A Win In Virginia For Indoor Ranges (Updated)

Despite the Supreme Court punting on the NYSRPA case, it hasn’t been a totally bad day in the courts. Judge F. Patrick Yeatts of the 24th Judicial District of Virginia granted SafeSide Virginia, VCDL, GOA, and the Association of Gun Ranges of Virginia a temporary injunction against Gov. Ralph Northam’s closure order.

Judge Yeatts found that Gov. Northam had exceeded his authority in closing indoor gun ranges. Northam had argued that his authority came from his chief executive power to assure that “laws are faithfully executed” and that he could ignore laws that limited his authority. Judge Yeatts disagreed saying:

The Court cannot agree with such an expansive interpretation of the Governor’s authority. His duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” include the laws that limit his power during emergencies like §44-146.15 (3).

Accordingly, the Court finds that the Governor’s power to close whole categories of businesses would only come from §44-146.17, which is constrained by §44-146.15(3) regarding the right to keep and bear arms.

Judge Yeatts notes that the Virginia Constitution includes the words “trained to arms” in the prefatory clause of the Commonwealth’s equivalent of the Second Amendment. He goes on to say that “gun ranges provide a venue for such training to occur, thus, “bear arms” includes loading and shooting at a gun range.” He then references the 7th Circuit’s decision in the Ezell v. Chicago.

In discussing the appropriate level of scrutiny, Judge Yeatts says, “The Court declines to invent a level of scrutiny to circumvent the text in the statute.” §44-146.15(3) says that the governor cannot “in any way limit or prohibit the right of the people to keep and bear arms” during an emergency.

The judge believes the plaintiffs will succeed on the merits. He found that they would suffer irreparable harm if forced to stay closed, that the balance of equities favors granting a temporary injunction, and that the injunction favors the public interest.

His order granting the injunction does note that safe distancing and sanitizing edicts of Executive Order 53 should be followed.

Cam Edwards, writing at BearingArms.com, believes Northam will appeal.

The governor will almost certainly appeal Judge Yeatts decision, but for the moment, SafeSide Lynchburg and other indoor ranges in the state are allowed to re-open. The judge made the right call. Let’s hope that the state Supreme Court agrees.

I agree with Cam’s hope that the Virginia Supreme Court likewise agrees.

UPDATE: I should clarify that Judge Yeatts’ order only applies to SafeSide Lynchburg. He did not order the rest of the indoor ranges in the state be opened.

VCDL sent out an email regarding the win and noted:

As for the other indoor ranges that are still closed, VCDL is disappointed that they were not covered under the ruling and we are weighing our legal options at this time.  Our goal is to get all indoor ranges the option of reopening as soon as possible.

How Virginia Was Bought

If you wondered how Virginia went from a red state to a purple state to a blue state, here is part of the answer.

Michael Bloomberg played the long game, made many strategic campaign contributions over the years, and made Virginia his own.

According to the New York Times it started a lot sooner than the last couple of elections.

Soon enough, Mr. Bloomberg ramped up his spending on politics beyond New York. Frustrated at the flow of firearms from Virginia, a state with lax gun laws, Mr. Bloomberg tried to buoy candidates in the state’s 2011 elections who shared his views.

Then, in 2013, he received a visitor in New York: Mr. McAuliffe, by then a candidate for governor of Virginia. He proposed to Mr. Bloomberg that he make the state a decade-long priority, with an eye toward empowering Democratic supporters of gun regulation.

“I walked out with a multimillion-dollar commitment that day,” Mr. McAuliffe recalled.

Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $3 million in Virginia that year through his super PAC, helping propel Mr. McAuliffe to the governorship and electing a Democratic attorney general supportive of gun control, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. He has plowed millions more into the state since then, culminating last fall with a takeover of the state legislature by Democrats who are now seeking to pass a series of tougher gun laws.

It started with Terry McAuliffe, continued with Attorney General Mark Herring, and then down into state legislative races.

You know what happened in 2019 (corrected) – Democrats took both houses of the General Assembly.

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.

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.

A reCAPTCHA For Virginia

We have all been on websites with pictures asking you to select the boxes with buses or stoplights or cars in order to prove you are not a bot. It is a system called reCAPTCHA. It was meant as an improvement over an earlier system that presented you with fuzzy numbers and letters which you had to type in.

Someone decided to create a new picture just for Virginia politicians and gun control advocates.

Flatlanders like Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) just don’t get it.

As someone who has lived in the Appalachians for the majority of my life, I can tell him that folks from Tazewell or Grundy or Wytheville are different from the rest of Virginians. They didn’t descend from the planter class and their families won’t be found in a list of the First Families of Virginia. Instead they are descended from the heavily Scots-Irish migrants who ended up there because they just wanted to be left the hell alone. They didn’t take kindly to being told what to do and they still don’t.

People in the mountains are a tolerant people until they are not. This is something the Virginia Democrats bought and paid for by Michael Bloomberg should keep in mind. I hope and pray that they do. Because if they don’t, all hell is going to break loose. And it won’t be pretty.

A 2A Sanctuary State

Thanks to the work of the Virginia Citizens Defense League most everyone is now familiar with Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties. As of yesterday, there are now 101 sanctuary cities and counties.

This is all good and well but what if you had an entire 2A sanctuary state.

It should be noted that cities and counties are creatures of the state. Under Dillon’s Rule, they only have the power to act when given an express grant by the state or if it could be implied from there. Thus, a state can take power away from local governments or even dissolve them but the converse isn’t true.

Rep. David Hardin (R-86), Assistant Majority Whip of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, has pre-filed a bill that would make Oklahoma a Second Amendment state. HB 2781 or Second Amendment Preservation Act would ban any Oklahoma state or local official from enforcing any Federal law, act, executive order, court order, etc. that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill has a very detailed definition of infringement that includes:

  • taxes and fees on firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect on firearms ownership;
  • registration and tracking schemes applied to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect;
  • any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens;
  • any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.

The bill allows civil suits against any one who violates the law and knowingly violated a person’s right to keep and bear arms. Very interestingly, the bill would remove sovereign immunity as an affirmative defense in such suits. (Section 7.C.)

The bill also includes provisions that would apply to federal agents who knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce any of the infringing acts identified in the law, or who give material aid and support to such enforcement efforts.

Under the proposed law, they would “be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.” This would also apply to state or local law enforcement agents working with federal task forces or deputized by federal agencies.

In other words, Oklahoma law enforcement officers who cooperate with the feds in a violation of a person’s right to keep and bear arms would lose their jobs and never be able to work in Oklahoma law enforcement again, and federal agents could not work in Oklahoma law enforcement.

As the Supreme Court has ruled in Printz v. US, the Federal government cannot force state law enforcement officials to implement or enforce Federal laws. This is known as the doctrine of anti-commandeering.

While the Federal government cannot force state and local law enforcement to enforce Federal law, it can engage in partnerships with them to do so. A prime example of this would be requests from ICE to local law enforcement to hold illegal aliens who are arrested for other reasons until such time as they can be remanded to Federal custody. Likewise, for any Federal gun control law to be effective, it needs the help of state and local law enforcement.

I don’t know the likelihood of this bill passing the Oklahoma State Legislature. However, given the sponsor is part of the Republican leadership, this is more likely than if introduced by some freshman back bencher. I will keep you updated.

This Is How You Get A Hot Civil War

Whether we like it or not, we are in the midst of a civil war. Fortunately, so far, it has been a cold civil war. By cold, I mean it has been primarily a war of words and ideas. No one in their right mind should want a “hot” civil war. Whether it was our own War Between the States or the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, civil wars are violent, nasty, and brutish.

Certain Virginia Democrat politicians seem to have forgotten this in their push for draconian gun control. Their response to the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is to call down the overwhelming power of the state.

US Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) suggested in an interview with the Washington Examiner that Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) actually call out the National Guard.

“And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law,” he said. “That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”

McEachin has also said that funding to sanctuary counties and cities should be cut off.

US Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) who represents a northern Virginia district has called upon law enforcement to resign if they won’t enforce laws of dubious constitutionality.

Virginia Democratic officials, however, already say local law enforcement supporting these resolutions will face consequences if they do not carry out any law the state Legislature passes.

“I would hope they either resign in good conscience, because they cannot uphold the law which they are sworn to uphold, or they’re prosecuted for failure to fulfill their oath,” Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told the Washington Examiner of local county police who may refuse to enforce future gun control measures. “The law is the law. If that becomes the law, you don’t have a choice, not if you’re a sworn officer of the law.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) has characterized the sanctuary effort as something “ginned up” by “the gun lobby”.

“The resolutions that are being passed are being ginned up by the gun lobby to try to scare people. What we’re talking about here are laws that will make our communities and our streets safer. We’re talking about universal background checks, finally, maybe, Virginia will pass universal background checks to make sure that people who are dangerous, who are criminals and who aren’t permitted to buy guns, won’t be able to buy guns,” said Herring. “So, when Virginia passes these gun safety laws that they will be followed, they will be enforced.”

It should be noted that Herring won his office with less than a thousand votes. The difference probably was the $1.3 million invested by Michael Bloomberg’s Independence PAC. Herring has been consistently anti-gun since the 2015 election.

The incendiary talk from these Virginia Democrats should be condemned. If they are intent on provoking a confrontation between agents of the state and citizens defending their God given, constitutionally guaranteed rights, they are not going to like the result. The first citizen killed while resisting Northam’s laws on confiscation will be the spark that sets off that hot civil war.

It will not be pretty.

The only hopeful sign is that many Guardsmen and state police officials will remain loyal to their oath to defend the Constitution and refuse to participate.

Even My Local TV Station Is Talking About NICS Checks

When even your local mid-size market TV station is reporting on Black Friday NICS checks, you know it is a big deal.

Black Friday firearm sales appear to have very, very good. While the FBI’s NICS checks are also used for carry permit background checks (among other things), they still are a good indicator of trends in firearm sales.

According to a story posted by my local TV station, WLOS, there were 202,465 NICS checks run on Black Friday. Put another way, that is one every 4.85 seconds.

As USA Today notes:

The FBI fielded more than 200,000 background checks on Black Friday gun purchases, continuing a steady surge this year following a series of mass shootings that have renewed calls for more restrictive gun laws.

In all, the bureau posted 202,465 checks Friday, an 11% increase from last year and falling just short of the single-day record: 203,086 in 2017.

I would love to see the exact numbers for Virginia where many gun control proposals are sure to reach Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk. As it is, we do have the numbers for the entire month of November and they are up approximately 5,000 compared to 2018. It should be noted that virtually all the NICS checks in Virginia are for sales and not permit checks.

To put Virginia in context, let’s compare it to Georgia which has approximately 2 million more residents. Georgia’s NICS checks for only firearms for November 2019 totaled 29,826. Virginia, meanwhile, had a total of 56,661 checks for only firearms. If we needed any clearer evidence that fear of future gun control can drive sales, this is it.

Virginians! Avoid These Enemies Of Your Rights

Virginia’s state motto is Sic Semper Tyrannis. Translated into English it means “Thus always to tyrannts”. I say those who would abridge your God-given right to self-defense as enshrined in the Second Amendment are indeed tyrannts.

Unlike John Wilkes Booth, I think there is a better way to deal with these petty tyrannts. Don’t vote for them.

But who are they you ask. Thanks to Brady United Against Gun Violence – formerly the Brady Campaign – we know at least 33 of them.

Washington, D.C., August 29 — Following its endorsements for Virginia’s General Assembly — which included Sen. Dick Saslaw for State Senate, and Dan Helmer and Sheila Bynum-Coleman for the House of Delegates — the gun violence prevention organization Brady is proud to announce its second set of endorsements in the Commonwealth. The organization has officially endorsed a diverse set of candidates that have made gun violence prevention a top-tier issue:


House of Delegates: Wendy Gooditis (House District 10), Sam Rasoul (House District 11), Chris Hurst (House District 12), Danica Roem (House District 13), Larry Barnett (House District 27), Joshua Cole (House District 28), Kathleen Murphy (House District 34), Eileen Filler-Corn (House District 41), Kathy Tran (House District 42), Alfonso Lopez (House District 49), Hala Ayala (House District 51), Marcus Simon (House District 53), Jeff Bourne (House District 71), Schuyler VanValkenburg (House District 72), Shelly Simonds (House District 94), and Phil Hernandez (House District 100)


State Senate: Mamie Locke (Senate District 2), Herb Jones (Senate District 3), Cheryl Turpin (Senate District 7), Missy Cotter Smasal (Senate District 8), Ghazala Hashmi (Senate District 10), Amanda Pohl (Senate District 11), Debra Rodman (Senate District 12), John Bell (Senate District 13), John Edwards (Senate District 21), Creigh Deeds (Senate District 25), Adam Ebbin (Senate District 30), Janet Howell (Senate District 32), Jennifer Boysko (Senate District 33), and Dave Marsden (Senate District 37)

Working on the enemy of my enemy is my friend doctrine, I have to assume that the opponents to these 33 are at least marginally better. I notice at least one of these candidates – Creigh Deeds – was at one time endorsed by the NRA.

These candidates are expected by Brady to support red flag laws, magazine bans, and a state “assault weapons ban” (sic). I’m sure both Brady and Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) have more on the drawing board.

Look to state-level gun rights organizations for evaluations of their opponents. These include the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the Virginia Shooting Sports Association. VCDL has a page with candidate evaluations from the 2019 primary. I think contributions made to state-level organizations like these go much further than to national organization. Both have ways to contribute online. I can’t speak for VSSA but I do know that VCDL does have their own PAC which endorses and supports candidates.

The bottom line here is to prevent Virginia from becoming another Maryland or worse for Constitutionally-enumerated rights. Moreover, as a North Carolinian, I don’t want the state next door to become a gun control haven. Stuff like that has a way of migrating.