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.