First, I must admit to being entirely too pessimistic right along when it came to the likely outcome of this thing. Credit is due to the VCDL, who if nothing else managed to demonstrate to ordinary Virginians who may not feel as strongly as VCDL’ers do about the 2A that the real threat of violence does NOT come from law-abiding gun owners. They showed themselves to be calm, rational, reasonable Americans who are willing to expose themselves to great hazard to exercise their Constitutional rights, both First and Second, peaceably.
No, it is not in the least likely that any meaningful number of minds were changed by the protest. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that no Democrat-Socialist politicians will rethink a damned thing; they’ll be back again, and again, and again, until gun owners either knuckle under or a not-insignificant percentage of them are swinging from lampposts, or at least given a ride on a rail sporting a new tar and feather suit.
But was it worth doing anyway? I dunno; my feelings on that are a bit mixed. Looked at from a purely pragmatic angle, the protest made little or no real difference. The Democrat-Socialist gun-grabber legislation remains in play, wending its way through the Virginia legislature regardless, with more and even worse in the pipeline. A pre-Lobby Day post from Cam Edwards examines the details:
As we get closer to Virginia’s Lobby Day on Monday, I’m seeing more and more hyberbolic posts on social media about how Virginia is now under the thumb of a tyrant, misinformation about non-existent bills being signed into law, and other attempts to gain attention or stoke people’s fear and anger.
To say this isn’t helpful is an understatement. We’re currently just a few weeks into Virginia’s legislative session, and the fact is, not one bad bill has become a bad law. Nothing’s been signed by the governor yet. In fact, nothing has even gotten to his desk at the moment. We’ve had three gun control bills pass out of the Senate, but the House hasn’t even had a single committee hearing on any gun control legislation. In fact, Virginia gun owners are actually having an impact on the debate in the legislature, thanks to the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement that’s swept across the state and has led to tens of thousands of engaged citizens contacting their lawmakers to oppose Ralph Northam’s gun control agenda.
I don’t believe that Northam has the authority to institute his gun ban in Capitol Square, but unfortunately the Virginia State Supreme Court didn’t reach the merits of the case brought by VCDL and GOA. Instead, the court ruled that the groups didn’t file the necessary paperwork with the Court, and refused the petition, leaving open the question of whether or not the governor has overstepped his constitutional authority.
As for Northam’s gun control legislation, here’s where things actually stand right now…
Clearly the civic engagement of gun owners in Virginia is helping to mitigate some of the worst of these bills. We are having a positive impact on some pieces of legislation, and the Democrats are far from unified in what their gun control bills should look like. It’s one thing to cut a campaign ad promising “common sense gun safety measures.” It’s another thing entirely to actually write a piece of legislation that isn’t a total mess.
Gun owners in the state of Virginia need to keep contacting their lawmakers to politely but firmly urge them to reject Northam’s gun control agenda. Now is a time for civic engagement, not civil war. Even if the worst of these bills become horrible laws, they can and will be challenged in court. Virginia gun owners need to play the long game right now. We are making a difference at the state legislature, but that will likely change if there is any violence during Monday’s Lobby Day.
Thankfully, there wasn’t any. In another post, Edwards highlights a real jawdropper:
The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is alive and well, even in the state of New Jersey, where Cape May County freeholders unanimously approved a resolution this week declaring the county a “sanctuary” for gun owners. As NJ.com reports, the move comes just a couple of weeks ahead of a campaign rally for President Donald Trump.
NJ.com goes on to say that “nearly half of Virginia’s counties” have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, but according to the Virginia Citizens Defense League the current tally is 91 of Virginia’s 95 counties, along with 45 cities and towns in the state.
For now Cape May is the only county in the state to adopt such a resolution, but as the website notes, two towns in the northern part of the state adopted similar language in late 2019. Other counties and townships may soon follow.
New JERSEY? Wow. I didn’t see THAT coming. Like, ever. Who knows, maybe some few NJ fence-sitters might find the example set in Richmond this week reassuring, and inspire a gradual, step-by-step migration over to the right side of the issue.
As I said, I’m conflicted about all this. Herschel’s view is probably closest to my own at the moment:
Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciate the folks who could make it today. I had initially intended to go despite my belief that it was a perfect opportunity for a false flag event. I changed my mind when I found out about the cages. I reconsidered when I saw that the rally was big enough to accommodate armed folks outside the cages, but I had to work today. I think it would have been nice to be there with like minded folks.
But this isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.
Now the real battle begins. It’s going to be vitally important in the very near future for Virginians to know where their county Sheriff stands, or where there city police stands, and to know where their neighbors stand. The real work will be taking local county commissioners and Sheriffs out for coffee, fisking their true intentions, personal training, organizing a militia, and making sure that communities stand together when the time comes to defy the laws.
Defiance of the laws means no state agent arrests citizens for ownership of MSRs or standard capacity magazines. It means counties are sincere, clear-headed and intentional in their opposition to unconstitutional laws, and it means that they know the cost and are willing to bear it.
This will have to be done by Virginians, while everyone else tends to life back in their own communities and presses forward with the same sorts of plans. It was always going to be this way. A rally was never going to stop the controllers.
But what it does do is prepare the ground. When the state is surprised that there is armed opposition to enforcement of the gun laws, your community can honestly say, “We warned you and you didn’t listen. The warnings are finished, and froggy time has begun. Lie in the bed you made.”
Public protest is undeniably part of the blood, bone, and sinew of this nation, going all the way back to the Boston Tea Party. In more recent history, mass protest didn’t end the Vietnam War, abortion, or the war/occupation/whatever it is in Iraq and Afghanistan. Protests, marches, and rallies didn’t resolve racial discord or mend relations between the (two! TWO!) sexes. Nor have they had any discernable impact on climate change, famine in Africa, poverty in Detroit, or murder in Chicago.
But in evaluating the usefulness (if any) of the Richmond event and other such protests, surely the passage I boldfaced above is worth taking into consideration too. If the only worthwhile result of events like Monday’s Lobby Day march is to provide a little reinforcement and inspiration to our like-minded fellows—a confidence-builder, a morale-booster, however slight—well, that ain’t nothing. A little encouragement in the right place, at the right time, can lead to great things. Even a presumably trivial nudge can act on the right sort of person as a tonic of unimaginable strength.
But, to invert Herschel’s statement: this is indeed only the beginning. It cannot, MUST not, be the end. If the good feeling generated amongst gun owners by Richmond inspires them to sit back, rest on their laurels, and let their guard down, then all may well be lost. Because the only thing we know for certain is that the Left will never, ever stop.