Virginia's Second Amendment Movement Ready And Armed

Obama’s election has already produced one result he probably didn’t intend: a boost to the Second Amendment movement.

Philip Van Cleave, the president of Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, said the organization has seen an increase in membership and the number of firearms purchased since Obama’s election. People are waiting up to 30 minutes in line to get into gun shows, and dealers are running out of ammunition on the first day (the shows typically last two to three).

“Shows that were busy have been flooded,” Van Cleave said. “The aisles are jammed.”

Van Cleave said he believes some of this is a result of people’s uncertainty about how Obama will govern as president. Van Cleave is hopeful Obama will match his actions with his centrist rhetoric on the subject, since his legislative record on the second amendment is anything but centrist (he holds an F-rating from the NRA).

Van Cleave’s organization is also holding its lobby day next Monday, Jan 19 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — for the Virginia General Assembly. Van Cleave’s group was at the forefront of the recent national rule changes allowing states to decide if concealed guns could be carried by permit holders in national parks. The legislation went into effect January 9.

One of the state issues the group is currently watching is legislation the governor vetoed last year which would have allowed concealed carry in restaurants which serve alcohol. Ironically, the governor at the same time exempted commonwealth attorneys from all carry restrictions, including restaurants at which alcohol was served. Van Cleave said his problem wasn’t that the attorneys were exempted, but that other citizens weren’t included.

Right now, it doesn’t look like any of the issues pending in Virginia will have national implications, but Van Cleave won’t forgo the possibility something could feed into the national scene.

Van Cleave’s organization also has an alert e-mail system with the addresses of 9,000 gun owners, which makes it possible to flood the assembly with citizen input.

“I can reach out to 9,000 gun owners in the blink of an eye,” Van Cleave said.

The Second Amendment movement in Virginia is alive, well, and politically active.