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.

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.

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.”

Demanding Moms Channel CSGV In Comments About Lobby Day

When Ladd Everitt was the communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic), it was a favorite tactic to characterize Second Amendment supporters as “gun extremists”. CSGV’s Executive Director Josh Horwitz took it a step further by calling those who opposed the Obama Administration‘s efforts “insurrectionists“. I was one of those called a “gun extremist” when I challenged the sainted Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) over some of her comments.

In a news release about the VCDL’s Lobby Day next Monday, Moms Demand Action channels CSGV and calls it a “gun extremist rally”.

On January 20th, gun extremists – including out-of-state militia groups – will descend on the Virginia General Assembly, hoping to intimidate lawmakers into rejecting the democratic will of the people who, by wide margins, want (and voted for champions of) common-sense gun safety laws.

The Democrats won control due to court-ordered redistricting. The plan was devised by California-based special master Bernard Grofman of U. California – Irvine and intended to be most favorable to Democrats. It was approved in a 2-1 decision with Obama-appointed Judges Barbara Keenan and Arenda Allen in the majority. Republicans who opposed the new districts called it “legal indefensible” because it was so slanted towards the Democrats.

They portray Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions as “lawless county resolutions”.

Lawless County resolutions, or as gun extremists call them, ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ resolutions, which threaten that officials will  disregard their duty to enforce duly enacted and constitutional laws, have no legal force. The resolutions also threaten the safety of communities nationwide by fostering distrust in law enforcement and may deter people from reporting individuals that may hurt themselves or others.

Since when did promoting respect for God-given, Constitutionally-protected rights become a threat to the safety of communities? That is the kind of argument one would have expected from racial segregationists who opposed school integration in the face of Brown v. Board of Education.

Overflow crowd at the Amelia County hearing

The news release continues and throws in “militia”, “white supremacist”, “Charlottesville”, and “Civil War” for good measure. I’m surprised they didn’t include “Boogaloo” as well. Remembering that Everytown and Moms Demand have the best PR flacks that money can buy, it is obvious that they want to scare both African-Americans and suburban “soccer moms” with this rhetoric. This is the sort of thing that Matt Bracken warned about in his comments on Lobby Day characterizing it as a Charlottesville-style setup.

They end this screed with a few words about their ultimate boogeyman – the NRA.

The NRA has yet to make any public statement disavowing the January 20th event or the various militia groups planning on attending. However, the NRA’s people and rhetoric are intertwined with the January 20th rally. The NRA put out a formal statement supporting the Lawless County resolutions, and former NRA TV personalities like Cam Edwards and Antonia Okafor are listed as speakers at the rally. The NRA has taken out billboards throughout Virginia ominously and baselessly warning of coming “confiscation” of firearms.

While the NRA hasn’t “disavowed” the VCDL’s Lobby Day, they haven’t supported it either. Instead, they came up with their own rally being held today. As to “baselessly warning” about confiscation, a magazine ban without grandfathering certainly meets the standard for confiscation.

We know the Demanding Moms don’t respect the Second Amendment. It is increasingly clear that they don’t support the First Amendment rights of their opponents. The First Amendment ends ” the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That is exactly what the many thousands of Virginians and their supporters from other states will be doing on January 20th.