Weekly Spotlight 1/19/24 – 1/25/24
Virginia politician seeking to put government in control of firearms training and education
The Commonwealth of Virginia is known as the “Mother of Presidents” thanks to eight Virginia-born men having served in the highest executive office in the nation, including four of the first five U.S. presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. The Commonwealth’s rich history is intertwined with the legacies of those founding fathers, which is one reason why it has upheld so many important principles, including being friendly to Second Amendment rights.
Unfortunately, due to the balance of power regularly shifting in the capital of Richmond in recent years, some pro-gun control politicians have been elected and emboldened to pass anti-gun measures that not only undermine Virginians’ constitutional rights but also make the Commonwealth less safe. The latest example of this comes from a politically motivated Virginia House of Delegates member, Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax), who introduced House Bill 319 in January.
This proposed legislation seeks to give the government unilateral control over Virginians’ access to firearms education and training, inevitably leading to less access to concealed carry permits. House Bill 319 would remove references to well-established firearms training curricula and instructors, including that of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), from the Code of Virginia, which could profoundly impact our fundamental right to self-defense. Instead, Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services, which is controlled by the Governor, would have sole authority over firearms education and training for those Virginians who seek out a concealed carry permit.
Restricting the number of certified instructors would put countless Virginians at risk of losing access to one of the most essential components of responsible gun ownership – education and training. California, which implemented a similar measure earlier this year, provides a clear case study to that effect. If fewer Virginians have access to the resources they need to get a concealed carry permit and stay up-to-date on their proficiency, it will only make people less safe. Lawmakers who claim to care about community safety should not be taking steps to limit access to firearms education.
It’s critical that responsible gun owners engage on issues like this. Now is the time to speak up and make your voice heard. If you live in Virginia, the USCCA for Saving Lives Action Fund provides an easy way to contact your representatives in Richmond so that lawmakers see a groundswell of opposition to House Bill 319. This is the best way to ensure that the principles of responsible firearm ownership are preserved for all Virginians. If you’re not a Virginian, we encourage you to contact your friends and family who are, tell them how to get involved and keep an eye out for future opportunities to stand up for your right to self-defense.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
When Florida became the 26th state to adopt constitutional carry, corporate media and Democrats lost their minds. None of the requirements for how citizens obtained guns in the Sunshine State changed when Florida House Bill 543 became law July 1, 2023. That didn’t stop the anti-gun press, which were not welcome at the signing, from claiming that permitless concealed carry would exacerbate shootings.
With a federal ban on AR-15s currently off the table, blue state officials have decided instead to target the supply of the ammunition commonly fired by the rifle. A coalition of 20 Democratic attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.), sent a letter on Tuesday to the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention asking the office to investigate the commercial sale of ammunition manufactured by the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. The letter alleged that the plant’s 5.56 NATO rounds—a cartridge most often used in civilian AR-15s—have “become the ammunition of choice for use in mass shootings” and asked the White House to prohibit the sale of military ammunition to civilians moving forward.
- The Highlander: California’s New Gun Restrictions Present Constitutional Questions That May Not Survive Legal Challenges
After being blocked by a federal judge in December, California’s new comprehensive gun restrictions have gone into place after the federal appeals court put an order on the previous injunction preventing its implementation. This law came in response to the national prevalence of gun violence as well as two shootings in California: Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park. While the Constitutionality of these restrictions is certainly questionable, its potential to reduce gun violence and keep Californians inherently safer is not.
On September 14, 2022, at a postal facility in Tampa, Florida, Postal Inspector agents tried to apprehend Emmanuel Ayala, an employee of the postal service, for carrying a firearm on postal premises, which is against the law as per 18 U.S.C. § 930(a). Ayala had a valid Florida Concealed Carry Permit. He often carried a 9mm pistol in a fanny pack for self-defense. Ayala fled from postal inspector agents, so a resisting arrest charge was included. An indictment was filed more than a month later. A warrant was issued on October 27th, and Ayala was arrested on November 16, 2022. Counsel was appointed and Ayala was released from custody on the same day, and discovery was ordered in the case.