Monday, July 27, 2009

Virginia's governor race a win-win for gun owners

It's a very good sign for gun lovers that the governor's seat in Virginia will be filled by a pro-gun candidate, regardless of whether it's a Democrat or Republican who gets elected.

Because both Virginia gubernatorial candidates are trying to outdo each other as to which is more pro-gun. Both have very good credentials, so this election is a win-win for Virginia gun owners. The Washington Post reports both sides with an easy-to-spot preference for the Democrat, of course.
The question of how much to regulate the sale and possession of guns has always been a dividing line in Virginia political contests. This year's gubernatorial candidates -- former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell (R) and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) -- both have extensive pro-gun records.
The only clear issue on guns that divides the candidates is the so-called gun show loophole.

Until recently, Deeds, as a lawmaker from rural Bath County, had been a more staunch advocate of gun rights than McDonnell, whose career began in Virginia Beach. One of Deeds's signature pieces of legislation was a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians the right to hunt and fish. Deeds also secured the National Rifle Association's backing in the 2005 attorney general's race against McDonnell, who won by 360 votes.

Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, pointedly declined to endorse Deeds in that campaign because Deeds, as a delegate, had refused to support legislation limiting handgun purchases to no more than one per month -- a measure McDonnell backed.

But both candidates have gravitated closer to positions generally embraced by their party's base.

McDonnell, for example, now says he supports a repeal of the one-a-month law because computerized background checks and other advances make it unnecessary. In an interview last week, McDonnell also said he opposes further regulating gun shows because statistics show only a tiny number of guns used in crimes were obtained at gun shows.

"I'd say it's a little bit of a misnomer to call it a loophole," McDonnell said. "It's really an attempt to regulate private sales."

But McDonnell touted his work with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) in closing a loophole that allowed the Virginia Tech shooter to evade a ban on transferring firearms to someone with serious mental illness.

"I'm very sympathetic to the victims at Virginia Tech," McDonnell said. "The problem that occurred at Virginia Tech had nothing to do with the gun show loophole."

Deeds, who owns several firearms and has hunted since he was a child, said he understands the importance of the Second Amendment and has no interest in working for broader gun controls except for the gun show loophole.

"For me, everything changed on April 16, 2007," Deeds said in an interview Sunday. "As a father, I felt just a need deep down in my soul to respond to their grief somehow."

During the 2008 and 2009 General Assembly sessions, Deeds voted to close the loophole, including a compromise that would have exempted antique firearms. That soured his chances with Steve and Annette Elliott, owners of C&E Gun Shows, which promoted the three-day gun show at the Dulles Expo Center.

The gun grabbers have been gabbing about the so-called gun show loophole for decades, but as usual, it's a big lie. This ain't about gun-show sales, it's about private sales between individuals.

Do you suppose when Thomas Jefferson sold a flintlock to his buddy John Adams, they filled out a yellow form and sent it in by horseback to some paper-pusher in Washington, D.C. to approve?

Any private gun buyer that has enough sense to come in out of the rain will get a copy of the ID and/or driver's license of the seller and/or buyer and hand-write out a simple contract, "I (seller) sold this (make, model and serial number) to (buyer) on (date)." Both buyer and seller sign it, you make two copies and each gets one. Simple common sense. Then if some idiot uses a gun I sold him to rob a bank or shoot up a "gun-free zone" at a college, I can prove I sold it legally to him and it ain't mine anymore.

This gun-show loophole nonsense ain't about gun shows at all. It's about private sales between two lawful individuals. But that's the last thing the gun grabbers will ever admit.

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