Up front — I think the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is the most awesome grassroots organization imaginable, and I’m proud to be a member. The work the organization does for the rights of gun owners in Virginia is immeasurable, and the Board of Directors is incredible, doing ever so much more than just guiding. In fact, I have no problem saying if you aren’t a member, go join before reading further. If you really, truly cannot prioritize $25/year, at least sign up for the VA-ALERT.
So it is difficult for me to criticize, and this is meant only constructively, with no bitterness and only disappointment. Recently, the organization released a VA-ALERT (if you aren’t a subscriber, shame on you) quoted below in its entirety. I’d link you to the VA-ALERT, but I can’t find it, so I can’t expect readers to.
The disappointment I felt was that the VA-ALERT covered only two candidates for President. Many of us know that in Virginia, there will be five candidates on the ballot. Incumbent Barack Obama represents the Democrats; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the Republicans; former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson the Libertarians, Dr. Jill Stein the Green Party, and former Congressman Virgil Goode represents the Constitution Party this year. The Constitution Party is not on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of obtaining enough electoral votes to win the election. The other four parties have a mathematical, if long-shot, possibility.
As noted in the VA-ALERT, surveys were mailed to all five candidates (in fairness, only recently – within the past couple of weeks). Only Virgil Goode amongst the presidential candidates has returned his.
Two of the four candidates are profiled in the piece below. The two with the lowest probability of winning were not profiled. In the interest of NON-partisanship, I provide additional information.
Please vote your conscience — but VOTE.
Candidate Jill Stein, Green Party
PRO: (I didn’t find any; perhaps there are some.)
CON: (Summary: Favors strong regulation of gun ownership; http://www.jillstein.org does not mention guns at all)
QUESTION: “Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?”
ANSWER: “It is more dangerous to the occupants of a home to have a gun than not. It’s more likely that you’ll be injured by your own gun than that you’ll be defended against some intruder with that gun. It’s an enormous public health problem in our cities– there are tragedies every day where young people are being shot, as victims of gun crimes. It’s tragic. We’re not arguing that nobody should have a gun–but public safety should factor into constraints.” “OnTheIssues Interview with Jill Stein,” www.ontheissues.org, Dec. 21, 2011
QUESTION: “Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?”
ANSWER: “For public safety, gun ownership should be appropriately regulated.” Project Vote Smart “Political Courage Test,” www.votesmart.org (accessed July 13, 2012)
QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons? (Jill Stein was asked the same questions the major-party candidates were asked in debate.)
ANSWER: “We certainly need an assault weapons ban, but we need more than that. There are some 260 people every day who are injured or killed by gun violence, so it’s very important that we ban assault weapons, for starters, but there are other steps that need to be taken quickly. Local communities need to be able to regulate guns, as needed, to deal with their violence. So, we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need background checks, so that the mentally ill are not possessing and using guns. And we need to end the gun show loopholes, as well, because there’s far too much violence from guns, which is not needed.”
Candidate Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party
QUESTION: “Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?” ANSWER: “I’m an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment and openly advocated conceal carry as Governor. It was a new concept at the time, but I believed it would result in less crime – a fact borne out by the statistics.” “Guns Must Never Be Up for Grabs,” www.garyjohnson2012.com (accessed Oct. 13, 2011)
QUESTION: Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?” ANSWER: “Now, the DOJ’s [Department of Justice's] plan to address gun trafficking is to require law-abiding citizens in border states to be reported and entered into a federal database for buying perfectly legal rifles from licensed dealers. Not only will this requirement do absolutely nothing to curb violence on either side of the border, it is yet another unacceptable infringement on fundamental 2nd Amendment rights. It is an outrage that this Administration is using border violence as an excuse to add the names of more law-abiding gun owners to their database. The President and his Attorney General need to get off the backs of American gun owners, and focus on policies that will actually work to stop border violence – without eroding basic constitutional rights.” “Governor Johnson Calls Department of Justice Reporting Requirement an Outrage,” www.garyjohnson2012.com, July 13, 2011
QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?
ANSWER: Banning certain categories of firearms or otherwise restricting our constitutional right to own them will not make us safer. Giving up our hard-won freedoms in the guise of safety will hardly make us safer or more free. Instead, we must affirm that the Second Amendment is an individual right and that gun rights are just as important to liberty as are freedom of speech and religion. (http://www.policymic.com/articles/16793/gary-johnson-presidential-debate-what-the-libertarian-nominee-would-have-said-at-the-debate-last-night/250781)
QUOTE: The Second Amendment: Individual or Collective Right? “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.” April 20, 2011, Slate Magazine QUOTE: “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing gun violence.” 12 Nov, 2000, An Interview with Playboy magazine.
CON: ( I didn’t find any; perhaps there are some.)
VCDL’S VA-ALERT of November second:
VCDL cannot endorse candidates, but we can look at their records, their
statements, and their VCDL surveys (or lack thereof). It is NOT our job to be a
cheerleader for any candidate or any Party. We give you the scoop and you
decide on where your vote will go.
Keep in mind that the U.S. Senate is critical to protecting gun owners from any
hare-brained gun-control schemes that might come from the U.N. The Senate is
also critical in vetting Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, of
which there is probably going to be at least one during the next four years.
Currently we have only a single vote between us and some real problems for our
Here is some information about the candidates for President and for U.S. Senator
* As President, Obama signed a bill with an amendment to allow gun owners to
carry in National Parks. This vote is strongly moderated by the fact that the
main bill had nothing to do with guns and was a bill that Obama wanted to see
passed. Without a line-item veto capability, he had to either kill the entire
bill or sign it with the pro-gun amendment attached. He chose to sign it.
* It was a similar situation with another bill and an amendment to allow guns to
be transported on AMTRAK. Gun owners seemed to be simply along for the ride on
that bill, too.
* President Obama did not return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey
* In the debates with Romney, Obama confirmed that he wanted the ban on "assault
weapons" in his next term and hinted that he wanted a ban on inexpensive
handguns, too. Not good news for poor people.
* President Obama reversed the U.S.'s long standing position of opposing any
U.N. gun bans.
* A reporter documented the Brady Campaign bragging about President Obama
telling them that he was working on gun control "under the radar."
* The news was filled with how Mexican Drug Cartels were getting 90% of their
firearms from the U.S. Using the excuse of the drug cartels getting those guns,
the Obama Administration ordered the BATFE and gun dealers to report all sales
of two or more semi-automatic rifles sold to the same person in a five-day
period in states bordering Mexico. Upon inspection, the 90% number turned out
to be massively inflated and was clearly presented so as to deceive Americans on
the true number of guns going to Mexico from the U.S.
* A secret project called Fast & Furious under the Obama Administration was
uncovered after a U.S. Border Patrol officer was murdered by someone using a gun
that was one of thousands of "assault weapons" and other guns smuggled to the
Mexican drug cartels with the blessings of the Obama Administration. The clear
intent of Fast & Furious was to falsely accuse U.S. gun dealers of smuggling and
to drum up support from the U.S. public for a ban on "assault weapons" and to
expand the required reporting on multiple semi-automatic rifle sales.
* President Obama selected two very anti-liberty Supreme Court candidates that
were later confirmed.
* President Obama's Attorney General Holder said early on that the
Administration wanted a ban on "assault weapons," but quickly withdrew that
comment after the trial balloon was not received well.
* Before he was President, Obama sat on the Joyce Foundation Board of Directors
- an organization that funds anti-gun efforts around the U.S.
* As an Illinois state Senator, Obama's voting record and positions were
absolutely dismal on guns. There didn't seem to be any gun control that Obama
* In the debates with Obama, Romney said that he did not believe that any kind
of firearm should be banned and that he supported enforcing current laws.
* During his Presidential campaign, Romney has not called for any kind of gun
* Presidential candidate Romney addressed the annual NRA convention (a positive,
but not a strong one).
* Presidential candidate Romney has publicly said he does NOT support a U.N.
treaty that would ban guns.
* Did not return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey.
* (Closer to neutral) As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed an extension
of the "assault weapon ban," but the bill contained improvements and protections
wanted by gun-rights groups, no new guns were banned, and the bill passed with
the blessing of gun-rights groups.
* As Governor, Kaine signed a few minor gun-rights bills to either clarify
existing law or to improve the CHP application process.
* Governor Kaine signed one strong bill (allowing CHP holders to have a
concealed handgun on K-12 school property as long as they stay in their vehicle)
that had passed BOTH houses by a VETO-PROOF majority.
* Kaine has refused to return the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey.
* As Governor, Kaine vetoed the restaurant-ban repeal TWICE. I cannot think of
a single pro-gun bill being vetoed by any other Governor since VCDL has existed.
* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to allow a non-CHP holder to have a loaded
gun in a locked container or compartment in a vehicle.
* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to clarify that a person who is not hunting
can have a loaded gun on public highways.
* As Governor, Kaine vetoed a bill to allow a person without a CHP to carry on
their own property outside of their curtilage areas.
* As Governor, Kaine pushed hard, using a lot of political capital, to get a
"gun show loophole" bill passed into law. He even ordered the Superintendent of
the State Police to testify at the General Assembly in favor of the bill.
* The Attorney General ruled that State Parks had no authority to ban open
carry. Governor Kaine ordered State Parks to ignore that ruling and to keep the
open carry ban in place.
* As Mayor of the city of Richmond, Kaine actually used tax-payer money to fund
buses to take gun-haters to the Million Mom March in D.C. in 2000. When he was
called on that illegal move, he paid for the buses out of his own pocket.
* Allen HAS returned the VCDL Federal Candidate Survey pro-gun.
* As Governor, Allen signed Virginia's first "Shall Issue" CHP law into effect.
* As Governor, Allen successfully modified the new Shall Issue law to allow for
concealed carry at special events
* No bad votes. A mostly neutral item: as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in
2000 Allen said he would vote to extend the "assault weapon" ban, but later
changed his mind and supported letting the ban sunset.
THE 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Just when I thought we were through with the 7th Congressional District, I've
been forwarded an email from Marty Ryall, with Eric Cantor's' campaign, which is
a total mischaracterization that needs a response. The issue is that
Congressman Cantor has refused to return his VCDL Federal Candidate Survey.
(His opponent, Wayne Powell, returned his survey very pro-gun at the end of
August.) Cantor has been given the survey to answer at least three times, one
of which has placed directly in his hands at his gun-free fund raiser in
Richmond last month.
Here is the email being sent by the Cantor campaign with my rebuttal:
In regard to the VCDL, you should know the facts. That organization continues
to attack Congressman Cantor through phone calls, mail and e-mails, even
distributing his home phone number in unfair attacks. They cannot point to a
single vote he has made in Congress that they take issue with. [PVC: VCDL has
NEVER said Cantor had any bad gun voters WHILE IN CONGRESS, but that cannot be
said while he was in the Virginia General Assembly.] They are upset that he
occasionally participates in events at venues where guns are not allowed.
Congressman Cantor’s duties and obligations often take him to schools,
government buildings and other venues where guns are not allowed. [PVC: VCDL
has NEVER protested Cantor for doing his duties and obligations as a Congressman
at places where guns are banned. We have protested when he is campaigning and
has control of the venue, yet chooses gun-free-killing-zones.] That has
absolutely no bearing on his strong pro-gun positions and record. Until the
VCDL demonstrates that they will treat Congressman Cantor fairly, he will not
participate in their activities. [PVC: Not telling his constituents exactly
where he stands on key gun-issues, especially those which he voted wrong on in
the past, is VCDL's fault? Sounds to me like the real issue is that he doesn't
want uppity constituents asking him any serious questions.] But rest assured,
he will continue to defend theirs, and your rights of gun ownership. [PVC:
Except, perhaps, for some of the items on our survey that he doesn't want to
talk about. Sadly, Cantor just doesn't get it - his problems with VCDL are all
Congressman Cantor, treat your constituents fairly by just answering the VCDL
survey. It's not like we're asking for your first-born child.
QUESTION: "Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?"
"I'm an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment and openly advocated conceal
carry as Governor. It was a new concept at the time, but I believed it would
result in less crime - a fact borne out by the statistics."
"Guns Must Never Be Up for Grabs," www.garyjohnson2012.com (accessed Oct.
QUESTION: Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?"
"Now, the DOJ's [Department of Justice's] plan to address gun trafficking is
to require law-abiding citizens in border states to be reported and entered into
a federal database for buying perfectly legal rifles from licensed dealers.
Not only will this requirement do absolutely nothing to curb violence on
either side of the border, it is yet another unacceptable infringement on
fundamental 2nd Amendment rights. It is an outrage that this Administration is
using border violence as an excuse to add the names of more law-abiding gun
owners to their database. The President and his Attorney General need to get off
the backs of American gun owners, and focus on policies that will actually work
to stop border violence – without eroding basic constitutional rights."
"Governor Johnson Calls Department of Justice Reporting Requirement an
Outrage," www.garyjohnson2012.com, July 13, 2011
The Second Amendment: Individual or Collective Right? "I don't believe there
should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None."
April 20, 2011, Slate Magazine
"If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going
to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are
going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing
gun violence." 12 Nov, 2000, An Interview with Playboy magazine.