GOA & VCDL respond to the VA Attorney General’s infringements

Gov. Ralph Northam & AG Mark Herring:
“Do as we say, not as we do”

Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) today responded to Attorney General Mark Herring’s hypocritical attack on Second Amendment sanctuaries by issuing a 12-page analysis.

“Gov. Northam and Attorney General Herring lack credibility. They criticize and dismiss  Virginia citizens in 114  localities which officially acted to declare their jurisdictions supportive of our Second Amendment Rights and against confiscation of commonly owned legal firearms from citizens who have harmed no one,” said Erich Pratt of GOA and Philip Van Cleave of the VCDL in a joint statement.

Northam and Herring have done the following:

  • Formally opposed defending Virginia’s Constitution, the Commonwealth’s highest law, by refusing to defend the 2006 voter-approved Marriage Amendment prior to Ogerbefell;
  • Voted to support the US Constitution against the congressionally passed 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by supporting General Assembly legislation to refuse assistance in the arrest and detention of Virginia citizens denied legal counsel, formal charges or trial; and,
  • Supported Virginia localities which refused to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.

Pratt and Van Cleave agreed that, “If a state law is constitutional, then localities have to follow it.  But our Governor and Attorney General are determined to strip Virginians of their Second Amendment Rights, punishing them for wanting the ability to exercise their inalienable right of self-defense as recognized by the US Supreme Court in DC v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). That is egregious. No one is required to follow an unconstitutional law.”

“Billionaires like former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, who hired NY City police at six-figure salaries as armed body guards when he left office, gave Governor Northam’s statewide Democrats $1.4 million in 2017, and $2.5 million in 2019 to gain control of Virginia’s 2020 legislature.  The Constitution appears to be expendable for 30 pieces of silver,” GOA’s Erich Pratt noted.

Philip Van Cleave of VCDL said, “There is no way I, on my own, could have motivated over 100,000 Virginians to publicly demand that their local representatives and sheriffs honor their Oath to defend citizens’ rights, including those guaranteed by our Second Amendment.  Our Governor has performed an important, if not unintended public service.”

Pratt and Van Cleave don’t know if Northam realizes he wants the legislature to threaten at least one and a half million Virginia households (Gallup gun surveys 2018/19) with felony status for the mere possession, (not misuse), of commonly owned firearms or mere parts of firearms, currently legal across the country even in very liberal states with so-called “assault weapons bans.”

Van Cleave and Pratt stated Virginians correctly understand the seriousness of the gun confiscation and gun registration threats. “Personal security has always been threatened by criminals, but now those who were elected to serve and protect the citizens are attempting to authorize the theft of privately owned firearms in violation of the Fifth Amendment which provides that, ‘nor shall property be taken for public use, without just compensation.’”

Pratt and Van Cleave both said they would be willing to sit down with lawmakers from any political party to increase penalties on those who misuse guns or magazines. They noted, “We are willing to talk to legislators about real crimes and appropriate punishment. But lawmakers need to understand that individuals are responsible for evil acts. To criminalize mere possession of things per se is infantile thinking and has no place in deliberations by adults. If people are disarmed, they will be defenseless victims for criminals who don’t obey any laws, let alone gun control laws.”

Pratt and Van Cleave both noted that the so-called “assault weapons” the Governor seeks to ban, which fire only one bullet per trigger pull, should be renamed, “freedom from assault” weapons because these firearms have been used to save the lives of numerous individuals in Virginia and across the country.