Saturday, January 25, 2014

VA:Lobby Day sees Pro and Anti second Amendment Groups at the Capitol

I have read through a number of accounts of Lobby Day at the Virginia Capitol at Richmond on 20 January.  I was drawn to study the event because of an account on wvtf public radio.   The account on wvtf said that competing crowds of people were lobbying in favor of second amendment rights and those who wish to restrict those rights, occurred on Tuesday.  I think the reporter simply got the day wrong, because all of the other coverage that I could find indicated the events occurred on Monday, 20 January, 2014.

The orientation of the reporter for public radio was clear from sentences such as this one:
  Organizers of a rally in support of unfettered gun ownership thought it ridiculous that someone could lose their second amendment rights for slapping their spouse around.
The above had no attribution and no quotes, and no acknowledgement of the federal  Lautenberg amendment, which already takes away second amendment rights for mere accusations of "violence" which may not involve physical contact.

Observers indicated several hundred pro second amendment supporters, and somewhat lower numbers of those who wish to increase government restrictions on guns.  Many observers noted that the number of second amendment supporters wearing "Guns Save Lives" stickers were down from previous years.  Others noted that those who wished for more government controls were able to bus in several loads of young people to bolster their numbers.  There were more second amendment supporters in the morning, and most of those supporting more restrictive legislation appeared in the afternoon.  Here is a picture reported to be of about one third of the second amendment supporters:

 Link to, source of picture

 Here is a picture from the public radio station wvtf of those advocating for more government power:

WVTF estimated that there was a crowd of about 500 when those who were pushing for more government power spoke, but did not differentiate between those supporting and those opposing the legislation.

A report from gave this assessment:
In terms of attendance, I saw about 400+ people wearing GUNS SAVE LIVES stickers and I saw Josh Horwitz of the CSGV doing an interview and counted just under 20 people cloistered in a conference room wearing BACKGROUND CHECKS SAVE LIVES stickers.
I suspect that observation was made early in the day before the buses full of young people supporting more legislation showed up.  From
Gun-rights activists took the morning shift, with several hundred gathering on the Capitol grounds before heading inside to lobby state legislators. Gun-control advocates gathered on the same spot several hours later in a slightly smaller but much younger and more diverse group.
 The dailypress reported that those favoring more government power were feeling optimistic because of Democrat Terry McAuliffe winning the governors mansion:

The gun-control event drew McAuliffe's wife, Dorothy, as well as Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. Both men are Democrats, as is McAuliffe.

Brian Moran, McAuliffe's choice for public safety secretary, told attendees they "now have a champion in the governor's office." He predicted a turning tide on gun issues, and event organizers said this rally was their largest in 21 years.

Still, Northam said he didn't expect a universal background check bill to pass this year. But it's coming, he said, particularly since young people seem to favor the change.
There are likely many factors to explain why the number of those in favor of the second amendment were at a low, though still outnumbering those pushing for more government power, which were at a 21 year high. 

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

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