Important Legislation for a Short Session

Virginia has “short” and “long” sessions of its legislative session.  This is a “short” year, when legislators tell you they haven’t much time, and must deal with the most important issues.  Here is just a sampling of some they apparently put in that category.

 

HB 1420
Newborn screening; Krabbe disease. Requires the screening tests conducted on every infant born in the Commonwealth to include a screening test for Krabbe disease and other lysosomal storage disorders.

This is not the first time the Virginia legislature has dictated what tests must be run on newborns.  whether or not a person with an actual medical degree believes it necessary.

HB 1515

Information for maternity patients; safe sleep environments for infants.  Information for maternity patients; safe sleep environments for infants. Adds information about safe sleep environments for infants that is consistent with current information available from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the list of information that licensed nurse midwives, licensed midwives, and hospitals must provide to maternity care patients

Not only does the legislature want to practice medicine; it also wants to dictate what information your pediatrician or other health professional must provide you, removing all discretion based on medical knowledge and individual cases

HB1548

Revocation of concealed handgun permit; delinquency in child support payments. Provides for the revocation of an individual’s concealed handgun permit if such individual (i) has failed to comply with a subpoena, summons, or warrant relating to paternity or child support proceedings or (ii) is delinquent in the payment of child support by 90 days or more or in an amount of $5,000 or more. If the obligor remedies the delinquency, reaches an agreement with the obligee or Department of Social Services to remedy the delinquency, or complies with the subpoena, summons, or warrant, he may reapply for a concealed weapons permit.

Because the two are so closely related.  Doesn’t matter that you can’t afford your child-support payments, your life is not worth maintaining. Fortunately, does not note that one may carry a firearm in Virginia without a Concealed Handgun Permit.  This is a nose under the tent to removing firearms eligibility.
What happened to “punishment should fit the crime”?

HB1566

Grading system for individual school performance; star number scale. Requires the Board of Education to develop an individual school performance grading system and assign a grade or a series of grades to each public elementary and secondary school using a five-star to one-star scale, five-star being the highest grade. Current law requires individual school performance to be reported by October 1, 2016, using five letter grades from A to F.

Uh, excuse me?  The current six-letter scale uses A-F, but apparently we think our students and parents can’t understand the same grading method we use to grade them.  Let’s make it a five-star scale.  What?  Are we rating hotels?  Is this really an issue?

HJ593

Losing Loved Ones in a Tragic Accident Month

Who doesn’t want a “Losing Loved Ones in a Tragic Accident” Month?

HB2331

Definition of fur-bearing animal.  Defines the fisher as a fur-bearing animal in hunting and trapping provisions of the Code of Virginia. The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a small carnivorous mammal native to North America. It is a member of the weasel family.

Apparently, Virginia law has to mirror wikipedia, which lists 70 references for the animal..  Never mind that there is an entire branch of science devoted to Mammalogy, and that scientific documentation of species identifiers already exists.  I doubt (though I can’t be certain) that any members of the General Assembly are members of the American Society of Mammalogists, but perhaps they should be?

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Barriers to entry

I’ve been taking a lot of flack from self-defined “one-issue” voters lately. What’s annoying is that these are really not one-issue people at all, but they think they are. They (most of them) think “conservative” is an issue and the Tea Party defines “conservative.”

I refuse to vote the self-identified “conservative” candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race.  Because every gun-rights group in the Commonwealth has endorsed him, I’ve been called stupid, a traitor, a “liberal” (as a pejorative, of course), misguided, and other terms.

What many of these people – people who have known me for years – fail to realize is that gun-rights is simply the barrier to entry.   After that, you other positions come in to play.  If you don’t support my gun rights, I don’t recognize your “right” to my vote, pure and simple.  That lets out Terry McAuliffe, though I have a strong handful of other reasons.  My only other absolute barrier is a conviction that the Tennessee constitution got it part right (“Whereas Ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no Minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.”) and I’d carry that to “any elected office”.  Those are the barriers to my vote.

After the barriers comes the curtain – the other civil rights.  Candidates can pass the curtain if I disagree with them on these issues, but only if they have very very strong credentials and a record of respecting others’ beliefs and practices.  Among these are the right to marry the person I choose; the right to confer with my doctor and elect those medical procedures best for me; the right to speak my mind even if that speech might offend your god; the right to be treated equally under the law; and the right to insist that your religious preference not affect mine.    In other words, believe what you want, but don’t restrict others.  After that, I assess life experiences and personal characteristics.  And I consider whether my votes can help keep the government split.  That is, all else considered, let’s assure that no one party controls the Governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature.

It’s that latter set of criteria that many of my gun-rights acquaintances don’t understand.  I believe that in their minds, those rights are inextricably linked, and individuals can have differing opinions on each and every one of them.  It’s a matter of prioritization, and deciding which have to be met and which can be squishy.  In my mind, the gun-rights question must be met, and a combination of the others must be met.  Cuccinelli can’t meet any of them.

Both barriers are in place for LG.  That’s a shame, because the LG is an important person in Virginia, with tie-breaking authority in our evenly divided State Senate.  “None of the Above” as a write-in is the only option.  I feel this is a cop-out, but it is the only way an American has to show that no candidate is acceptable.   We are literally prevented by election law from expressing our opinions.  Even a “none of the above” is seen only in the category of “write-ins” – also-rans – unless there are enough of them the same.   If all voters would write in, maybe the message would be carried, but there are just too many who are happy to select all the people with the same letter after their names, no matter their qualifications.

I am still seeking the election that has a slate of candidates without barriers.

There are Other Candidates

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

PRO:

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 
gun rights. 

Here is some information about the candidates for President and for U.S. Senator 
from Virginia. 

PRESIDENTIAL RACE 

President Obama 

Positive: 

* 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. 

Negative: 

* 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 
didn't support.  

- 

Mitt Romney 

Positive: 

* 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 
control. 

* 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. 

Negative: 

* 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. 

SENATORIAL RACE 

Tim Kaine 

Positive: 

* 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. 

Negative: 

* 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. 

- 

George Allen 

Positive: 

*  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 

Negative: 

*  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 
self-inflicted.] 

--- 

Congressman Cantor, treat your constituents fairly by just answering the VCDL 
survey.  It's not like we're asking for your first-born child. :-)  
Johnson's Responses: 

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. 
13, 2011) 

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.
Published in: on November 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bruce Shuttleworth’s candidacy for Congress

Just got off the phone with Bruce Shuttleworth, Democratic candidate for Congress and the only one amongst those on the ballot next Tuesday whom I have not yet eliminated from consideration.

He’s drunk too much of the koolaid from the Dems on guns, but is willing to listen, I think.  (Like – if you want “assault weapons” go in the military.  So I asked why I had to give them up after I retired, and he had no answer.)  After I challenged him on his parroted responses (“reasonable” gun control, “extended clips,” licensing, gun-show loophole myth, etc.) he offered to go shooting with me.   I didn’t ask about one gun a month, since that’s a state issue and not one he’d be expected to vote on.  Somehow I don’t think we can win him over, but I’d wager a little bit that he won’t be lockstep with the Brady Bunch.

While he hasn’t gained my vote yet, he hasn’t lost it yet either.

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Cuccinelli the politician

The saint of the social busybodies, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, sponsored a brief in the DiGiacinto v. the Rectors and Visitors of GMU case. The wording in the brief came eerily close to a page from the Brady Bunch’s playbook.   It went so far as to assert that preschoolers would be at risk if a gun owner carried into a campus building.   This after he told the Virginia Citizens Defense League last year the case was “indefensible.”

Well, yeah, it was indefensible, thus the emotion-laden, “think of the children” far-out scenarios.  This is the page from the Bradys — if you can’t use logic, then scream with emotion, invent situations, and portray gun owners as idiots who turn from polite citizens off campus to raging lunatics the moment they step on campus.

Guess the Brady’s made a bigger campaign contribution.

There’s one good from this, albeit a small one.  Cuccinelli’s silent.  That is also unusual.

NRA being hypocritical AGAIN

We’d been talking about perhaps heading to Charlotte, NC for one day of the NRA annual meetings.  After all, we’re both life members.

Then we learn the NRA has contracted to hold its annual meetings in a place that does not allow the carry of firearms.

What hypocrites.

The NRA is supposed to be fighting working for the rights of law-abiding, gun-owning Americans.  Unless it’s inconvenient.

Ted Nugent, supposedly a fighter for our rights, is quoted in the latest issue of America’s First Freedom as saying Americans have to make their voice heard.  Yeah, right.

THIS American will be letting the NRA know what I think.

I’ve come to the realization that the NRA’s greatest strength is it’s propensity for self-promotion.  Second is it’s ability to try to guilt its members into sending donations.

Fun with Fairfax County … NOT

Dummy here let a Concealed Handgun License expire.  My fault, and I have no excuse, so some of this I brought on myself.  Had I mailed the renewal, I could have avoided some of this frustration.  Still, I have to wonder who thinks this stuff up.

According to Virginia law, I carried my firearm openly to the courthouse, and safely secured it in my vehicle prior to entering the courthouse.   FAIL #1.  At the entrance to the courthouse proper, though (NOT in the parking garage, where one could be proactive) is a sign that prohibits all kinds of things bureaucrats are afraid of — knives (no matter the blade length), firearms, cameras, voice recorders, etc.  You know, the stuff that might show what they do, or do not do, as the case may be.

Daughter had her camera in her purse, so she returned it to the car.  She was going to take our phones, which have cameras, but we discussed and decided they wouldn’t take our phones.  WRONG.  They don’t care that people might need to get in touch with one another from inside the courthouse.

So at the door, when the guard wants to take my phone, I told him I had to wait until my daughter returned, as she’d never find me inside.  FAIL #2. He informed me I couldn’t wait for her inside the doorway.  Not “please step outside so others can come through this narrow walkway” but “you have to go outside to wait.”  I told him of course I would, but I resented being ejected from my courthouse.  That was where he told me it was his because he worked there.

Daughter returns from the car; we’re going to give up our phones.  FAIL #3. Guard tells me I have to give up my holster too.  Never mind that it’s empty.  He tells me gun paraphernalia is not permitted in the courthouse.  I ask for a citation, since the law says firearms are not permitted, and he tells me not to quote the law to him; he knows what he’s been told. (BTW, this is not the first time an official in Virginia has used that line — “don’t quote the law to me”; I know it’s been used in Prince William County and have now heard it myself in Richmond and Fairfax.)  After I asked for a citation, he called a deputy.  When she arrived, I asked her the rationale for having to give up my holster, and she informed me, and the guard, I needn’t.  Of course, I did have to remove my belt and holster to go through the metal detector; I’m surprised they didn’t ask me to remove my shoes and underwear as well.

FAIL #4.  NO SIGNAGE. I knew I needed to submit the application to the clerk of the court.  On the first floor, that office is listed as room 304 — which we never found.  Eventually we found a sign that said for information go to 301, which we did find, and that person told us to go to 319 — which is in no way marked for clerk of the court; it says Civil Intake.

KUDO. Debby.  I didn’t bring extra copies, or a self-addressed, stamped envelope.   Nothing on the state police web site or the application says these are required.  Nice lady at the window tells me the state police website says these are jurisdictional (which means exactly what to me?) and I need to go to the Fairfax County website to see this information.   When I said “Oh, yes, the extra-legal requirements” she immediately made copies for me and handed me an envelope to address.  Perhaps they’ve heard that before.

Back to the front door, gather up confiscated phone.  Outside, I took a photo of the sign prohibiting recording devices (photo).  At this point, I truly expected to be stopped from doing so.  When I got home, I uploaded this photo, and looked up the authorizing sections of the code (cited below).  I sure don’t see authority for him to prohibit recording.  I suspect there are two factors at work — protecting the unions that the transcriptionists belong to, and protecting court employees who do stupid things.  I come from that old school, apparently, that believes court transactions are supposed to be open, protecting ONLY the identities of the innocent.  Where I’d draw the line is:  Proceedings = public; Records = private by default, with discovery being the point where a release/no-release determination is made.

The security at the courthouse might make some feel safe, but could likely easily have been circumvented (she posits, given the way in which they dealt with my mentally retarded son, who wasn’t in any mood to empty his pockets or give up his belt or radio, despite my best efforts to get him to comply).  The efficiency with which business could be transacted could be improved hundredsfold with some appropriate signage.  I’d bet a month’s pay that the number of people needed to run the courthouse could be significantly cut with some appropriate policies put in place (or a bunch of policies rescinded), some decent signage, and a culture that believes MOST people are there to take care of business quickly and professionally, not to thwart the bureaucrats.

——————————————-

Code sections referenced by the sign:

8.01-4. District courts and circuit courts may prescribe certain rules.

The district courts and circuit courts may, from time to time, prescribe rules for their respective districts and circuits. Such rules shall be limited to those rules necessary to promote proper order and decorum and the efficient and safe use of courthouse facilities and clerks’ offices. No rule of any such court shall be prescribed or enforced which is inconsistent with this statute or any other statutory provision, or the Rules of Supreme Court or contrary to the decided cases, or which has the effect of abridging substantive rights of persons before such court. Any rule of court which violates the provisions of this section shall be invalid.

The courts may prescribe certain docket control procedures which shall not abridge the substantive rights of the parties nor deprive any party the opportunity to present its position as to the merits of a case solely due to the unfamiliarity of counsel of record with any such docket control procedures.

17-116.2(B) The chief judge of the circuit shall ensure that the system of justice in his circuit operates smoothly and efficiently. He shall have authority to assign the work of the circuit as between judges, and in doing so he may consider the nature and categories of the cases to be assigned.

NRA ignorant or misinformed, or both

Got this neat NRA ‘get out the vote’ e-mail urging me to attend political rallies this weekend.  The first one they listed WAS HELD IN A NON-GUN-FRIENDLY location — Interstate Van Lines in Springfield.

The politicovermin have a right to rally wherever they want, and of course the property owner has the right to determine behavior on his property.
But for NRA to sponsor and endorse this?  Bullshit.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

One-issue voters, and party voters

I’ve written before that I cannot in good conscience vote for an Attorney General who only wants to enforce laws he agrees with, who thinks the AG should be involved in the legislative process, and who expresses such vehemence against fellow humans who disagree with his worldview.  I was once again reminded since I’m a gun owner and advocate of 2nd Amendment rights, I must vote for Cuccinelli.  Bullshit.    Since he’s right only on guns, I cannot reward his arrogance, pigheadedness, and pandering.  The other candidate is not only wrong on guns, but has shown an amazing willingness to read laws with a preconceived notion of how he wants to interpret them.  He has been negative, and has been sponsored by single-issue organizations I’ve spent much of my adult life opposing.

Then yesterday I got a stupid robocall “press 1 for …” political survey, which asked who I was going to vote for for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and delegate, and whether I had favorable, unfavorable, or neutral opinions of various candidates.  Finally, it asked if I would vote Democrat or Republican.   No option, on any of the questions, for “other”.  To quote one of my favorite characters — DUMBASS!  I vote issues, not candidates.

In this November election, the Republicans won’t leave me alone, and only one Democrat has contacted* me, asked my opinion on anything, or asked for a vote (I think.  I wasn’t feeling well, and asked the volunteer to call back another time; she never did).

* – disregarding the junk mail that arrives 2-3 pieces, from each candidate, per day

“None of the above” will be my write-in as my candidate of choice.

ALMOST Anybody BUT Cuccinelli (or: I Made a HUGE Mistake)

I’ve been mistakenly supporting Steve Shannon for Attorney General in Virginia.

All this time, I thought he had voted to override SB1035, commonly referred to as the “restaurant ban”.  Virginia has a law that says you may not carry a concealed weapon in a restaurant that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises.  Thes, it’s open carry only.

Unless you’re a Commonwealth Attorney (whether or not you have a concealed handgun permit).

Or a Deputy Commonwealth Attorney (whether or not you have a concealed handgun permit).

Or other categories of privilege.

Shannon has in the past few days proven himself to be susceptible to the Brady Bunch’s attitudes, and appears to have taken his campaign ads from their website and from Omar Samaha.  (Yes, he’s the guy who took $5000 from ABC to “prove” he could buy a gun without ID.   Got news for ya, guy.  So can any criminal on the DC streets.)

Since I cannot in good conscience support Ken Cuccinelli, I need to find an AG candidate within the next 11 days.