By John Brown
I have lived in Virginia for most of my life, and it has been my “come home to” state for over 70 years. My father taught me gun safety when I was only 11, and I have many years of experience in honing those skills. I have lived in Virginia because it truly is the Commonwealth and represents a safe haven for all gun owners. Walking the woods across from my boyhood home with a box of .22s and Dad’s Winchester Model 67 was always a favorite pastime.
I learned from an early age that if you liked your life and your lifestyle, it is critical to get off the chair and go vote for those who share your values. I have to say that I never gave gun control in Virginia a second thought, until recent years. I do shudder at the thought of what is happening in states like California, New York and Maryland. I do read about politicians pushing agendas that are baseless and grounded on not understanding shooting sports and the outdoor world, whether it is hunting, competition shooting, self-defense or just plain target practice. Like most of you, I read on a daily basis about the asinine proposals from these liberal-run states that unnecessarily burden law-abiding citizens and that have nothing to do with really reducing crime.
When I was younger, I lived under the false belief that voting really didn’t make any difference, so why bother? Today I know and understand that voting is paramount to living a life unencumbered by politicians who simply don’t understand the law of cause and effect. If I want my agenda to be supported, I have to not only vote, but make my opinion count with others who would cast a vote. I really believe that.
There are many writers, like David Workman and John Crump, who have penned tremendous articles about the Commonwealth and many other states that are infringing upon our Second Amendment rights. There are many venues for strong voices to be heard, in print and online. And let’s not forget about the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the NRA who filled the Virginia House chambers with lobbyists and pushed inside the Capitol to fight bills such as HB961. They, too, kept us informed and fought a battle that most of us are ill-equipped to do. So how did we get here?
Frankly, too many Second Amendment enthusiasts only sat and read about what was happening. As quoted in AmmoLand, “… the result of a dismal turnout of only about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters” put us where we are today. The Democrats in the Legislature now control the votes. This is a sad circumstance. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice, plain and simple. Yeah, I know, I hate politics the same as the next person. But the only avenue we have at making a difference is to exercise our rights and vote for those who represent our values and beliefs.
If you take into consideration that the Commonwealth has somewhere between 1.5 to 2 million gun owners and only 40% of those owners got out and voted, it is no wonder we are in the situation we are in. How many of the 647,000 concealed carry permit holders in the Commonwealth actually voted? Less than half? The Virginia Legislature fell to the Democrats. I hear the story of the lion’s share of the voters in northern Virginia and Richmond controls the results, but I question the validity of that sentiment. There are a huge number of passionate Second Amendment residents in the rest of the state. Most chose to sit home and not vote.
In Virginia, the Republican presence with firearms owners is more than substantial. The problem is that most firearms owners don’t want to be bothered with the time and effort it takes to register to vote and cast their ballots. Those days should be over. We who did vote should be out there knocking on doors to get our “armchair cowboy” friends and neighbors off their hindquarters and out to the polls. I used to sit back and watch the news and say to myself, “I’m glad it’s not Virginia!” Well, guess what? The nightmare is real, and it happened in Virginia. The only way we can combat that is to vote for those who support the Second Amendment and our rights as gun owners. Get rid of those who would happily take away your rights, your guns and your ability to defend yourself.
I am personally asking that every gun owner across this great country of ours to get out of your armchair and go vote. As my dad used to say, “You have the easy part done; you’ve talked about it, now get off your butt and do something about it.” It is time for us to come together and vote as a solid community of 2A supporters. Hell, if the sheriffs from over 95 counties in the Commonwealth are willing to stand up for us, we better make sure we jump in front of that protective barrier instead of hiding behind it. Stand up and vote for all of our freedom in 2020. And remember to vote in EVERY election.
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|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N6 (June/July 2020)|