If the Bloomberg-financed gun confiscation crowd gets anything right, it is its consistently beguiling messaging. In the same way that The Force in Star Wars bends the will of the weak-minded, confiscationists use language that requires us first to disabuse the public of their empty rhetoric before we can actually discuss the facts about firearms. In Virginia, the General Assembly has become not just a gun-free zone, but also a “fact-free zone,” rife with ad hominem attacks on law abiding gun owners.
The newly elected Democrat Assembly majority wasted no time declaring war on us. Two days into the session, Majority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax led the charge to ban the longstanding tradition of carrying guns at the state Capitol and the Pocahontas Building, which houses the offices of the state legislators. “Our goal has got to be to keep everybody safe,” she proclaimed. Were we previously endangered? The prior rule allowed Virginians with a Concealed Handgun Permit to open carry or concealed carry on the grounds. In all the years this has been in effect, there have been NO instances of citizens misusing firearms. Filler-Corn perpetuates the idea that the presence of guns is inherently dangerous, and those that carry guns will do harm. Although her statement is a vacuous attack on gun owners, notice how difficult it is to argue with her sound bite: she’s for “safety”, after all.
Virginia State Police data reveals that there are 642,396 permit holders in the Commonwealth. 733 on average are revoked annually, or roughly 0.11%—barely one tenth of one percent. That is an impressive statistic supporting just how law abiding concealed carry permit holders are. John Lott’s data, taken from across the country, underlines the Virginia data that permit holders are not only exceptionally law abiding, they are even more law abiding than the police. Additionally, as the numbers of CHP holders in Virginia swelled from the 400,000s to the 600,000s, the murder rate per 100,000 dropped from 5.71 to 4.59. In other words, in the pictorial parlance of the times:
Not to be outdone, State Senator Dave Marsden doubled down on his “hot mic” insults to gun owners by claiming there are “mental health issues among many 2A supporters.” Such rhetoric ought to be considered in the context of the proposed “red flag” legislation that seeks to disarm, sans due process, gun owners deemed dangerous by courts, but provides no treatment for any related mental health condition. This is a standard ruse in their playbook: guilt by association.
These fact free attacks shouldn’t surprise us because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: puppet master Bloomberg has been slinging these attacks for some time now. Although his missives ought to be read, I’d put this one at the top of the list: “If you want to have a gun in your house, I think you’re pretty stupid—particularly if you have kids—but I guess you have a right to do that”. Not only does Bloomberg have armed security who accompany him on vacation despite local laws, he wants armed personnel monitor your children at his graduate school, while they learn about “gun safety”, aka confiscation. This is New York City-sized hypocrisy that he wants to inflict throughout the country.
Bloomberg’s animosity towards gun owners was most apparent following the recent attack in a Texas church that was ended in six seconds by an armed, prepared congregant. It is impossible to view the live-streamed footage of that event and not recognize that far many more lives would have been lost if the attacker were not stopped immediately. Despite the obvious, Bloomberg commented “[You] can’t let the average American have guns” as “it’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot.” At least he’s candid and clear. Translated into the common tongue for average Americans like us, he said: “I don’t care about your Second Amendment. You don’t have the right to keep and bear arms. I don’t care whether you live or die, but I’ll keep my armed guards.” There is no evidence that Bloomberg is familiar with average Americans, nor is there any evidence that he understands the depth of our commitment to our personal liberty and the right to defend ourselves.
I am at the Capitol lobbying my lawmakers on the 13th and 20th, asking them to oppose Northam’s gun confiscation agenda. My message is straightforward:
Dear Delegate Carr and Senator Hashmi,
I am one of your constituents and I am asking you to oppose Governor Northam’s gun control bills. Other states have demonstrated that gun control doesn’t stop crime. Virginia’s 600,000-plus concealed handgun permit owners are more law abiding than the police and are merely asking to be left alone. The “scary” rifles, pistols, magazines, and suppressors Northam seeks to ban are lawfully used for sport, hunting, and self-defense and are implicated in vanishingly small numbers of crimes in the Commonwealth, for example compared to hammers and fists. Keep in mind that guns are used lawfully and defensively vastly more often than they are used criminally.
Instead of focusing on guns, I ask that you focus on the causes of violence: untreated mental illness, and gang and drug violence that is endemic in impoverished inner cities. Please increase mental health funding to address the ⅔ of Virginia gun-related deaths that are suicides by providing evidence-based treatments such as crisis support and therapy, and please supportProject Ceasefire legislation that targets the great majority of the remaining ⅓ of gun-related deaths in the Commonwealth, criminal homicides.
Dennis Petrocelli, MD
Board Certified in Forensic Psychiatry
Contributing Member, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
–Dennis Petrocelli, MD is a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for nearly 20 years in Virginia. He took up shooting in 2019 for mind-body training and self-defense, and is in the fight for Virginians’ gun rights.