Virginians, Don’t Spread Russian Agitprop!

I’m not unsympathetic to Virginians who declare Second Amendment sanctuaries around the state. They’re an in-your-face retort to sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. If liberals scheme to devise ways to evade laws they don’t like, don’t be surprised if conservatives do, too. But a good thing can go too far. Like when Second Amendment sanctuary counties establish “militias” to circumvent gun-control laws. And when paranoid delusion passes for fact on the Web, such as this certifiably insane Facebook quote attributed to Governor Ralph Northam:

You will give up your guns. If you don’t I’ll have the National Guard cut your power, your phone lines, and your internet. Then, if you still refuse to comply I’ll have you killed.

As the conservative Daily Caller News Foundation reports, there is no evidence that Northam ever said such a thing. Wow! The Daily Caller had to check? Northam has done a lot of things I don’t like, but I am 99.99% certain he’s not a blood-thirsty killer.

The Facebook post, published by a group purportedly called Americans Against the Republican and Democratic Parties, has been removed. The assertion is so reckless that I have to think it is Russian disinformation disseminated for the sole purpose of stirring up unrest. Russians will be Russians, and I don’t know there’s much we can do to keep them off the Internet. But, people, we don’t have to spread their agitprop! Everyone needs to chill out! Packing county supervisor meetings is a commendable exercise in civic rights. Spreading garbage on the Internet gives the Second Amendment sanctuary movement a bad image.

Wait! There’s more!

Billboards like this are popping up around Virginia, according to the Daily Wire.

Maybe Northam will back plans to “confiscate” peoples’ guns, maybe he won’t. But at this point he is making no such claims. While he does want to ban “military-style assault weapons,” Northam has said he wants to include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own such weapons. He will require gun owners to register the weapons, but there is a world of difference between registering guns and confiscating them.

Gun rights people — you do yourself no good by spreading inaccurate alarmist information. There are a lot of people on the fence. We could swing either way on particular pieces of gun-control legislation. If you want our support, a prerequisite is for us to believe what you tell us. Billboards like this don’t help!


P.S. This is likely my final post for 2019. Sorry it couldn’t be more uplifting. New Year’s Resolution for everyone: Let’s all try doubly hard to not do crazy stuff in 2020!

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18 responses to “Virginians, Don’t Spread Russian Agitprop!”

  1. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

    I think I know what Ike would say about all of this:

    “The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.”

    I suppose we must find someway to hold our political figures accountable. If not, than how can we hold each other accountable?

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Saw the billboard briefly, but too briefly to read the message. The bill as introduced (certainly it may change) makes it a class 6 felony to possess a firearm that meets the new definition of “assault weapon,” and it is hard to imagine somebody being charged for having it but being allowed to remain in possession of it. So confiscation is a logical outcome. I agree the source of that outrageous statement which Northam clearly did not make is somebody seeking to stir an already boiling pot. The reality is concerning enough.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Never really been clear to me the issue with the “types” of “arms”. Apparently semi-auto “assault” weapons are the irritant but I don’t see anyone advocating (for instance) for the “right” to own fully-automatic “arms” and have “sanctuaries” for machine guns!

    Seriously – what is the distinction ? We don’t own bazookas or howitzers or stinger missiles and God knows if the wacka-doodles could get their hands on some of these kinds of arms – we’d have even more spectacular mass killings – perhaps hundreds of victims per “event”.

    I’m no advocate of taking basic handguns or long rifles but I do wonder why we have banned sawed-off shotguns or “tommy” guns without a whimper from the gun rights folks.

    Apparently you CAN own some of these weapons but it’s “hard” – lots of rules ….”restrictions”…….

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Some things are weapons of mass destruction (machine guns), and some merely look like they are. As I read the definition in Senate Bill 16, with exception of the magazine in excess of 10 rounds, most of the defining characteristics appear cosmetic. They make the weapons look more scary.

      1. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds;
      2. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the rifle; (iii) a thumbhole stock; (iv) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (v) a bayonet mount; (vi) a grenade launcher; (vii) a flare launcher; (viii) a silencer; (ix) a flash suppressor; (x) a muzzle brake; (xi) a muzzle compensator; (xii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a muzzle brake, or (d) a muzzle compensator; or (xiii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (xii);

      Can’t remember the last time a grenade launcher was used in a mall shooting…..or a bayonet, for that matter. I will feel (and be) no safer if this passes, and will feel (and be) much less safe when the gun battles start as the government seeks to enforce this. Hello – anybody remember Prohibition? Did it make Americans more law abiding and safe or less?

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        It’s my recollection that Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban was cosmetic in nature and allowed manufacturers to design around the ban. If it weren’t for the requirement for a fixed magazine, my replica of an 1861 Enfield musket would qualify as an assault weapon because it has a bayonet mount. This is foolishness.

        And I still haven’t seen any elected official address United States v. Miller. Heller mentioned Miller as follows: “We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” Hundreds of thousands of law-abiding people have owned semi-automatic weapons for years. How does the GA reconcile the language in SB 16 with Miller and Heller?

        And Larry, the only reason that saw-off shotguns didn’t get protection in Miller was the fact that the case was decided without any participation by Miller or his attorneys. Had someone argued his side it could have been shown that short-barreled shotguns or trench guns were used in World War One. Applying Miller’s logic, the sawed-off shotgun would have passed muster.

        I still stand puzzled by arguments that constitutional rights found in penumbras and emanations of the Constitution should get more protection than ones set forth directly in the Bill of Rights.

      2. TMT, seems to me that the cases you mention all deal with boundaries. The boundary of the Second Amendment is that it does not prohibit every limitation on civilian guns or their use, only some. Well, which “some”? We all know the example that freedom of speech does not allow someone to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater — well, freedom to carry arms does not allow them to be carried into courtrooms, or arguably anywhere, even owned, if they are military-style weapons of mass destruction of lives and property. Well, what are the limits of those exceptions? Etc. etc. etc. Miller and Heller both deal with those limitations, those exceptions. I say let’s continue to talk about those rationally, not malign each other with fire-stoking billboards and the rest of the widespread misrepresentation of the facts we are seeing/hearing on this issue.

        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          I guess I wasn’t clear on my point. Both Miller and Heller permit limited regulation of firearms under certain circumstances.

          Miller was not litigated in a normal manner. Miller was a bank robber who testified against his companions. The trial judge knew he would disappear upon release (the court below ruled for Miller) and not defend the case before SCOTUS. He didn’t. No one appeared to argue Miller’s case before the Supreme Court.

          Key language in Miller includes: “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense. ”

          Had this been a normal case, Miller would have produced evidence that short barrel shotguns were used in both the Civil War (how much more militia-like can one get?) and in the then-recent World War One (trench guns). With that evidence in the record, SCOTUS would not have concluded short-barrel shotguns could necessarily be prohibited by the National Firearms Act.

          Judicial notice is a rule in the law of evidence that allows a fact to be introduced into evidence if the truth of that fact is so notorious or well known, or so authoritatively attested, that it cannot reasonably be doubted. E.g., the sun rises in the east.

          I don’t think that SB 16 squares with Miller or Heller.

          I agree the billboard is way over the top. But it’s quite comparable the rhetoric from both sides of the abortion debate. Sauce for the goose, anyone?

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    I think of it more in terms of not whether it “looks” scary but whether it has the potential to kill dozens of people in a few minutes …. and yes a 40mm grenade launcher could easily do that say in a Church or a city park, etc.

    The point here is the word “restriction”.

    Do we restrict weapons?

    is that the same as restricting “arms”?

    to me, it looks like we’ve got wrapped around the axle on the words – the semantics…

    I, for one, do not want weapons that can kill dozens / hundreds in the space of a few seconds or minutes to be so easily available that wackadoodles can get them and use them.

    I suspect I’m not alone on that thinking no matter how else we might interpret the word “sanctuary”.

    Nobody should need to litigate the idea that grenade launchers should be available to any/all who desire them. That’s not “sanctuary”.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      A grenade launcher when grenades are not actually available is not much of a threat. Explosives are a whole different category. These are basically toys for arrested development types who want to pretend.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Steve said above;
        “As I read the definition in Senate Bill 16, with exception of the magazine in excess of 10 rounds, most of the defining characteristics appear cosmetic. They make the weapons look more scary.

        1. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle …

        I will feel (and be) no safer if this passes, and will feel (and be) much less safe when the gun battles start as the government seeks to enforce this. Hello – anybody remember Prohibition? Did it make Americans more law abiding and safe or less?.”

        Steve’s point is well taken.

        So why the bill?

        I suggest this bill is made as intrusive, abusive, and useless as possible to prove an important point critical for today’s in control progressives, namely, that they can pass any law they damn well please, and others better not forget it. Hence the need for private firearms in the first place, all as our founders so wisely understood. As individuals we live in a dangerous world. We must never forget or be unprepared for that fact.

  5. I have been around the 2A effort and never saw anything like this. The legitimate groups aren’t as wild in the “stories” getting around.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” A grenade launcher when grenades are not actually available is not much of a threat.”

    the point is – is the fact that you cannot get one – a “restriction” on your 2nd amendment gun right?

    do we actually already have “restrictions” on “arms” right now? And should we take those restrictions away because they “infringe” on our right to arms?

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      You can get a federal license to own a grenade launcher in the United States. I believe it’s a Class III Destructive Device, as are the grenades themselves. People with appropriate federal licenses, granted after background checks, paperwork and a $200 fee, buy and sell automatic weapons and destructive devices that are Class III Devices. These are fully automatic machine guns.

      Here’s a statement taken from Bear Arms Firearms in Scottsdale, AZ. “Bear Arms is a Class III dealer of NFA items and destructive devices. YES! In the great state of Arizona, you too can own machine guns, suppressors, short barreled rifle and shotguns — even destructive devices, such as grenade launchers and cannons. We do all the paperwork for you for free, so stop in and let us explain the process to you.”

      So let’s get the discussion back to reality.

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        Still, no actual grenades. They are little bombs, in the same class with other explosives. But everybody is missing the point that in all the cases of horrible criminal acts so far, no use of grenades (and you can’t kill somebody with the mounting screw…..).

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    @TMT – re: ” People with appropriate federal licenses, granted after background checks, paperwork and a $200 fee, buy and sell automatic weapons and destructive devices that are Class III Devices.”

    so.. the REALITY …IS that there actually ARE “restrictions” on the 2nd amendment right to “arms”?

    Don’t you see that right now – there ARE restrictions – where you do have to get a permit, and you are registered and on a list and not everyone can get one?

    This is like a gigantic blind spot – we already HAVE “restrictions” – and a clear dividing line between the right to own “some” arms and not others..

    Where is that dividing line and why is it where it is right now and why can’t it be removed or adjusted so that more people can exercise their 2nd amendment “right” to bear the kind of arms they want to own? Why can’t most folks not own a grenade launcher without restrictions?

  8. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Larry, I bet that if you had the desire and the spare cash to purchase and be licensed to purchase a grenade launcher, you could do. You can’t walk into a Cabelas and walk out with a grenade launcher or a Thompson sub-machine gun. But you could work with a licensed firearms dealer and go through the required checks and paperwork and wind up owning these types of weapons.

    You could buy and own a grenade but would need to go through the same process as necessary to own the launcher.

    I’m not arguing that there can be no regulation of firearms but, at the same time, people without criminal records and who go through the required background checks can spend a lot of money to purchase military-grade weapons manufactured before 1986. The argument that no ordinary person can own machine guns, grenade launchers, bazookas, etc. is simply fallacious. Many among the anti-Second Amendment crowd are lying in their arguments.

    One of the major problems we face as a society is the failure to enforce the gun laws we have. What if we aggressively enforced the laws against straw sales?

    1. Then why would it be unreasonable to ask an owner to go through a similar Class III permitting process for concealable semi automatic long guns or large capacity magazines? To say, we need to enforce the rules on the books; what to you tell the hundreds of people killed or wounded in Las Vegas? Those guns were legally purchased and owned by a law abiding citizen. And since he took his own life, you can’t argue that the jurisprudence process was a remedy.

      I own guns, legally. But I have no need, nor see any need for an assault rifle. These to me are soldier of fortune cosplay accessories for the same “arrested development” crowd referenced above.

      I know this is not the bill in place for review, but to me, that seems like a legal, and reasonable solution. If you can prove in a consistent and ongoing manner you are a sane, safe, and competent adult, fine own that buried bus load of AR15s. If not, then it’s just too dangerous to let these things into the world with less supervision than a jet ski.

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        I don’t own any post-1898 firearms and don’t really like guns. But I do respect the Constitution and the legal process. Frankly, your or my view of what firearms are “needed” by Americans is irrelevant and immaterial. If it were otherwise, why can’t someone’s view of what types of speech are “needed” by Americans control the First Amendment? (We have some of that going on in society and it scares the hell out of me. Do you really want someone determining what you can say or write?) Or why can’t a legislature determine that property of “rich” or “poor” people can be taken without due process and fair compensation? The Constitution is intended to protect others from allowing people like us from trampling the former’s rights based on our preferences.

        The Second Amendment is no different than any other part of the Constitution. Just like one cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater or incite a crowd to murder someone, ownership of firearms can be regulated but only within the framework of constitutional law. It’s not unreasonable per se to require a background check for a gun purchase to determine whether a person is a felon or has other disqualifying reasons. It’s not unreasonable for a person to go to court to demonstrate a gunowner is mentally unstable such that firearms should be removed (at least temporarily) for the duration of the impairment. But the law is clear beyond debate that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to bear arms. And what those arms are is related to what is used by people involved with a militia.

        Absent confiscation of every semi-automatic in the country, criminals and crazy people will get access to them. And they don’t follow the law. Witness the guy who killed two people and would have killed many more in a Texas church except for the fact that an armed congregant shot and killed the bad guy. The guy was angry because the Church wouldn’t give him cash for drugs and alcohol.

        And beyond the protections of law, if and when society can guarantee that no criminal or crazy person will have access to a semi-automatic firearm, then talk about denying access to semi-automatic firearms by ordinary people.

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