1. VCDL/LEO Benefit Match - error in calculating team scores discovered and fixed 2. Action Item: Buckingham County to consider noise ordinance that affects guns on Oct. 13 3. Alexandria is getting even slimier, now trying to find ways to ban guns in non-government polling places 4. Politics over public safety in Fairfax County 5. Gun controllers know their message is not popular, so they change tactics in swing states 6. Thoughtful piece in WaPo: conflict between castle doctrine and no-knock warrants 7. Richmond gun control isn't working (shocking!), as shootings continue to rise 8. Massad Ayoob - what TO say to the police if you are involved in a shooting
1. VCDL/LEO Benefit Match - error in calculating team scores discovered and fixed No sooner had the alert gone out yesterday announcing the winner of the inaugural VCDL/LEO Benefit Match, then an email arrived and I am told that there was a miscalculation on one of the team scores.
Initially the order of the LEO teams from best score to worst was Powhatan County, York County, and then Culpeper County.
It turns out the score for Culpeper County was grossly miscalculated and the correct order from best score to worst score is:
Culpeper County, Powhatan County, and York County
I was mortified and so was Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club president, Bob Schmidt, who gave me the bad news.
We have to make this right, so I am letting everyone know and I will be transferring the trophy from Powhatan County to Culpeper County as soon as I connect with Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins. Powhatan Sheriff Brad Nunnally, who is a gentleman AND a scholar, took the news in stride and said, regardless of winning or not, his team had a great time!
2. Action Item: Buckingham County to consider noise ordinance that affects guns on Oct. 13 Buckingham County is going to get public input and possibly vote on a noise ordinance that will affect the discharge of firearms in the County on Tuesday, October 13. Here is the provision that affects firearms:
(13) Lawful discharge of firearms, NOT TO EXCEED MORE THAN 2 HOURS EVERY 6 HOURS , or lawful hunting
The meeting starts at 6 pm and will be held at:
Peter Francisco Auditorium Buckingham County Administration Bldg. 13380 W. James Anderson Hwy Buckingham, Va 23921
Let's send the Board of Supervisors an email or call them to oppose any new shooting restrictions. Here is the contact info for the Board:
BTW, Buckingham County has not put forward a "No local gun-control" resolution, but has been asked by residents to do so. A little pressure on that issue might be useful, too. Here's a link on how to do that: https://vcdl.org/2AResolutions/
3. Alexandria is getting even slimier, now trying to find ways to ban guns in non-government polling places So, George McAndrews, a senior assistant city attorney for Alexandria, is trying to find a way to ban the otherwise lawful carry of firearms in non-government polling places. Here is what he sent out to other local-government attorneys. Notice how he floats the idea of buying a gun ban using a "bit of financial support" to the Registrar's office:
This is directed to those of you whose locality has enacted an ordinance, pursuant to newly enacted Va. Code § 15.2-915, prohibiting the possession of firearms in local government buildings, parks and recreation centers. Alexandria's ordinance closely tracks the language of the state code provision.
We've concluded that local boards of election and voter registrars are agents of the Commonwealth. Most of Alexandria's polling places are in City-owned buildings. However, a few are in privately-owned buildings. We would like to treat all polling places the same, and prohibit the possession of firearms in all City polling places on Election Day. However, I question whether the City has the authority to do so in polling places that are located on private property and staffed by election officers chosen and assigned by the Registrar, a state official.
Have any of you considered this issue? I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on whether the City can ban guns in polling places located on private property. Would the answer be different if the annual City budget provides a bit of financial support to the Registrar's office?
George McAndrews Senior Assistant City Attorney
4. Politics over public safety in Fairfax County Key points from Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity's newsletter on the farce of a public hearing in Fairfax County on their gun ban:
Gun Ban in Public Buildings, Parks and Permitted Events – The final item of our meeting was a public hearing on a weapon ban in public buildings, parks, and permitted events where we had nearly 100 speakers. The Board has a process of working through ordinances in committee meetings prior to a public hearing and always defers decision on issues that generates as many speakers as we saw the other night. Instead, the Board moved forward to vote for this ban 9-1 despite valid concerns not addressed in the ban that were shared by constituents and echoed by several other Board members. To me this vote needed to be about public safety and not politics. After careful review of the studies and listening to the testimony from both sides I came to the conclusion that a ban on guns, especially those with concealed carry permits, does not make our public places any safer and in fact puts some of our residents at a greater risk. I explain my thoughts further below.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has a history of open honest discussion that gets us to better answers. At the last Board meeting that history went out the window in favor of national politics. It is concerning not just because of the items that were passed but because of the way they were passed with disregard for established Board process. Many residents expressed concern about the failure to follow our typical processes both at the meeting and in the days that have followed as well as how they felt they were not listened to nor represented. Two highly controversial hearings were scheduled last on the public hearing agenda, resulting in votes in the dead of night and early hours of the following morning. On the last item of the day the Board heard almost 100 speakers on a weapons ordinance that did not go through our typical committee process. The Board then took a vote at 2:15 AM without addressing the comments and questions of speakers and several Supervisors. The Board used to be about local issues and listening to the concerns of constituents, but national politics won the day at the last meeting. Below I will share with you some of my thoughts about the last meeting and why I voted the way I did.
Ban on Guns in Public Places At our last meeting, the Board passed an ordinance to ban guns, including conceal carry permit holders, from the County's buildings, parks, public spaces and permitted events. I moved to amend the ban to exempt concealed handgun permit holders, but the amendment did not receive support and I voted against the ban.
To me this vote needed to be about public safety and not politics. After careful review of the studies and listening to the testimony from both sides I came to the conclusion (described further below) that a ban on guns, especially those with concealed carry, does not make our public places any safer and in fact puts some of our residents at a greater risk.
Policy Issues Many speakers raised issues with the language of the ordinance that would fail to protect religious groups, public events, the elderly and vulnerable on trails, those with restraining orders, as well as those wanting to stand up to bad actors who have threatened their family. I heard no specific testimony on how banning guns would actually make public buildings safer.
Inconclusive research. Before the hearing, staff shared with the entire Board the answer to a question I raised at our previous Board meeting on whether there is conclusive research showing weapons bans in public places results in greater public safety. They shared there is no such independent research, only research from various groups that affirms their public political position. See full comments here starting at the 7:44:28 mark.
Virginia Beach Shooting. While the Virginia Beach shooting was one of the reasons cited for allowing localities to ban guns, it is actually a case study against the ban. Employees in Va Beach were prohibited from carrying guns. The shooter was an employee and as with most bad guys did not follow the policy. However, Kate Nixon an employee who did follow the ban was left defenseless because of the ban. Her husband, Jason Nixon had told his wife to hide a pistol in her purse and take it to work because of concerns about a fellow employee — she had training and knew how to use it — but she didn't want to break city policy forbidding employees from bringing weapons to work. She was shot once in the shoulder and later in the head and was left without the ability to defend herself because of the ban. Read more here.
Women and Domestic Violence Victims – Many women testified that the gun they have been trained to use is an equalizer for them if attacked by a man in a secluded area such as our park trails. Others testified that they are victims of domestic violence need a way to defend themselves until the police arrive
Religious Community – Many religious communities currently utilize trained and armed membership to protect the events they hold in public spaces. We heard very specifically from the Jewish community that they have been subject to and are seeing a rise in threats during the pandemic and need well-trained, affordable security for their members to feel safe exercising their First Amendment rights. The ordinance as passed leaves them unable to defend themselves at public or permitted events.
Do Gun Bans Work? – We heard testimony that seventy five percent of our nations non-suicide gun deaths occur in twenty neighborhoods. Those twenty neighborhoods are in jurisdictions with some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation.
Depolicing – Because of issues at the national, state and especially the local level, our police department has not been doing the proactive policing that has made us the safest jurisdiction of their size in the nation. This is a problem the Board needs to address but in the meantime our citizens need a way to protect themselves until the police arrive.
Fiscal Impact/Security Plans – While the Board stated that we have been working towards this ban for many years there were no plans on how they were going to protect citizens in our buildings, parks or permitted events. Neither plans for security nor the total cost of signage, metal detectors and security personnel were not included in the Board item as typical.
Patchwork of laws - With at least 28 other jurisdictions in Virginia who have voted 'No' to a ban on guns, I share the concern that there will be a patchwork of gun ban counties that will confuse those trying to follow the law, especially those with concealed carry permits.
Access for Hunters- Many who use County parks to access hunting and fishing raised concern about how this ordinance would impact their ability to enjoy those recreational activities. Despite the concerns raised by the public and two Board members, the ordinance did not provide this exemption and will leave the decision to NOVA Parks.
Process Issues This ordinance did not run through our normal committee process where we work out details and work to make it better. Board members always say we do the bulk of our work in committee. I had asked for this to go through committee but did not receive support. Other jurisdictions like Arlington and Alexandria are already looking to revise their ordinances because they moved them through too quickly. I believe we will be revisiting ours because it was rushed. Because this ordinance did not go through committee, we did not have a chance to discuss enforcement or how we were going to keep our citizens safe. In final comments, Supervisor Lusk shared his concern that there may be issue with many law-abiding, well-meaning gun owners who unintentionally break this law. He asked for enforcement to be lenient but there is no Board-discussed plan.
We heard from almost 100 speakers who raised valid concerns that were echoed by several Supervisors, yet the ban was rammed through at 2:15 a.m. at the end of a 14-hour meeting. The Board has a tradition of deferring decision on items where we have a significant number of speakers so that we can consider the input of our residents. In the 1:00 AM hour of Wednesday morning Supervisor Stork actually learned that we could have exempted parks and suggested that we should revisit the ordinance to consider that. Supervisor Gross and Stork wanted to protect the rights of hunters to launch at our regional parks, but unfortunately the ordinance as written does not guarantee that. It put the decision in the hands of NOVA parks and other jurisdictions. These items could have been fully vetted and/or fixed in committee meeting or by a deferred decision – but politics overruled process.
Some of my colleagues justified moving forward with the ban because it has been on our legislative agenda for years. Unfortunately, there is a very large difference between a policy statement and the details provided in an ordinance. Policy statements do not have fiscal impacts – ordinances do. Policy statements do not have security plans – ordinances need them. We had no discussion on the fiscal impact.
Most disturbing was our residents' concerns that their opinions and testimony did not matter despite staff presentation of inconclusive studies and numerous testimonies. One glimmer of hope is that several Board members voiced concerns not addressed in the ordinance as the result of testimonies shared. Their concerns highlight the need to follow established committee process and also the value of your testimonies. My hope is that Board votes in the future are more responsive to constituent feedback.
5. Gun controllers know their message is not popular, so they change tactics in swing states Michael Bloomberg knows gun-control isn't a winning proposition and really dares not reveal his true agenda in swing states. So, Bloomberg is having Everytown talk about healthcare instead of gun-control in those states!
7. Richmond gun control isn't working (shocking!), as shootings continue to rise Mayor Stoney said his gun control would reduce shootings. Meanwhile he has not one, but THREE armed security guards. Not quite up to Bloomberg's level of five armed-guards.
8. Massad Ayoob - what TO say to the police if you are involved in a shooting Massad Ayoob, who has been in law enforcement for many years, makes some important points about what to say when the police arrive after you are involved in a shooting: