nazis. The pro-gun group organizing the event has now raised more than $55,000 to bus extremists to Virginia and stop lifesaving gun safety bills.

This is a trend across the country. Our democratic process is under threat and we need to stand up to these extremists.

The pro-gun group is the Virginia Citizens Defense League which has been holding Lobby Days since 2002. I may be wrong on the first year but it goes back quite a ways.

Lobby Day is not a threat to “our democratic process”. It is, in fact, nothing less than real democracy in action as people are petitioning their elected representatives for a “redress of grievances” as enshrined in the First Amendment. Moreover, VCDL has never threatened civil war or violent insurrection. This is a libel.

Just like the screed from the Demanding Mommies this is an othering. Brady United is saying that those of us standing up for our God-given, Constitutionally-guaranteed rights are inferior and alien. When you characterize any group as an “other”, then you are saying it doesn’t matter if they ostracized, belittled, or even killed. It is what Adolph Hitler did to the Jews before setting the Brown Shirts lose on Kristallnacht. Later it was the box cars headed east to Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Sobibor.

As Michael Bane said as recently as his last podcast, they are our blood enemies and they want us dead. I think he is right.

I Don’t Have A Good Feeling About These Guys

The left-wing website Vice had a story yesterday about a group planning to show up for the 2020 VCDL Lobby Day. It is a local Richmond-based Antifa group which supports the Second Amendment and gun rights.

When gun lovers rally in front of the Virginia Capitol in Richmond next week, the local chapter of antifa will be there too. But their members won’t be wearing all black, and they don’t plan to douse right-wingers in milkshakes or Silly String.

Instead, local antifa will join thousands of conservatives who are expected to descend on Richmond that day in protesting pending gun-control legislation introduced by Democratic lawmakers.

Antifa Seven Hills, based in Richmond, are opposing the slew of gun bills introduced by the newly Democratic Legislature since November, because they say those types of laws are used primarily to criminalize poor people, minorities, and leftists — and to bolster law enforcement’s power.

“I think it’s been pretty important for us to focus on the fact that gun control in America has a legacy of racist enforcement,” said Antifa Seven Hills spokesperson James (who asked that his name be withheld to avoid getting doxxed online). “Like taking guns away from black people, because black people were perceived as a threat to property and the sanctity of the state.”

I tend to agree with “James” about the racist roots of gun control and how gun control has been used to keep African-Americans disarmed.

That said, I’m leery of any group of people affiliated with Antifa. As someone commented to me on Facebook yesterday, “the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.”

My fear is what are called “Fifth Columnists” causing incalculable harm. They say they support gun rights and the Second Amendment but their goal is actually to subvert it through their actions. With media-driven reports of “white supremacists” and “militia groups” planning on attending the Richmond rally, the mainstream media will go wild if there is any sort of a disturbance. You just know that they along with every member of the gun control industry is just praying to Gaia that it is another Charlottesville.

My anxiety rises when I read “James'” last comments.

If authorities’ fears are confirmed and white supremacist groups join the fray, Antifa Seven Hills could be left in an awkward position. Asked whether there was a plan to switch from conservative outreach into a more combative role, James declined to comment. “We’re not going to discuss our plans at this point,” he said.

J.KB at Gun Free Zone has the best advice if you are going – be NORMAL. Wearing your casual Friday clothes, look respectable, leave the Gadsden flag at home, and don’t go looking for trouble.

Debney Out at AOBC/Smith & Wesson On Eve Of SHOT Show

James Debney, CEO and President of American Outdoor Brands, was dismissed by the Board of Directors today. He had been slated to be the CEO of the American Outdoor Brands sporting goods segment when the company splits later this year.

From The Guardian

From the news release:

American Outdoor Brands Corporation, today announced that its Board of Directors has named Mark P. Smith and Brian D. Murphy as co-Presidents and co-Chief Executive Officers of American Outdoor Brands Corp., effective immediately.   Smith was most recently President of the Manufacturing Services Division of the company, while Murphy was most recently President of the Outdoor Products & Accessories Division.  In their co-leadership roles, Smith and Murphy succeed James Debney, who has separated as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a Director of the company, following the determination by the Board of Directors that he engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.

The “inconsistent” conduct was not specified in the release.

Mark Smith was already slated to head the new Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. after the spin-off.

Brian Murphy is now going to become the CEO and President of American Outdoor Brands, Inc. after the company is split into a sporting goods segment and a firearms segment.

Coming just before SHOT Show starts in less than a week, this is an interesting development.

The new release goes on to quote the Chairman of the Board Barry Monheit as saying:

We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure.  The Board believes the company is fortunate to have two highly capable and experienced leaders in Mark Smith and Brian Murphy.  Each has played a critical role in the development of our strategic plans, including our intention to establish each business as an independent, publicly traded company.  In addition, Mark and Brian have each demonstrated, through years of leadership and service, their extensive knowledge of and passion for our company, our customers, and our industries.  Their capabilities and objectives position them well to share the combined CEO role as the team completes the separation of our two businesses later in 2020.  The Board has every confidence that they will provide the vision and determination to lead each independent company and its highly respected brand portfolio toward a successful future.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the spokesperson for the company did not provide any details on why Debney was fired beyond what is contained in the news release. Their article also takes note that the firing occurred just days before the SHOT Show was to begin.

Debney earned $3.76 million in compensation for the last year. Most of that compensation was due to bonuses and stock awards on top of his $750,000 salary.

Oh! The Horror!

Magpul donated 1,000 30-round PMags for the NRA to give out to those who attended the January 13th NRA rally at the Virginia State Capitol. Duane Liptak, Magpul’s Executive VP, is a member of the NRA Board of Directors. Bear in mind that a magazine ban is one of the agenda items for anti-gun Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly. A magazine ban, I should add, that has no grandfathering.

Giving out 30-round PMags was reminiscent of what Magpul did for rallies in Vermont in 2018 and in Colorado in 2013. In other words it was nothing new. Nonetheless, the gun prohibitionists at the Cult of Personality known as Giffords have their panties in a wad over this.

Gun rights advocates from around the country are urging armed protesters to descend on Virginia’s capital before the General Assembly’s first legislative session of 2020 to stop Democrats from passing gun-control bills.

The NRA is even getting involved by offering to hand out 30 round magazines to protesters for free if they show up.

Tweet from the NRA: EMERGENCY AIRLIFT: @Magpul_HQ sent us 1,000 30 Round PMAGs to hand out tomorrow in Richmond to NRA members who show up to fight Northam's extreme gun ban! We'll see everyone TOMORROW at the General Assembly Building in Senate Sub-Committee Room1 on the 5th Floor at 8am!

A 30 round magazine was used to shoot this organization’s co-founder, Gabby Giffords, kill six people and injure 12 others in Tucson.

First off no magazine of any size can be used “to shoot” anyone. A magazine is merely a container. It, more importantly, just like a firearm is an inanimate object that cannot do anything unless it is used by human being.

In Ms. Giffords’ case, the murderer in Tucson had a Glock pistol as his weapon of choice. He did have a Glock 18 knock-off magazine that jammed when he was reloading allowing heroic bystanders to end his rampage.

The killer bought it legally after passing a FBI NICS check. That he was able to pass such a check despite evidence of mental issues was due to the failure of school authorities to report his behavior and due to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department ignoring his actions. The latter was due to a friendly relationship between the killer’s mother and Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Giffords and other such organizations who send out these pleas for money rely on shock value and the decay of memory with regard to past events. That it is dishonest has never stopped them in the past and won’t stop them in the future. Fortunately, there are both the Internet and those of us with long memories to set the record straight.

Northam Issues Temporary Ban On Firearms On VA Capitol Grounds

One of the first acts of the new Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly was to ban firearms in the State Capitol and the adjacent office building. The new rule went into effect as of 11:59pm Friday, January 10th. This was done on a straight party line vote.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) has gone the General Assembly one better – or worse.

AP File Photo

From the Associated Press:

Fearing a repeat of the deadly violence that engulfed Charlottesville more than two years ago, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam plans to declare a temporary emergency Wednesday banning all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a massive rally planned next week over gun rights.

That’s according to two state officials who were briefed on the plans but not authorized to speak publicly about them. The governor, a Democrat, plans to announce the plans at a news conference Wednesday afternoon because of credible threats of potential violence and extremism, one official said.

Supposedly, there were “inflammatory” postings by out-of-state pro-gun groups. I don’t suppose they are talking about the NC House Republican Caucus who will be sending representatives to Lobby Day.

They also managed to throw the words “militia” and “Charlottesville” into the conversation. Unless there is an Antifa-wing of the Demanding Mommies that I don’t know about, this is just so much hyperbole.

Northam’s declaration will also ban helmets and shields. I guess any Viking Norsemen will have to leave them at home.

Northam and his backers attempts to portray honest gun owners seeking to petition their own legislature for redress is nothing short of an attempt to delegitimize them. It is an “othering”. It is straight out of Rule 13 of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Pre-SHOT Show Releases, Part 2

The FN Mk20 SSR and the civilian variant FN SCAR 20S have been out since 2016. They are the long range precision version of the SCAR-17 aka SCAR Heavy. They traditionally have been chambered in 7.62×51 NATO.

FN America has now released the FN SCAR 20S in 6.5 Creedmoor.

For 2020, FN announces new advancements in the legendary FN SCAR® 20S – now chambered in the superb long range cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor. Perfectly calibrated for long-range precision fire, the FN SCAR® 20S in 6.5 Creedmoor gives you the ability to engage targets exceeding 1,000 yards with ease. The chrome lined barrel of new FN SCAR® 20S  will deliver precision accuracy with improved barrel life. The gas-operated piston design and Surefire ProComp 762 muzzle device manage recoil efficiently to improve follow-up shots and maintain target acquisition. Lending further aid is the match-grade, two-stage trigger that breaks crisply at 3.5-4.5 pounds, full-length MIL-STD 1913 rail at 12 o’clock position, and fixed buttstock providing adaptability to fit to each user’s needs through adjustable length of pull and cheek rest height.

The rifle will be available in both flat dark earth (FDE) and black.

The trigger is a Geissele 2-stage match trigger (Geissele Super SCAR). The 20 inch barrel is cold hammer-forged and chrome lined. The weight of the 6.5 CM SCAR 20S will come in at 11.6 pounds.

The price? MSRP is $4,499.

Davidson County Becomes 10th NC County To Adopt 2A Resolution (Update)

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted 7-0 tonight to adopt a resolution declaring the county a “Second Amendment Protected County”. Davidson thus become the tenth county in the state to adopt a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution or the equivalent.

Resolution – Second Amendment Protection 1-14-20 v3 by jpr9954 on Scribd

In similar news, the North Carolina House Republican Caucus have adopted a letter stating that they support the cities and counties in Virginia that have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. By extension, that would also include these NC counties that have done likewise.

From Freshman Majority Leader Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson) on Facebook:

The signers of the letter include Speaker Tim Moore and Majority Leader John Bell Freshman Majority Leader Steve Jarvis as well as 47 other members. Representative Kidwell will attend a rally on January 20th where he and several other members of the North Carolina House of Representatives including Rep Michael Speciale (Craven) and Rep Bobby Hanig (Currituck) will present the letter to the members of the Virginia legislature. “It is our hope that we can impress upon the Virginia legislature the importance of protecting the rights of the people they represent”. Said Rep. Kidwell. As stated in the letter, North Carolina and Virginia have stood together beginning with the revolution, and it is the hope of the signers of this letter of support that we will continue to stand with the citizens as their rights are being attacked in much the same way they were under colonial rule.

UPDATE: Allison Lee Isley of the Winston-Salem Journal has posted a series of photos from the Davidson County commissioners meeting. It looks like there was a good crowd there supporting the Second Amendment Protected County resolution.

The photos can be seen here.

The Dispatch of Davidson County had this comment at the hearing from a social studies teacher. It is not what one might expect to hear in other parts of the country.

Daniel Watson, a social studies teacher with the Davidson County School System, said there did not need to be a discussion on whether to pass the resolution.

“We just went through the Bill of Rights and if my kids can understand it, I expect this board could understand it,” Watson said. “If they come for the Second Amendment, the First Amendment is right behind it. It is what gives the First Amendment its teeth. If they take our guns, they take our freedom and you better believe your Bible is next. … The founding fathers are rolling over in their grave because we have to have a discussion about this.”