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Virginians, Stand up and pay attention

Discussion in 'Activism' started by ZeSpectre, Jan 9, 2008.

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  1. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Here's the update Phil sent out last night. It was a great day, I was glad to see so many of you there!

    We estimate that almost 400 gun owners showed up at the General
    Assembly today!

    There was a SEA of orange "Guns Save Lives" badges on all floors.

    It was truly impressive. The cavalry had arrived!

    The metal detectors were going off almost continuously at times and
    the overwhelmed police had to bring in extra people to handle the huge
    load to check CHPs!

    Once inside, people were assigned to a team. The teams went through
    the building talking to Delegates and Senators and leaving VCDL
    Legislative Analysis documents with aides. I talked to some aides who
    were quite impressed with the quality of the VCDL people and the sheer
    number of members that seemed to be everywhere.

    Elevators were jammed with people and even the stairs were jammed!


    I arrived at 8:30 AM for the hearing of SB109, Senator Marsh's "Gun
    show loophole" (AKA, the private sales registration) bill in the
    Senate Courts of Justice. Testimony on the bill began at 10 AM. The
    antis got 35 minutes to speak, as did our side. Only two or three VT
    parents spoke, the rest of the speakers were either police (disgracing
    the badges on their uniforms) or lobbyists.

    The antis brought up their usual baloney and misleading "facts."
    Colonel Massengil and the Superintendent of State Police (who was in
    uniform) spoke in favor of the gun show bill. Massengil tried to
    tout himself as being pro-gun.

    When asked by one of the Senators how many criminals got their guns at
    a private sale at a gun show, the Superintendent had to admit that he
    didn't know.

    While the antis spoke, all the gun owners were quiet and did not
    disrupt or heckle them.

    But, when our turn came to talk, things were different.

    Joel Patridge, the NRA lobbyist for Virginia, was heckled and applause
    at the heckling drowned him out at one point. He looked at Senator
    Marsh, the committee chairman, to bring order. But Marsh, who had
    been running the meeting with an iron fist before, just sat there for
    a while and then weak-wristedly brought down the gavel and the room
    finally came to order.

    I spoke after Joel, and it was even worse. Again, as I spoke the
    antis heckled and were very unruly, clapping loudly and long at the
    heckling. When there was an outburst, I would stop speaking and wait
    patiently for Marsh to get around to bringing order. The suddenly
    weak-wristed Marsh would eventually get around to bringing order.

    When I started pointing out that the bill would be onerous on dealers,
    gun shows, and private sellers, Democrat Senator Saslaw shamelessly
    playing to the hecklers, ask me if the VT parents had been
    inconvenienced. ( More on Senator Saslaw other antics in an upcoming

    Again unruly applause and heckling took over the room as Marsh sat
    there impotently.

    In the end the committee decided to vote on the bill on Wednesday at
    the 2 PM meeting. I will be there for the vote. I am optimistic -
    delaying the vote was probably done because Marsh didn't have the
    votes to pass his bill. But it isn't over until the fat lady sings.

    ***If you have NOT contacted your representatives on SB 109, PLEASE DO
    SO NOW!***

    Our side presented itself well and the antis showed themselves to be
    their usual rude and inconsiderate selves.

    THE "LIE"-IN

    At 12:45, EM Dave Vann was taping signs on member's backs with
    messages like, "Freedom is NOT a loophole." The members then headed
    over to stand around the antis when their protest started at 1 PM.

    We had about 200 people show up at the protest, dwarfing the
    approximate 100 antis!

    As I approached the protest, I was taken aback by the image of all
    those white VCDL signs blanketing the protest, drowning out the antis'

    And the antis got mad. They tried to get us kick out, but the police
    told them that their protest was a spectacle, which draws spectators.
    He pointed out that we weren't doing anything but standing and
    observing, all of which is protected by the First Amendment.

    The antis, fuming, walked away from the police officer to pout
    somewhere else.

    We had one member assalted by an anti who shoved him out of the way,
    saying, "This is OUR protest!"

    Nice people, aren't they?


    It is 10:30 PM as I write this and I am STILL at the General Assembly
    listening to key mental health bills. Activist Roy B. Scherer was
    kind enough to loan me his computer to type this alert while I am
    waiting for a bill to come up.

    It looks like we may well end up with a good, supportable, mental
    health bill. But the Devil is in the details and we will be looking
    at the final wording to see if it satisfies our concerns and watching
    the bill to see that bad wording isn't slipped in.

    I will be at the General Assembly again on Tuesday (tomorrow) the
    Senate is going to hear the library ban bills, amongst other anti-gun

    I will advise the outcome of those bills.


    I am collecting interesting stories of things that happened on Lobby
    Day. Either interaction with the antis or perhaps with Delegates and
    Senators. If you have such a story, email it to me.

    I have not seen the news, but we should have been all over it. I was
    interviewed by the AP, WRVA (radio station in Richmond) and TV stations.

    Thanks to leadership and many of our EMs for their help making Lobby
    Day a success!

    VCDL - good turnout, good work - I'm proud of you guys!
  2. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

    Apr 10, 2007
    Great work,Phil Van Cleave and the VCDL.
    Makes me feel proud to be an American.
  3. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    The Land of Northern Hospitality and Southern Effi
    We didn't make it in time for the HB129 hearing, but we got to run around and lobby State Senators. VCDL had it well organized! Makes me proud to be a member.
    Basically, here's what happened:
    We met, and got together with Group Leaders (groups were between 5-7 people) and we each got a section of Senators and Delegates. Our sections overlapped to ensure that each Senator and Delegate saw lots of us!

    The Group Leaders asked the Senators and Delegates to consider VCDL's legislative analysis on bills and showed what we supported, didn't support, and were neutral on. Then, the rest of us would chime in with reasons, etc.

    The 5 Senators we hit were all open to hearing our ideas and 4 of them had CHP permits. In fact, one asked if we had seen her bill. Of course it was in the packet, she was open to the change and stated that she would run it by her Delegate compatriot.

    All in all, the Senators or their Legislative assistants knew who we were and that they had heard from HUNDREDS of us on the issues. Well, next time folks let's make it in the THOUSANDS and make the computers crash!

    Good job!
  4. Tin Gizel

    Tin Gizel Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    My first time doing something like this and will definately do it again in the future.
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