Category Archives: Gun rights

Cause, Effect, and Regret

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by Jim McCarthy

Bacon’s Rebellion recently hosted a series of articles exhaustively parsing the procedures and policies at the University of Virginia regarding threat assessments in preventing violence related to the killing of three students and wounding of two by a colleague. The examination included the possible human failures that contributed to the event. Under state legislation, institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth had been tasked to produce policies and procedures designed to afford safety to campus communities, including intervention somewhat similar to “red flag” laws. The UVa shooter had been previously identified to campus authorities as “possessing” a firearm; upon inspection, a cache of arms was discovered in his dorm room. Cause and effect? Broken procedures and policies? Negligence?

There is no arithmetic or mathematical equation that governs or can predict cause and effect in human behavior. Unlike gravity, laws and rules of society and its organizations are essentially the overt expression of norms of behavior functioning as guides and generally will succeed because they are accepted by most as necessary to civility and peace and safety. When these guardrails fail, the effects can be deadly. Continue reading

Mass Shootings: Take A Breath Before Bloviating

by Kerry Dougherty

On Wednesday morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m., planning to head to the radio studio for four hours of happy holiday banter with my co-host, Mike Imprevento.

Then I glanced at my phone.

A news blast from The Wall Street Journal: “Six Killed in a Shooting in a Chesapeake, Va. Walmart.”

The killing occurred at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday. That’s what I get for going to bed early.

I rubbed my eyes and stared at the screen. It seemed unbelievable. SIX DEAD? IN CHESAPEAKE?

We met with our producer, Lee, in the studio at 5 and the three of us knew we would be doing a very different sort of show from what we’d planned. Fewer holiday ha-ha’s. Our neighbors were dead and dying. Tidewater would be in shock when they woke up.

When I checked local news, it was exactly as I expected: reporters contacted the usual suspects — local Democrats — and they denounced “gun violence.”

So predictable. As if a gun acted alone. Continue reading

Was Richmond’s Gun BuyBack Program a Success?

by Jon Baliles

By most accounts, the city’s gun buyback event on August 20th was a success. The city spent $67,500 in gift cards to 160 people who turned in 475 firearms, and then had to shut down even though there were more people in line.

Organizers with the Robby Poblete Foundation said they are not against the Second Amendment. “We are against senseless gun violence,” said Pati Navalta, executive director of the foundation. “We are for gun safety.”

Glenwood Burley, a retired Richmond police officer, said the line of cars was “unexpected” and considered the event a big win.

“Any gun that you can get out of someone’s bedroom, that someone may break-in and take somebody’s life with it next week, this is a win for everyone in the city,” Burley said.

Opinions vary widely on the effectiveness of such events from being a media stunt to every little bit helps, and research remains unclear whether such events have real effects on reducing gun violence. Continue reading

Rent-A-Cops in the Schools Now?

Photo credit: Mother Jones

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Halifax County School Board is planning to hire a private firm to provide security at all county schools, in addition to school resource officers (SRO).

That is the world brought to us by a gun-crazy society with its no-compromise embrace of the Second Amendment, aided by a compliant Supreme Court.

As reported by the News and Record (South Boston), the proposal calls for four school security officers (SSO) to patrol the high school, along with the school resource officers (SROs) from the sheriff and town police departments, as well as the stationing of a guard at each elementary school for the first time. Continue reading

Despite Tighter Gun Laws, Firearm Violence Up in 2021

by James A. Bacon

What role has the availability of guns played in the surge in violent crimes in Virginia over the past two years?

The graph above summarizes the data from the 2021 Crime in Virginia report. Over the two-year period, the number of firearm-related crimes increased 10.9%, while the use of all other weapons — from fists, feet, and teeth to knives, clubs and automobiles — increased only 1.9%. That indicates that Virginia’s bad guys were not only committing more crimes in 2021 than two years previously, but they were more likely to brandish or shoot firearms when doing so.

The data show clearly that guns are a growing problem, not a receding problem, in Virginia criminality. But the implications for public policy are anything but clear. Continue reading

6,000 Violent Crimes in Virginia Involved Guns Last Year

by James A. Bacon

After a spate of mass shootings, gun control has moved to the top of the Democratic Party agenda. Here in Virginia, we got a reminder this morning of the omnipresent threat that gun-wielding thugs pose to public safety. Police arrested two illegal immigrants who were allegedly plotting to shoot up a July 4th celebration in Richmond. The duo was found in possession of two rifles, a handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition.

Oh, brother. Not only do we have to worry about political radicals, Jihadists, mentally ill teenagers, and suicidal middle-aged men, now we can add homicidal illegal immigrants to our list of worries!

As the rhetoric about guns inevitably heats up, it is worthwhile reviewing the firearms-related data in the 2021 Crime in Virginia report. There were 6,102 firearms among the 17,456 weapons catalogued in crimes last year, or 35% of the total. Continue reading

Virginia’s Plan to Attack Gun Violence — Will It Survive?

by David Toscano

It has been [a month] since the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, took 31 lives and once again crystallized the need for more effective measures to combat these outrages. It is not clear whether Congress can summon the will for even the most minor of reforms, but our leaders need to transition from “thoughts and prayers” to real policy change if we are ever to combat the scourge of gun violence in this nation. Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner recently called on Congress to enact the “Virginia Plan” of gun violence reforms, based on major changes made in the Commonwealth in the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions.

Virginia Has Seen Its Share

Virginia has neither escaped the carnage of mass shootings nor the heated debates about what to do about gun violence. The 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech left 32 dead, and another 12 were killed during the 2019 shooting in Virginia Beach. Neither involved AR-15 style weapons (the killers used semiautomatics, but they were pistols). The Virginia Tech tragedy prompted creation of a government commission that brought only minor change. But Virginia remained a strong gun-rights state into the 2010s.

The school shootings at Parkland drew further attention to the issue. The Republican Speaker of the Virginia House grudgingly convened a special committee to address school safety, but then prohibited it from discussing guns. Following the Virginia Beach shootings in 2019, Governor Northam called a special session on gun violence; Republicans adjourned it in 30 minutes with no action. Continue reading

Thinking About Gun Control

by Bill O’Keefe

After each mass shooting there is an outcry for Congress to do something. In 2021, there were almost 21,000 murders involving guns and almost 700 mass shootings (those involving four or more victims).

There has been no responsible action at the Federal level because Congress seems more interested in political food fights then in taking action that can make a difference. Henry Clay once observed that politics is not about ideology; it’s about governing, and if you can’t compromise you can’t govern. Congress in the existing political environment can only compromise by accident.

The fact that Congress is paralyzed is no reason for states to avoid taking action.  In the last few years, the Virginia General Assembly has passed several gun laws.  These laws, which created a backlash in a number of counties, imposed universal background checks on gun sales, created extreme risk protective orders that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from people deemed dangerous, required gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, restored the former one-handgun-a-month law and boosted penalties for leaving guns accessible to children. Continue reading

A Proposal to Mitigate Gun Violence

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In an interesting development, one of the so-called “progressive” Virginia prosecutors has identified a direct link between someone committing misdemeanor offenses and later committing violent felony offenses.

The misdemeanor offenses that are predictors are gun offenses. After tracking  violent case histories, Ramin Fatehi, the commonwealth’s attorney for Norfolk, as reported by WAVY TV, “found it was often a pretty straight shot between low-level gun misdemeanors and violent gun felonies.” This applied both to folks pulling the trigger and those being shot.

Fatehi mentioned a number of gun misdemeanors, but said that a leading predictor was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. In the several examples of violent crimes involving guns that he cited, all the perpetrators or victims had prior gun misdemeanor charges. Some of these charges had been dismissed or set aside. Continue reading

Instant Background Checks for Gun Purchases – What is Checked and Who Populates the Databases?

by James C. Sherlock

The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is much discussed and little understood by the general public.

In an effort to help, this article will inform readers about the NICS Indices, what information is kept there and how it gets there. The information here about the NICS is quoted or adapted from the FBI descriptions of the system it runs.

Then we will look at Virginia background checks specifically.

You will find that the utility of the data used for such checks, and thus who is sold or is not sold a gun by a licensed dealer, varies a lot.

It depends to a great degree upon the prosecutorial philosophy and policies of the Commonwealth’s Attorney where the buyer was raised and has lived since reaching adulthood. Continue reading

Gun Control Debate Survives Invasion and War

by James C. Sherlock

The gun control debate survives invasion.

Ukraine. A user survey survey last week in Ukrainian government e-portal ‎Diia (1,726,452 participants in a pre-war population of 40 million) showed most Ukrainians express a desire to freely own weapons for personal use.

  • 59% are in favor of the free carrying of weapons;
  • 22% – categorically against;
  • 19% – believe that it is possible to have a weapon, but not carry it with you.

Ukraine is the only country in Europe where firearms are not regulated by statute. I suspect that the Russian Army finds that regrettable. Everything related to firearms is regulated by Order №622 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Citizens are permitted to own non-fully-automatic rifles and shotguns as long as they are stored properly when not in use. Continue reading

A Gun Owner’s Suggestion for Virginia Gun Laws

By James C. Sherlock

I was a career military man.

I am a conservative and a gun owner. As a younger man, I won competitive awards for marksmanship with both rifle and pistol.

I own a semi-automatic Glock for home protection.  I train regularly and at almost 77 can still hit what I aim at.

With that introduction, I have a couple of suggestions for gun legislation in Virginia that I hope will draw condemnation from both the left and the right so that I know I have it roughly right.

I have four criteria for firearms legislation:

  • changes that can matter to the safety of children and law enforcement officers;
  • changes that can deter criminals from use of a firearm in the commission of a crime;
  • changes that do not disadvantage the average citizen’s possession and use of firearms; and
  • changes that can pass Second Amendment review in federal court.

Those are, as a group, difficult needles to thread simultaneously.  They should be.

This article involves semi-automatic long guns – rifles and shotguns.

Continue reading

A Continuation of the Gun Debate

A Select Fire (Semi Auto / Full Auto) Glock 17

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

James Sherlock yesterday brought up a case in which a man in Virginia Beach had pleaded guilty to possessing a machine gun; in his case, it was a modified Glock. The maximum sentence for the offense is 10 years.

There was a robust discussion, primarily on the Second Amendment in general and the laws of New York. I would like to focus the discussion a little more and a fresh post seemed the best way to do that.

Because the case was the subject of a DOJ news release, I assume that the case was in federal court. But that does not matter for the purposes of the questions I want to pose for discussion, particularly by those who are defenders of the Second Amendment.

  1. Do you think that a weapon such as the one described, a Glock modified to function as a machine gun, should be illegal?
  2.  The press release said that the defendant pleaded guilty to possessing a machine gun. The maximum sentence under the law is 10 years. Assuming that this is the only offense for which he is being convicted in this case (the press release would have mentioned any others, it would seem) and assuming that he does not have a criminal record of convictions for breaking any other gun laws or violent offense, how much time, if any, do you think he should get?

Norfolk Shoot-Out on Granby Street

by Kerry Dougherty

In March of 2021, the Virginia Beach oceanfront was the scene of a shooting spree that left two people dead.

Last weekend, Norfolk’s Granby Street experienced something similar.

These shootings shock the senses, especially when innocent people are among the victims.

At least one of the Granby Street victims was a bystander, Sierra Jenkins, a 25-year-old Virginian-Pilot reporter. At the Beach last year 28-year-old Deshayla Harris was also killed by a stray bullet.

The deaths of both of these young women who were simply doing what young people have always done on a spring Saturday night were unspeakably tragic.

No sooner had the Granby Street shoot-out happened than headline-grabbing politicians announced their plans to deal with “gun violence.” Continue reading

Three More Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence in Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

There was extensive commentary on my post yesterday that recommended expanded use of stop and frisk in an attempt to reduce gun violence. Given the demonstrated interest in the subject, I offer three suggestions that go further.

Increase federal prosecutions. Federal laws, penalties, detention hearings and prosecutions are a far more formidable deterrent to street use of guns than their state and local counterparts.

Virginia should increase its referrals of firearms violations to federal authorities in the same manner and using the same joint task forces as it does with drug violations.

Criminals do not have to be rocket scientists to understand the differences in consequences between prosecutions under state or local laws vs. federal firearms laws. Their lawyers will explain it to them.

Let Virginia Attorneys General prosecute gun crimes directly without local concurrence. The far left is conflicted between their hatred of guns and their desire to reduce prison populations. When they speak of gun control, they generally do not mean no bail and heavy sentences for gun crimes.

I will go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps a woke Commonwealth’s Attorney plea bargaining a felony gun crime down to a misdemeanor is not the way to reduce gun violence. Continue reading