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GOA Sides With the Anti-Gunners

Opposition to the McAuliffe deal has been nearly universal on the anti-gun side. Even Bloomberg’s Everytown, which is generally willing to bend to reality much of the time is pretty angry about it. I don’t blame them. If I were in their shoes, I’d be pretty pissed off too if a big issue like reciprocity was traded for the trifle they got in return. It would be like if a Governor we backed agreed to an assault weapons ban in exchange for some extra money for public ranges and more wildlife conservation.

But the fact that the anti-gun groups are engaged in an effort to twist McAuliffe’s arm out of the deal doesn’t stop a group like Gun Owners of America from joining them. They are urging their members to call their representatives and senators to oppose the deal. We’re fortunate that it has passed the Senate, so I’m not certain GOA had too much of a negative effect.

Their logic for opposition relies on two items. The first is that the voluntary checks is just the first step toward making them mandatory. I’ve long said, legislatures can always pass gun control in the future, and we know they already want to ban private transferring of firearms. The key is whether the concession weakens your position and arguments. Hate to tell you all, but when we argued that NICS would be the bees knees, in leu of waiting periods, we already largely made that concession. State police at gun shows to do voluntary checks doesn’t really further weaken our position. The camel got his nose under this particular tent in 1994.

GOA’s other premise is that there’s no state analogue mens rea requirement of “knowingly” in the state mirror to the Domestic Violence Restraining Order prohibitions from the Lautenberg Amendment. Looking at the federal statute, 18 USC 922(g)(8), I’m not seeing where it says knowingly. The Virginia bill does in fact say “knowingly.” I’m pretty sure if you can show that the person knew they were subject of a DVRO, and knew they were in possession of a firearm, the mens rea requirement is fulfilled. I admit, I don’t really understand GOA’s argument here. Proving mens rea is always part of the state’s burden for a serious offense even if the statute does not explicitly say so.

So if this deal ends up tanked, and we lose all that reciprocity, you’ll be able to thank Larry Pratt right alongside Mike Bloomberg, Josh Horwtiz, and Ladd Everitt.

15 Responses to “GOA Sides With the Anti-Gunners”

  1. Miguel says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things….

  2. KevinC says:

    NO COMPROMISE!!!1!

    This also means very, very, VERY few wins, but hey, they feel good about their purity of thought.

  3. Squall says:

    Get off my side…

  4. Jim Scrummy says:

    So glad I never joined DOA err I mean GOA. Let my SAF membership drop after their stupidity in Washington state and getting chummy with Manchin/Toomey stupidity in 2013. Fun fact, Toomey keeps pestering me for money, since I threw him a few duckets last time. Not happening this time Mr. Toomey, no cash from any family members.

  5. borekfk says:

    And this is why I hate that 3%-er crowd.

  6. Weer'd Beard says:

    Do you really think THIS will be GOA’s first accomplishment?

    They are politically pure because they are politically sterile.

  7. Ed says:

    One thought here…not to defend GOA, because they are fairly dumb, but it could be that this is necessary. They oppose and the antis oppose, so when McAuliffe signs it, he can say “see, it’s a win for common sense and bipartisanship!” Meanwhile he got taken to the cleaners, but GOA negging it gives him some cover since he can say a “major” “national” pro-gun group opposes it. Just a thought, and it doesn’t mean that GOA did that on purpose, but it could work in our favor.

  8. Dave says:

    Blog derp!
    “Proving mens rea is always part of the state’s burden for a serious offense even if the statute does not explicitly say so.”

    1) You are plain wrong that mens rhea is a requirement in VA, commonwealth vs. Esteban settled that. unknowing possession of guns on school property is a felony whether you intended to do it or not.

    2) Here is how easy it is to get a DVRO in Virginia and GOA does not exaggerate this claim:


    “3. An individual who the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on specific acts by the applicant, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others. The sheriff, chief of police, or attorney for the Commonwealth may submit to the court a sworn, written statement indicating that, in the opinion of such sheriff, chief of police, or attorney for the Commonwealth, based upon a disqualifying conviction or upon the specific acts set forth in the statement, the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others. The statement of the sheriff, chief of police, or the attorney for the Commonwealth shall be based upon personal knowledge of such individual or of a deputy sheriff, police officer, or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth of the specific acts, or upon a written statement made under oath before a notary public of a competent person having personal knowledge of the specific acts.”

    Note, the “applicant” is not subject to a requirement for any of the court officers to submit their statements and the court officer statements are not required to get the DVRO successfully.

    There have been cases where “verbal abuse” has been used to obtain a DVRO. That may not be the fault of this expansion but it’s certainly every gun owner in Virginia should be afraid. I have known people under this jeopardy, personally. Unless you’ve seen how easy it is to for this to happen, you don’t usually believe stories like this. I didn’t before. It only requires a willing, somewhat vindictive soon to be ex wife, and a whole $hitload of trouble can ensue. DVRO’s are not issued for men here. None that I’ve been able to find.

    The new section creates a NEW felony. Gun rights groups should not be in the business of creating new felonies for gun owners to get ensnared in.

    So that stinky smell has been the camel’s nose under the tent since 1994? The right thing to do with a stinky animal trying to get in your tent is shove it out, not invite it in.

    There’s one thing they’re not adequately discussion, the part of the deal that says (basically) if you have a revoked VA permit NONE of your other permits are valid in VA. On the surface, it sounds maybe ok, but remember VA makes criminal offenses out of traffic violations. Those aren’t considered for the permit revocation but similar misdemeanors like trespass – carrying in an ABC store now, thanks to EO50, Gambling, which Fairfax county police used as an excuse to Murder Dr. Salvatore Culosi Jr., , fornication – sex between unmarried couples ( yes, still on the books ), bigamy, adultery, profane swearing in public (class 4), removing a shopping cart or milk crate from a parking lot, and many more. VA has been in the business of making laws and restricting freedom longer than any other state, so it’s an art form here.

    2 or more similar offenses and they yank your permit. Like SC used to have, the commonwealths attorneys who are exempt from concealed carry restrictions tend to oppose citizen carry. it’s rare to happen but they do have the authority to halt a permit application. Just like SC did for the guy with 3 speeding tickets. Traffic offenses are excluded from the VA Revocation provision, but there’s plenty of other picayune laws that can be used to ensnare permit holders.

    i am not sure how far the courts in VA take “revoked”, as these decisions are at the individual circuit court level and difficult to keep up with, but I see it as very possible for someone

    You say that if the deal tanks, it’s Pratt’s fault as much as Bloombergs and you lose all that reciprocity. If you support that premise than you and other supporters of this deal bear responsibility for those ensnared in the new possession state felony, or the ‘revoked’ language, and all so you don’t have to buy a VA non-resident permit? because after all, you live in PA, not VA…

    kind of selfish. It’s easy to proclaim that a deal where you don’t live is good. It’s not the sunshine and rainbows you’re making it out to be. It may not be as bad as GOA says, but it’s nowhere near perfect and it certainly isn’t good.

    • Jim Scrummy says:

      You have valid points on the police state here in VA. As a VA resident myself, I will take the deal for now. Constitutional Carry failed in the VA Senate, because 1 R senator voted against it. It wasn’t Veto proof, but it still failed. This deal is not perfect by any metric, but if current situation were to stay the same, potentially losing 25 states for reciprocity, how is that a win for purity? That’s stupidity at it’s finest. Then you would have to wait until 2017, and hope to have an R Governor, Lt. Gov., and AG elected, to fix this problem for CCW permit holders. Even if you were to get these wins, what guarantee would the R Executive Branch go along with fixing the CCW permit reciprocity? What guarantee would the VA Senate stay R with a one vote margin? Hal Parrish lost with the late money ad buy by Bloomberg, that’s why the VA senate isn’t 22R.

      Like I stated earlier, it’s not a great deal, it’s an okay deal which I’ll take for now because it is all we Virginians are going to get in this political climate.

      So, in 2017 make a difference to get gun rights legislators and executive branch (Gov., Lt. Gov., and AG) people elected. It may help to get Constitutional Carry?

      • Sebastian says:

        Constitutional Carry failed in the VA Senate, because 1 R senator voted against it.

        Keep trying. That’s the real solution to a lot of the permit concerns expressed above.

        Like I stated earlier, it’s not a great deal, it’s an okay deal which I’ll take for now because it is all we Virginians are going to get in this political climate.

        Yes. By no means do I think this deal means this over. This is a draw, really. Peace made with McAuliffe for now to buy time and preserve reciprocity. If the opportunity presents itself, I’d love to see constitutional carry shoved up Bloomberg’s ass.

        If every time they try to take ground we push them back and they end up worse off than they started, eventually they’ll start asking themselves whether these small, incremental gains are worth the trouble.

    • Sebastian says:

      You are plain wrong that mens rhea is a requirement in VA, commonwealth vs. Esteban settled that. unknowing possession of guns on school property is a felony whether you intended to do it or not.

      Even if it’s not a requirement, the statute in question says “knowingly,” meaning they have to prove you knowingly committed the offense.

      Here is how easy it is to get a DVRO in Virginia and GOA does not exaggerate this claim

      If you have a DVRO, you’re already prohibited to possess a firearm by federal law.

      The new section creates a NEW felony. Gun rights groups should not be in the business of creating new felonies for gun owners to get ensnared in.

      It’s already a felony under federal law. The state mirror is a less serious one, in fact.

      • Dave says:

        Right, GOA raised valid points, but you won’t acknowledge them. A trend, when anything is not toeing the “NRA party line”. You do circle back to the ‘knowingly’ point, which has already been acknowledged. Fair enough, your opinion is no less valid than anyone else’s, however just because the feds make something a felony doesn’t mean pro-gun groups should create new state felonies, this is a bad idea on many levels. We have states now with “Mirror AWB” laws at the state level, while the federal one is long gone. State agencies don’t enforce federal laws, mostly vice versa.

        The whole RO process is ripe with abuse, and anything that props up this scheme is bad.

        Really though, this doesn’t impact you to the extent it does the Virginia residents.

        • SPQR says:

          He acknowledged them and responded. I think I would have respected your points more were they delivered with less personal invective towards Sebastian.

      • Mack says:

        You write:
        Even if it’s not a requirement, the statute in question says “knowingly,” meaning they have to prove you knowingly committed the offense.

        See the bills history:

        https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?161+sum+SB49

        http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?161+sum+HB1391

        Both of the bills as introduced were strict liability. Both of the substitutes include “knowingly” and the enactment clauses.

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