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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gun Raffle in Fairfax on Thursday

Today's Washington Post is reporting on a proposed gun raffle to be held in a government building in Annandale, Virginia on Thursday. Local Fairfax officials have been meeting with the Commonwealth Attorney to try to figure out if there is any way to prevent this raffle from going forward in response to an outpouring of sentiment from Fairfax residents who are clearly uncomfortable with these preceedings.

Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, the group that is holding the raffle to raise funds to support several gun shops who are being sued by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said that his group will give tickets free to anybody who walks through the door. That's because research has turned up a loophole to Virginia law, which says that a gaming event cannot be held on public property without a special waiver, which Fairfax lawmakers are not inclined to provide the group.

You know, you can’t get as pro Second Amendment a Democrat as I am. I truly believe that people do have a right to have weapons, whether for hunting or to protect themselves. And yes they really have a right to carry a concealed weapon too.

But this scuffle in Fairfax County between the Virginia Citizens Defense League and county officials who are uncomfortable with a gun raffle being held in a government building in Annandale has turned me completely off the pro-gun faction. And this is exactly the type of extremism from the gun lobby that will blow up in their face. Scorched the earth policies usually end up scalding those who adopt them

Look, if you were to go into a public office building in most cities or municipalities in this country, you would have to go past a metal detector. If you had a weapon, whether a gun or a knife, it would be confiscated. In fact, if you carried pepper spray, that too would be taken from you. Certainly, you couldn’t go into any federal building, under the very pro-gun Bush administration, with a concealed weapon of any kind – and that includes non-gun weapons – without a guard taking it away from you. Indeed, most federal buildings still have all those cute color-coded warnings that the Bush administration has made into a paean to paranoia regarding national security. Bring a gun into, say, the Treasury Building or the State Department and you’re liable to be held as a terrorist.

But bring a gun into a government center in Annandale, Virginia and suddenly you become a Second Amendment patriot?

The only reason the Virginia Citizens Defense League is doing this is not to snub Michael Bloomberg in New York City but to thumb their noses at liberal Northern Virginians, who the Virginia Citizens Defense League think don’t agree with their pro-gun stand either.

Truth be told, most Fairfax residents are uncomfortable with a display of guns in a public building. If the Million Mom March had a base, it probably is in Northern Virginia. But you know what? There is something to be said for home rule and respecting the mores of a region that’s different from the rest of Virginia.

Back where I came from, in upstate New York, it used to be the Republicans who supported home rule. And in Byrd Machine Virginia, it was the Democrats who supported the Dillon Rule that essentially stripped the grassroots of control and gave all power to the state. And that was done to keep power in the hands of a few very corrupt, racist Dixiecrats in the bad old days.

It’s time we admitted this.

I don’t want to take guns away from anybody. But I think holding a gun raffle in a public building in an urban area where citizens are clearly uncomfortable with public displays of guns is disgusting.

It’s not about Michael Bloomberg. For these bozos, it’s about Northern Virginians. And I’m one of those Northern Virginians.

Let people have their guns. But don’t thumb your noses at those whose culture is different by a public display. You want to take on Michael Bloomberg. Fine. Do it in Southwest.


MB said...

Well put, AiaW. I'm a solid defender of gun ownership, too, but this completely writes off any use I might ever have for the VCDL.

Anonymous said...

VCDL is the same group that published every piece of information they could find about the Managing Editor of the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star after the paper ran the names and addresses of those issued concealed carry permits (which the paper obtained through FOIA requests). In the statement sent out to VCDL members, the following was written:

"We are going to begin with the private life of Nancy S. Moore (whose private information I expect will be fleshed out even more over the next couple of weeks). Then we will work our way down the line to the other editors and managers of the paper.

The Free Lance-Star has decided that they would like to continue with what we at VCDL think is the very bad practice of publishing concealed handgun permit holder’s names and addresses in their paper.

Well, we don’t want the Free Lance-Star to feel left out of the sunshine that they so dearly want to shine on law-abiding citizens, so we’ve decided to start letting the rays of public information shine on the paper’s staff"

VCDL apparently believes scorced-earth tactics work best...

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I am no fan of VCDL and if the information about who carries is public information, which it apparently it is, the Free Lance Star had a right to publish it.

But they do say what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Or to spout more cliches, two wrongs don't make a right. So perhaps a pox on both of their houses.

I think this, like all issues, should be fought and debated on the merits of the particular cause, not by using cheap tactics that embarrass individuals who have broken no laws. That includes both gun owners and reporters. Both have a right to privacy too.

Andy From Roanoke said...

"Back where I came from, in upstate New York"

And its carpetbaggers like you who want to ruin VA like you did NY.

If you want NY laws, go the hell back to NY.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

My, my, my, do I detect a tad bit of anger from Andy - the true defender of the Confederacy?

Problem is, though I'd love dearly to go visit my hometown in NY, my husband is a Southerner. His family founded their town in Tennesse and many of the streets and roads are actually named after his ancestors.

Carpetbagger, hardly.

However, although I tell him we Northerners did win the Civil War, he patiently explains that the Southerners actually won because they were the first country to get foreign aid to rebuild.

Yes, it's tongue in cheek. But ridiculous regional bigotry is also silly.

By the way, one would think a Republican would appreciate the concept of "home rule" "grassroots" and small government that is at the lowest level and closest to the people.

For Northern Virginia, that would mean respecting the sensibility of people not comfortable with public displays of guns.

I never said don't have a gun raffle. I merely said take it to a place where it would be more appreciated - like your neck of the woods, sir.

hmp2 said...

I always find amusing persons who preface their call for restrictions on gun owneers with their statement that they are "pro-Second Amendment." It is a bit like those bigots who say, "but some of my best friends are..."

Yes, one can carry guns into public buildings in Virginia but not in many other states. Is there a difference in crime in public buildings in Virginia and Illinois or New York? That which causes no harm should not be restricted.

You say that you don't want to take guns away from anyone, but a gun that you can't have with you is of little use for sefl-defense.

I am not sure how you managed to determine that VCDL's purpose was to "thumb its nose at liberal Northern Virginians." )Psychic powers, perhaps?) VCDL has met in the Mason Government Center for years without objection from Fairfax County. The timing of the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway coincided with the schedule for meeting in Northern Virginia.

As for your advocacy of "home rule," if a jurisdiction wants a lower speed limit, I can slow down when I drive through. If a local jurisdiction want to outlaw guns, whet do I do with my gun while passing through there? Will local jurisdictions post those restrictions as often as frequently as they post speed limit signs? What level of government should be allowed to restrict guns - county? town? or in Northern Virginia the local political power, the homeowners association?

I notice that you seem to be disturbed by Fairfax County officials being "uncomfortable," and some Northern Virginia residents being "uncomfortable." Is "uncomfortable" the new "insensitive?" You have a right to express your opinions. Would you give up that right if you found that your comments were making some people "uncomfortable?" I would hope not.

Bloomberg's actions affect all Virginians, not just those in southwestern Virginia. Drop by a VCDL meeting in northern Virginia, or the Nations's Gun Show in northern Virginia, and you will find me, and plenty of other Virginians who live in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and other parts of the area that, contraty to some people's fantasies, is not a separate state.