I was at the VCDL meeting this past week (my first). Lobby Day was a hot topic and the meeting was led by VCDL President Philip Van Cleave (PVC). I’ll summarize below, but i have the memory retention of a squirrel so forgive me if I mis-remember something or leave something out…
Turnout at the meeting was estimated about 80+ (I got there a scootch late and there were no seats left i stood with some others along the wall), PVC said usually there is less than 50 at these meetings. So the election fallout has (at least for the moment) lit a fire under some arses.
In past years, there have been around 800-ish people show up to Lobby Day (per PVC), and he’s hoping that this time around we can number in the thousands. If the boost at this meeting is representative (this is a straight-up liberal area of the state), it’s probably doable to make it into 4-digit attendance at Lobby Day. Obviously, the more people that show up the greater the chance of the politicians taking it seriously that we do not want our rights triffled with. This year they will meet on the Capital Steps.
One of the challenges brought up is that the legislative session starts before Lobby Day, so it is possible that they will have already voted on some of the bills. Including the bills that will disallow legal firearm carry in state government buildings (in years past they queue up a line through security for all CCW holders while they visit their representative).
PVC reviewed the election. Approximately 2.1M voted Democrat, and 1.9M voted Republican (not sure the source of the numbers). Thats not a small margin, but he pointed out that over 40 districts didn’t have a Republican candidate. So folks could either check Dem or leave it blank. Even with all that, he pointed out some close races including some that got hundred of thousands of dollars in out of state money for the Democratic side, but the Repub managed to hold onto their seat.
There was a gentlemen from the Liberal Gun Club, and he brought up some good points to bring up with your representative (if they are Dems). Like point out “disparate impact” (I think thats what he said) which is a specific term used to point out that some of these laws will impact poor people more than rich people. It was pointed out that we should be outreaching to other pro-gun groups including hunters which may be affected by some of the upcoming laws (they tend to turn a blind eye to “2A for self-defense”).
We also met Tom Speciale (link to website) who will be running for Senate.
Other topics touched upon were causes of Mass Shootings, how to talk to our representatives, VCDL financial status (they’re fine, but if they do court challenges that will bleed through accounts quickly), what is the likelihood of some of the proposed laws from the summer session making it through, path forward in best/worst case scenario, noting that the GOP abandoned VA, the fight is not yet over, and probably a few more items im forgetting.