Virginia: Do reinstated voting rights mean easier reinstated gun rights?


Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order last month restoringthe voting rights of 206,000 felons had an unintended consequence: It’s now easier for those ex-offenders to regain the right to own guns.

Before the order, felons who wanted to legally possess firearms first had to go through the process of having their civil rights reinstated, including the right to vote, to sit on a jury and to run for office.

That process — which involved submitting forms that were scrutinized by the secretary of the commonwealth’s staff, using the governor’s authority — is no longer in place.

Instead, felons who have completed their sentences can go straight to the step of petitioning the circuit court for firearm rights. Prosecutors review those petitions and can intervene if they believe a felon should continue to be barred from owning a weapon.

Days after McAuliffe (D) signed the April 22 voting-rights order, which was strongly opposed by leading Republicans in the GOP-controlled legislature, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson warned commonwealth’s attorneys of a potential increase in gun rights requests.

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Zimmerman taunts Trayvon Martin’s parents

It wasn’t enough for George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin.

In an interview with The Daily Beast this week, Zimmerman made it clear he has no remorse about shooting the 17-year-old boy to death in Sanford, Florida, and bears outright hostility for the parents whose son he took away forever.“They didn’t raise their son right. He attacked a complete stranger and attempted to kill him,” Zimmerman said of Martin.

“Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin did everything they could to capitalize on her son’s death,” he said. “She was never a mother figure to him. Tracy Martin couldn’t have cared less about their son. He treated him like a dog without a leash.”

Four years after Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the acquitted killer is trying to turn a profit on the gun he used to do it.
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Judge finds DC gun law violates right of self defense



A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the District’s new gun law is probably unconstitutional, ordering D.C. police to stop requiring individuals to show “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm on the streets of the nation’s capital.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that the law violates the “core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment, setting aside arguments from District officials that the regulation is needed to prevent crime and protect the public.

“The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,” Leon wrote in a 46-page opinion, quoting a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2008 in another District case that established a constitutional right to keep firearms inside one’s home.

Leon said the right applies both inside and outside the home.

“The District’s understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind,” he wrote.

So what happens from here?   What does all this mean?

The Tuesday ruling imposed a preliminary injunction, pending further litigation. The decision means the city cannot deny concealed-carry permits to residents who do not show a good reason for needing a gun but otherwise would qualify for the permits.

What about non-residents who feel the need to carry a weapon inside the District of Columbia?



“Damaged masculinity,” guns, and mass shootings

There were 374 mass shootings in 2015, according the crowd-sourced database Mass Shooting Tracker. Watch this motion graphic and hear the 911 calls to get a complete picture of the human toll. (Gillian Brockell,Julio Negron/The Washington Post)

What was Eric Harris of Columbine notoriety without his killing instruments?  His journals give us insight into his mind.

Harris was born with a birth defect in his leg. He also had a chest deformity that required surgeries just before high school. He had a noticeable, sunken chest. His hopes to follow his father into the military — to be a tough guy, a Marine — were likely to be unrealized.

Guns, he reasoned, could give him power and control.

“I am (expletive) armed,” he wrote in his journal. “I feel more confident, stronger, more Godlike.”

What was he without guns?

“The weird looking Eric kid,” Harris wrote.

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Secret Service nixes firearms at the RNC

The Secret Service on Monday quashed the hopes of gun rights advocates who were pushing for the open carry of firearms to be allowed at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

An online petition in support of the effort rapidly gained signatures and attention in the past week, applying pressure to pro-gun Republican officials and presidential contenders to walk the walk when it comes to guns. But on Monday, the Secret Service said that only law enforcement personnel will be allowed to carry firearms at the event.

“Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752 provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states,” Secret Service spokesman Robert K. Hoback said in a statement. “Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site.”

Ticket or not, any unauthorized person with a gun will not be allowed into the event, he said.

Why on earth would any of the candidates want guns inside the convention center?  There are enough fruits and nuts wandering around as it is.  Arming them would surely spell trouble for someone.

If the Secret Service says no, then that’s that.

Son saves mother, faces murder charges

A Virginia teenager who authorities said intervened when his mother was being attacked by her boyfriend — fatally shooting the man — has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police said the son, who is 15, shot and killed John Conroy Jr., 37, as Conroy physically attacked his mother during an argument at their house.

The teen faces charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Duncan Minton said. The teenager’s name is not being released because he is charged as a juvenile.

Minton said every homicide in Virginia is “presumed to be murder in the second degree,” but that the charge can be reduced or increased as the investigation goes on.

“Because of the fact that he’s a juvenile and because there may be extenuating circumstances, there is a whole wide range of things that could happen,” Minton said.

 This is so screwed up!  Why must we presume that the killing is murder in the second degree?   It sounds to me that like the boy did the right thing.  He saved his mother from being attacked.
Tell me in what bizarro world this behavior is wrong?  It sounds to me like instant self defense or mother defense.
Wait!  Why am I acting so shocked?  I know someone this happened to.  Anytime you shoot someone, the burden of proof is very high, at least in Virginia.
I hope the kid gets off.  It sounds like he has been traumatized enough.

Is the boy in custody? Is he out on bond? The news video raises many unanswered questions.

McAuliffe signs gun compromise into law

Close-Up of Man Holding .45 Caliber Handgun

 Declaring the start of a “new era,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Friday signed into law a package of gun bills, the product of a deal struck with Republican lawmakers that cost him the support of some of his strongest allies in the fight for gun control.

Opponents of the compromise, including Andy Parker, the outspoken father of a television journalist who was killed in southwest Virginia, noted that McAuliffe’s victory lap came on the six-month anniversary of his daughter’s shooting.

But underscoring what McAuliffe said was the historic nature of the deal, the governor signed the bills in the Executive Mansion, the first time he used the home for this purpose, and hinted at his legacy.

“I’m so proud to announce that a new era begins today here in the commonwealth of Virginia,” he said. “These new laws will serve as permanent protections for our citizens. They will remain in place when I leave office.”

The deal would expand the rights of concealed-carry handgun permit holders in Virginia and around the country in exchange for tighter restrictions on domestic abusers and voluntary background checks at gun shows.

McAuliffe is a pragmatist.   He is smart enough to know that he would not win a show down with the NRA.  So he did the next best thing–he compromised.

Part of the anti-gun lobby’s problem is that they go after things that aren’t really problems, at least in the statistical world.  For example, can anyone find a case where some concealed weapon permit holder has come into the state and killed someone?  I don’t think so.

Regardless of who thinks who is right, both sides walked away with something they wanted.  The NRA people got their concealed weapon permits from other states recognized.  The gun control folks got their tighter restrictions on domestic abusers codified, including removing those guns belonging to the domestic abusers.  In addition, there will be a state police officer at all gun shows to run voluntary background checks on private sales.  While these gun control initiatives might not seem like much, it’s a start, especially the domestic abuser part.

Those who hate McAuliffe over it might want to think about what they have now vs what they had before.    You can stand on principle all you want but at the end of the day, you end up just standing.  McAuliffe got something done.

Gun owners urge NRA to scratch “Cat Scratch Fever” Nugent for anti-semitic remarks


Gun owners are pressuring the National Rifle Association to boot longtime board member Ted Nugent from the organization’s leadership ranks after the rock star’s social media outburst that depicted prominent American Jews as the men and women “really behind gun control.”

Nugent, an outspoken Second Amendment advocate, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this week calling Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), “Jew York City Mayor Mikey Bloomberg,” former senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, among many others, “punks” who would “deny us the basic human right to self defense and to keep and bear arms while many of them have paid hired armed security.”

The Israeli flag appears over or next to each of the 12 faces in the photo, which is the same one that has been shared many times in white suprema­cist cir­cles, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The post prompted applause from anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups.


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Dear Cargo, I feel your pain….voting rights

Dear Cargo,

I am dedicating this thread to you.  Why?  Because I felt your pain.  Just for a moment.

You have continually said that gun ownership is a right  and that you shouldn’t have to apply or register to bear arms because doing so was a right.  (or something to that effect.)

I feel like I am having to dance and jump through hoops just to be able to vote.  I think everyone here knows that I have a bad knee and  that on any given day it could make me unable to go to the polls.  I also have breathing issues but that is another story.

I like to vote by mail.  It’s easier, it is legitimate, and it ensures that I will be able to vote in the event that the knee is acting up.  So, tonight I thought to myself…I had better apply for that absentee ballot since March 1 is right around the corner.

Finally I find how to apply online.  It is fairly well hidden.  Then I started filling out the form.  Nothing is intuitive.  The form has changed since last time.  Now I had to give a social security number and….tah daaaaaaaxahhhhhhh… DMV number so that my signature can be compared.

Why must I do all this just to be able to vote?  Voting is a right.  I shouldn’t have to go through all this bullshit.  My knee hurts.  I don’t feel like limping to the foyer to get my purse.

Where is the voter fraud?  Show me where the voter fraud is and I might feel just a little bit better about going through all this malarky.  Why would someone say they were me, risk  going to prison just so they could cast a vote, in my name?  How absurd.

Cargo, I feel about voting like you do about guns.  It is much easier to own a gun than it is to vote.  Tell me, when you buy a mail order gun, does DMV have to be involved to compare your signature?  I seriously doubt it.  If I am wrong, please tell me.

The Governor and 2Aers strike a deal


 Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to announce Friday that Virginia will restore handgun reciprocity agreements with nearly all states, in a stunning reversal of a firearms policy that had angered Republicans and gun rights advocates across the nation.

The about-face is part of a deal that McAuliffe (D) struck with Republican leaders one month after Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) ended the right of gun owners in 25 states to have their concealed carry permits recognized in Virginia.

In exchange, Republicans will agree to a major concession: Anyone subject to a permanent protective order for a domestic violence offense will be prohibited from carrying a firearm for the two-year life of the order. The issue had been a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

“This is a bipartisan deal that will make Virginians safer,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said. “It also demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on key issues like keeping guns out of dangerous hands.”

 The agreement marks the first break in a logjam in the state over gun rights and gun control marked by heated rhetoric on both sides.
The NRA applauds the bi-partisan agreement.  Not all the gun groups do, however.
There were other concessions made:

It includes an amendment offered by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) that says Virginia will not honor an out-of-state concealed carry permit held by a person whose Virginia concealed carry permit was previously revoked — a practice known as “state shopping.”

In another concession, state police must be present at all gun shows to administer background checks in private sales of guns on a voluntary basis. McAuliffe’s budget includes $100,000 to fund the activity.

Those seem like common sense ideas that might make us a little bit safer.  Those are all measures that make most of the voters happy–all but the most strident of the gun activists.


Stewart steps up his conservative cred

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart (R) announced a controversial proposal to eliminate all county concealed handgun permitting fees.

If passed, Prince William County will be the first locality in Virginia to eliminate permit fees, and Stewart expects other jurisdictions may do the same.

According to Stewart’s media release, he believes the proposed policy would benefit all of the law-abiding citizens who pass existing state background checks and meet state statutory requirements for the issuance of the permit.

Stewart insinuates the proposal is a response to Attorney General Mark Herring’s (D) announcement that Virginia would no longer recognize out of state concealed handgun permits.

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Anti-government bad-boys trumpet their take-over


“It needs to be very clear that these buildings will never, ever return to the federal government,” said LaVoy Finicum, one of the leaders of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”

Tinicum’s words sound to be like enemy take over of our lands.  They get what they deserve including being shot.yI am all for not making martyrs of these criminals but they also have seized government property.

They need to be removed.  Apparently they have free egress to come and go at will.  That needs to stop.  Let’s see how long they last with limited food and water.  They want to play hardball.  So do I.


THE Presidential Executive Order


Somehow this speech and executive order will be contrived to mean that Obama will come round up everyone’s gun.  No.  That isn’t going to happen.  No Obama in combat boots knocking on anyone’s door.

One of the breakdowns I have heard that I think will be fixed is people being allowed to buy Tommy guns and similar type machine guns under the guise of a corporate trust.  Apparently the number of people filing this kind of paper work has increased exponentially.  I am one of those people who just don’t think civilians need this kind of fire power.

My own Congressman has already bellowed and moaned about the President’s actions.  My own Congressman represents me on almost nothing, however.   He plays to the ideologues on nearly every issue.

Then I have to remind myself that I had the only Obama sign in my yard in 2012.  My street is a long one.  It goes from Splashdown to Vint Hill Road.   The sign was my husband’s sign.  He worked the Obama campaign.   That’s a long road for only one little ole sign.

The polls seem to support this latest initiative.  Furthermore, Obama has the lowest number of executive orders of any president since Grover Cleveland.  Go figure.

Out of staters’ concealed weapon permit no longer recognized by Virginia


Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Tuesday that the commonwealth will no longer recognize out-of-state concealed handgun permits, part of a national push to circumvent legislatures opposed to tightening gun laws.

Herring (D) said 25 states have lax laws compared with Virginia, where a history of stalking, drug dealing or inpatient mental health treatment can disqualify someone from carrying a concealed handgun. The move is in step with actions governors and attorneys general are taking to address gun violence without going through Republican-controlled legislatures.

“While you are here, you are subject to the commonwealth’s gun laws,” Herring said during a news conference.

But Herring’s office could not say how many people are suspected of crossing into Virginia with concealed weapons to commit crimes, and Republican lawmakers sharply criticized the move, which enforces laws already on the books.

Nevertheless, more than 6.3 million people who could legally carry concealed handguns into Virginia today will lose the privilege when the change takes effect next year. An additional 420,000 Virginians with concealed-carry permits will no longer enjoy reciprocity when they travel to six states.

Help me out here folks.  I have no idea what part of this means.    I understand that people with permits from lax states will not have their permits honored in Virginia.

Who are the 6.3 million people who are going to lose the privilege  of concealed-carry?

Why will 420,000 Virginians be cut off from reciprocity?   Is that automatic?

The 420,000 number is just about the same number of uninsured Virginians because the General Assembly won’t approve Medicaid funds.  Perhaps a deal could be struck.  I suppose that is an argument for another post.

New York Times Editorial : End the Gun Epidemic in America

The following New York Times opinion piece by the editorial board  appeared on the front page of the newspaper on Saturday, December 5.  It is the first time an opinion has appeared on page 1 since 1920.

End the Gun Epidemic in America

It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

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