VCDL Scores! Go Team!


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Leatherneck
February 27, 2007, 06:58 AM
Early morning email from Phil VanCleave: VCDL throws some weight at Manassas City Council meeting:

It's 3:45 AM, I'm still wired, there could be 'type-os' in this (sorry). I simply don't know what better sums it up than "!!WOW!!"
There were way over 100 VCDL members and supporters at the Manassas City Council meeting tonight.

The Manassas City Council members were clearly shocked by the numbers.

The Mayor led off by saying that he could not remember ever seeing such a large crowd for **anything** they had done before!

I brought 40 'Guns Save Lives' badges that were distributed in minutes, leaving over half of the people without a badge. :-(

We not only filled up all the seating (100 seats - about 95% of them VCDL members), we lined BOTH walls and ran out into the hall!

A good portion of the members were open carrying during the meeting.
No uniformed officers in sight (but there were some plain clothes officers in the audience).

I led off, taking 10 minutes to describe the situation, describing the problem with officers who would abuse their power to coerce the restaurant owner to kick the 7 innocent gun owners out, and calling for the SEVERE reprimand or FIRING of Officers Chad Hyland, Rickey Clodfelter, and Tina Pannell. Hyland and Clodfelter for their total disdain for law-abiding gun owners and coercing the restaurant owner into kicking out the gun owners, and Pannell because as a SUPERVISOR she should have known better and put a stop to the 'kicking out the good guys' situation. I did say that a demotion would be acceptable for her, but that she clearly was not an acceptable supervisor.

When I was finished, the Mayor read a letter from Chief Skinner, saying, fairly enough, that he couldn't comment as there was an active investigation into the matter.

I was followed one speaker after the other for over 1.5 hours - each person getting three minutes!

The speakers were all superb, showing City Council, in no uncertain terms, that none of us are 'assclowns.'

Also THREE of the 7 gun owners at Tony's that fateful night spoke.

The Mayor was very congenial and several speakers made a point of thanking City Council for making the audience feel 'at home' (but still asking Council to fix the problem at hand). We had speakers come from over 200 miles away and a good share were Manassas residents, too!

After the meeting, 30 of us headed over to a local IHOP for a meal.

Everyone was jubilant - as we all had felt the power and comradery in the City Council Room that night. For many this was their first experience going from a gun-rights supporter to a gun-rights activist. Caution! I don't think there is anyway to go back, either. ;-)

Member Matt Gottshalk was there making a professional quality video which will be online in a day or two for those of you who would like to see and hear key parts of the meeting. He will cut it down to 6 speakers - myself, Jim Snyder, Dennis O'Connor, and three of the seven people at Tony's Pizza that fateful night in January. I will send an alert when the video is ready to view.

Channel 4 (NBC) in NoVA already ran a story on the meeting at 11 PM.

The Potomac News story covering the meeting is below. It is very well done and includes a picture to put things in perspective.
Reporter Elisa Glushefski explains the Virginia open carry laws in the article, too - an additional bonus!

In case you are wondering about my elaborate hand gesture - I was turning to ask all gun owners who were in support of VCDL's position to raise their hand.

They did and, boy, was that a lot of hands in the air!

BTW, this was the single biggest turnout for a VCDL action at any city, town, or county government meeting ever! We can turn out 60 members under good conditions, but over 100 is way beyond the norm!
Tidewater held the record when we attended a Norfolk City Council meeting some years ago, but Northern Virginia has just thrown down the gauntlet big time! ;-)

As long as we can turn out lots of gun owners for things such as this and, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, do what we did so very well tonight, we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in Virginia.

GOOD WORK, VCDL! I'M PROUD OF YOU!

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Leatherneck
February 27, 2007, 06:59 AM
Story in the press:

Gun rights group takes case to council
By ELISA A. GLUSHEFSKI
eglushefski@potomacnews.com
Tuesday, February 27, 2007


More than 50 gun rights advocates protested police conduct during an incident at a city restaurant with some calling for the firing of several of the officers involved at Monday night's Manassas City Council meeting. [It was more than 50, but it was also well over 100, too. - PVC]

The public outcry comes two weeks after Springfield-resident Russ Troxel filed a complaint against the police department about an incident involving him and six friends who were openly carrying their weapons while dining at Tony's New York Pizza on Mathis Avenue on the evening of Jan. 13.

A second complaint was filed Friday by Fairfax resident Mark Anderson who states that among other things the officers overstepped their authority by "coercing" the owner of Tony's to kick them out after they had already been there for nearly an hour.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League Inc., asked at the meeting that three of the seven responding officers - Tina Pannell, Chad Hyland and Rickey Clodfelter - be reprimanded or fired.

Van Cleave said that as the supervisor at the scene, Pannell should have taken control of the situation and told the other officers that they were legally allowed to openly carry their weapons there.

"If the police can't do this right then we've got a big problem," he said.

The incident started with a 911 call from an unnamed man who reported that the men's guns were making him uncomfortable.

It was the initial antagonistic attitude of Hyland, who demanded IDs from the men even though they weren't committing a crime, and the officer's ignorance of the law that Troxel's and others said is unacceptable.

Troxel, who was among those who attended the meeting, said the officers also refused to accept paperwork documenting the state's open-carry law.

Police Chief John J. Skinner said he would like to comment publicly but can't because the complaints are part of an internal investigation.

The timeline for the investigation could be extended if new information or witnesses is revealed, he said, adding that he plans to discuss the new complaint with the investigator today.

The men say they were within their rights because Virginia law requires that weapons be carried in the open in places that serve alcohol.

And while carrying a concealed weapon requires a court-issued permit, no permit is required to carry a gun in the open.

The manager of Tony's has said that the men were asked to leave because of several complaints the restaurant received from regular customers.

In Anderson's complaint, he also says that one of the officers cursed at him "repeatedly" throughout the incident.

At least two of the officers refer to the men "assclowns" and "retards" in intradepartmental messages and e-mails that were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Mike Stollenwerk, one of the founders of Open carry.org.

In an e-mail Clodfelter sent five of the other officers the day after the incident, he copied the state code that prohibits patrons from carrying concealed weapons in any place that serves alcohol and concludes that they were legally allowed to carry their guns openly that night.

In the same e-mail, Clodfelter also wrote: "My guess is the over-compensating assclowns at Tony's were hyper-aware of all this, and that's why they started crying like little babies when their event got spoiled by the whole 'let's get the owner to tell them to get the f-- out' thing."

Troxel and the six other men are members of a forum on Opencarry.org.

Skinner said he would release the findings of the internal investigation when it is completed.

Spot77
February 27, 2007, 08:08 AM
For many this was their first experience going from a gun-rights supporter to a gun-rights activist. Caution! I don't think there is anyway to go back, either. ;-)



So true. I remember the first time I attended a legislative hearing here in Maryland. I didn't know a single person there, but now I communicate with many of them on a daily basis.


God bless the VCDL.

romma
February 27, 2007, 08:43 AM
Man! You guys at the VCDL to things right! You folks could easily be the grass roots model for a lot of other areas in the country. :)

71Commander
February 27, 2007, 08:48 AM
great read and way to go. Don't be surprised if nothing happens to the officers but next time the patrons may be able to enjoy a meal in peace. I guess that's a win.:confused:

30 cal slob
February 27, 2007, 08:53 AM
i love the VCDL (and I don't live in VA, but I open carry there sometimes).

I wish the gun owners in my state were just as militant.

-slob

p.s. were you guys open or CCW'ing @ IHOP afterwards? :neener:

carterbeauford
February 27, 2007, 09:02 AM
Congrats... good to read. Officers need to be terminated. I OC in VA and don't need to worry about garbage like this :barf:

Spartacus451
February 27, 2007, 09:12 AM
Congratulations! Great work! The culture of superiority in LE is going to take a big hit in Virginia. Maybe they will think they actually have to enforce the laws instead of making them up.

vis--vis
February 27, 2007, 09:27 AM
That's great!!

Cant wait to hear the vid.

Deanimator
February 27, 2007, 09:48 AM
great read and way to go. Don't be surprised if nothing happens to the officers but next time the patrons may be able to enjoy a meal in peace. I guess that's a win
If nothing happens to the officers, then something needs to happen to the city, namely a big fat lawsuit.

I don't know about in Virginia, but here in Ohio, cities have to put tax levys on the ballot to raise money. Parma, a Cleveland suburb, had an ugly problem with police overtime fraud. When it came time to pass tax levys for police services, the voters didn't believe that the police REALLY needed more money. In fact, I think they didn't believe it a couple of times. Tightened them right up.

Standing Wolf
February 27, 2007, 04:40 PM
The Manassas City Council members were clearly shocked by the numbers.

Every politician in America should feel overwhelmed by those who support the Bill of Rights.

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