The sleeping giant has awakened, but not the one the gun lobby thinks.

“I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” Philip Van Cleave*, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, wrote in an email to members quoting a Japanese admiral, Isoroku Yamamoto.

The “sleeping giant” is the vast majority of Americans that want to tighten background checks, among other changes, but have been repelled after each mass shooting. At some point the protests by the gun lobby ring hollow and it appears that point is now.

The NRA and its minions can only hold the jackboot of no action on the throat of Americans but for so long. Now they may regret it.

Threats may be too little and too late.

The frosting on the cake is the revelation of rampant spending on lavish lifestyles by the NRA hierarchy using American’s hard earned donations.

53 thoughts on “The sleeping giant has awakened, but not the one the gun lobby thinks.

  1. Mr. Van Cleave has it backwards, I believe. The backlash already occurred when the Dems took the GA back.

    Reasonableness now needs to occur. But the majority of Virginians have spoken loud and clear on this topic. The backlash threatened will be minor @ best.


    1. It depends on what kind of backlash you mean. Consider this map. Is this the result you desire?

      Is it a good outcome for the state to be divided on an urban/rural basis, at each other’s throats forever?

      We hear a lot about ‘common sense’ gun control. but common sense is really just a name we assign to our unexamined prejudices and assumptions. What is common sense in Fairfax is not common sense in Amherst.

      Imposing the prejudices of the urban districts on the countryside, where those rules are seen as unreasonable and a usurpation of personal rights, will lead to a state at war with itself and even if the urban areas have the numbers to get their way, there will be no peace and there will be no cooperation on anything.

      If voices of reason to not assert themselves on both sides, this will be settled in State courts, under the VA Bill of Rights, section 13.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Imposing the prejudices of the countryside on urban districts is what the gun lobby has accomplished. The inner cities are awash in anonymous guns because the gun lobby has demanded no restrictions or accountability for gun acquisition and ownership. Virginia has been a source of guns for mayhem throughout the Northeast.

        But the “country folk” as you seem to refer to them could give a rat’s patootie about lives lost in cities so long as they get theirs. Period. The fact that we are all Americans seems to escape the gun lobby mindset of “me, mine and screw you”.

        Actually, I think most rural residents are better than that. But all they hear is the LaPierres of the country throwing out BS scare tactics that increase gun sales after every tragedy.

        “Obama was hoarding bullets. Obama was going to invade Texas. Obama is taking your guns…tomorrow afternoon. Send money, I need a new suit and my wife’s hairdresser needs to go on vacation with us. Oops, didn’t mean to say that.” Wayne LaPierre, FOX, 1/20/13. (Look it up.)

        This is not about rural v. urban. That is the divide you and the gun lobby are fostering. This is about keeping the guns in the hands of only LAW ABIDING CITIZENS and out of the hands of crazies and criminals.


        Liked by 2 people

        1. Len, you well know that the NRA and 2nd Amendment supporters in general backed the NICS system which could be very effective if it were enforced as designed.

          The vast majority of those guns you say the cities are ‘awash’ in are obtained through straw purchases. If the Democrats that run the cities were truly concerned about them, perhaps they could start by prosecuting more than one in one thousand of those turned in by firearms dealers.

          Also, perhaps it wasn’t a good idea for the Obama administration to end “Project Exile” in 2015 when it could have been taken nation wide.

          But those are things that would actually work, and that would take the issue away.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Does it matter where the straw purchases occur?

            If we were putting these straw purchasers away for a few years every time we could prove it, the practice would end or come very close to it, no mater where.

            It is the refusal to prosecute that is responsible for the large number of firearms obtained by felons.

            Are you really interested keeping the guns out of the wrong hands or just in harassing everyone who disagrees with you?


          2. No harassment, just replying to your assumption that the Democratically run cities are the source of all straw purchases.

            Virginia is a big source of guns for the Northeast and I don’t think they get them from Bob’s Gun Shop.

            So who is not enforcing the straw purchases?

            BTW, we have gone around on the 1 out of 1000 who are prosecuted for illegal gun purchases. But I believe that includes intentional lying on the background form.

            At that time I asked if you are willing to pay for the extra police and judges to arrest and prosecute those folks and you ended the conversation with “are you serious about this or not”.

            Well, are you?

            The crux of my post was the threat, perhaps physically implied since it was by a gun advocate quoting a warrior, that has been truly been turned on its head. Gun reform was a strong motivator for Virginians to toss the moribund GOP out of power.

            Perhaps agreeing to a universal background checks for ALL gun sales might have softened the gun control lobby enough to allow the GOP to have retained power. But even that reform, that over 90% of the population wanted, including gun owners, was floored.

            You reap what you sow. And if your seeds are toxic, the plants will be too.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Lots of comments there.

            First, there is no additional cost to prosecute straw purchases or ‘lie and try’ evasions of the background check. The cost of the crimes that those felons commit, discovered or not, is far higher than the cost of blocking their purchases.

            Prosecutors fail to prosecute those crimes until AFTER one of those guns is recovered in a crime, and then it is too late.

            When you come up with a way to enforce universal background checks absent a registry, let me know.

            The only reason for having a registry is to make confiscation possible, and the only reason for government to disarm its citizens is because it intends to do something you would shoot them for.


          4. BTW, can you point to a single instance in which an AR type rifle was used in a mass shooting in Virginia?

            How many of my rights do you think you must curtail to address something that has not happened?


          5. “How many of my rights do you think you must curtail to”…
            Stop with the fear mongering about your so-called rights being curtailed. Your Libertarian gibberish is repetitive and means absolutely bupkes.


          6. “When you come up with a way to enforce universal background checks absent a registry, let me know.”

            Interesting. I did not mention a registry.

            You are not being reasonable on the cost of enforcement. If the ration of 1000:1 is real, then we are talking about a huge number of trial dates, attorneys, judges, police, jail space, etc.

            I think a better way to enforce would be to prosecute any gun dealer who does not report a suspected straw purchase or verified lying on the form and give him immunity in the few false arrests. And I mean a serious penalty like taking his license for 5 years, big fines and even some jail time. But also, reward him if the suspect is arrested and prosecuted in order to put pressure on the police to do the same.

            A prominent sign at the gun stores that said “We strictly enforce all gun laws with regards to legal purchases and truthful background information. We will report all suspected efforts and transactions.”

            BTW, true that NY State has gun stores also, But, again, you were complaining about and blaming cities run by Democrats. Also, if NY State is such a source, how come Virginia is the source of the “iron highway” to the Northeast?

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Regarding the cost of prosecuting Straw Purchasers, keep in mind that the reason there are so many is because we impose no penalty for doing it. If a few of these girlfriends and relatives go to jail, the practice will largely end.

            But how does the cost of prosecuting 50 or 100 or so straw purchases compare to the cost of incarcerating a murderer for life?


  2. Reasonableness? Hell no. All these people understand is brute political force. “Compromise” is a dirty word for gun mayhem apologists. It should be for gun reformers as well. Let them fume about their so-called Second Amendment solutions. It is now and always has been nothing but bluster from people who cannot sell their crazy policies in what they call the “marketplace of ideas.”

    IMHO, President Obama missed his chance to be a historical giant on the order of FDR because he naively believed there was good will on both sides of issues important to Democrats. There wasn’t. For example, he had to force through a GOP plan – the Heritage Foundation/Mitt Romney ACA – over opposition to allowing him to achieve anything. He might as well have forced through Medicare-for-all. Or at least tried to, with the “public option” being the fallback.

    We should learn from his mistakes, just do the right thing, and ignore their tantrums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “We should learn from his mistakes, just do the right thing, and ignore their tantrums.”

      Exactly right. They’re going to cry “Stalin” regardless; there’s not point trying to “reach across the aisle.” Republicans, to their credit, understand this and have gotten great results from approaching politics this way.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “All these people understand is brute political force.”

      And yet the only ones I see exercising political brute force are the urban areas forcing their prejudices on rural people who live very different lives.

      You have not established that any of the infringements you propose would do any good at all.

      Because you say so is not evidence.


      1. “And yet the only ones I see exercising political brute force are the urban areas forcing their prejudices on rural people who live very different lives.”

        Are you talking about gun rights, specifically, or are you making a rural vs urban point, generally?

        If the latter, I think it’s important to note that a minority of “rural” voters have forced the last two Republican presidents on us.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. And that has affected your rights how?

          But yes, it is much more than just gun control.

          For example, the governor’s proposals for carbon taxes would be devastating where a Prius just won’t get the job done.


          1. It has affected my right to democratic representation; my right to privacy; my right to the medicine of my choice; my right to healthcare; undocumented peoples’ rights of asylum; sexual, racial, religious minority rights; women’s reproductive rights; etc.

            But compared to all that, being able to drive a big truck is definitely more important.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. My “Right to Life” is put at risk every day these “rural people” block effective gun control.

            You keep ranting about rural people being ignored when in fact the reality is the opposite. We have a de facto tyranny of the minority where the preferences, values and desires of the majority are trampled under foot every day.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Really?

            Other than in your imagination, how is your life threatened by firearms in my hands, or those of other rural or law abiding suburban or urban people?

            There are perhaps 1 tenth of 1 percent of the population who are a danger to you, so what is the justification for disarming or limiting the other 99.9% who are not a danger to you, but who are every bit as much in peril from that 0.1% as you are.


          4. Yes, really. You keep trying to talk about the gun in YOUR hands. I am referring to guns everywhere. It is simply a fact that if there were fewer guns owned by the people around me I would be safer.

            With that said, you have frequently expressed threats with your childish talk of tyranny and second amendment solutions when political processes don’t go your way. You may still be sane today – though the insanity of your support for Trump throws that into question – but will you still be sane tomorrow?

            Right now there is a non-zero risk that someone visiting or burglarizing your home will be able to get their hands on one or more of your weapons and use it to harm you, me or others. Adam Lanza comes to mind. If you had none, the risk would be zero.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. “It is simply a fact that if there were fewer guns owned by the people around me I would be safer.”

            Why? Because you say so?

            Is zero guns available attainable? If criminals are not disarmed, and they are the hardest to disarm, then the more you disarm the non-criminals, the greater your danger. Aside from which, guns are not the only danger to you.If you are known to be unarmed, a younger, larger, stronger criminal with a club can do whatever he wants with you.

            On the contrary, the deterrent effect of some percentage of people being armed keeps you safer in a world where criminals are not totally disarmed. And totally disarming criminals is not on the menu.

            And don’t worry, if your insulting me was going to anger me enough to lose control and kill you, you would be long gone years ago.

            In terms of real risk, there are about 4.1 homicides per 100,000 people in the US but 80% of those involve gang activity, which puts your risk of homicide by firearm at under 1/100,000, roughly the same as in Australia or less than half your historic risk of being murdered by your own legal government.


          6. @Tabor

            It is simply a fact that fewer guns means less risk. Not because I say so, but because of mountains of evidence. There have been countless studies of the risk in homes, in cities, in states and in countries and the results are ALWAYS the same – the greater the density of guns the greater amount of gun violence.

            Holding up a mirror is not insulting you. Don’t look away.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. As always, correlation does not impute causation.

            For a start, people in dangerous neighborhoods are more likely to arm themselves.

            But more importantly, not all demographics are the same. A high concentration of firearms owned by NRA members, or CHP holders, does not pose the same risk as the same concentration of firearms in a neighborhood dominated by drug gangs, and that is true both for homicide and accidental injury.

            Statistically, a neighborhood of CHP holders would be even safer than a neighborhood of policemen.

            So, no, your presumption that more firearms increases risk to innocents is simply your prejudice, not fact.

            The higher risk is not associated with the concentration of firearms but with the concentration of criminals.


          8. @Tabor

            Re: “As always, correlation does not impute causation.”

            That is irrelevant. As I have explained to you before. The presence of guns is a NECESSARY condition for gun violence. The absence or reduction of that necessary condition will result in fewer incidents of gun violence. No matter what the causes. That is simple common sense which is borne out by statistics at every level.

            As for your demographics argument, I guess you place yourself in that worthy category who can be trusted? Problem is, just about everybody who buys a gun thinks the same thing. And there is really no realistic attempt to test that belief with our current lack of control. And, as we know, enough of these gun owners go off the rails, get angry, fall into depression or fail to keep their guns secured that we end up with almost 40,000 dead as the price for tolerating handguns and assault weapons in our society. Great Britain – a country not too unlike our own – controls guns effectively by banning both and AS A RESULT suffers gun violence at a tiny fraction of the rate we do.

            As always, your arguments seem to devalue the lives of those people unfortunate enough to live in those areas with more criminals. In essence it is . . . “Gun violence is not a problem because gun violence is not a problem in MY neighborhood.”

            Liked by 1 person

          9. @Tabor

            More criminals in an area results in more crimes.

            That is a circular argument if there ever was one. But, I have no problem stipulating that criminal intentions by bad people is a cause of gun violence. But, no matter his intentions, a criminal without a gun cannot commit an act of gun violence. Obviously. Therefore, if we want to reduce gun violence we need to make it far, far more difficult for people to acquire guns. As Great Britain and other countries have successfully done.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I think we all knew the General Assembly Republicans might wish they hadn’t been so hasty (about an hour . . . right?) in sending everyone home in that special session to discuss sensible gun laws.

    There was a possibility of a reasonable outcome for all in that session. But, “OH HELL NO! GO HOME!” was what came from VA’s GOP in our GA.

    Well, we now are in the “Read ’em and weep” stage for the GOP. The majority of Virginians want (as witnessed on Nov. 5th) a change in how our state legislates re: gun laws. It’s going to be ugly, no doubt, but the GOP has demanded gun legislature be handled that way. And, so . . . alrighty then!

    Major KUDOS to our Governor and our GA’s Democrats for keeping this issue in the category of URGENT.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The GOP is guilty of killing things in committee instead of letting them get to the floor for debate and a vote, which I regard as a lazy tactical error.

      But remember that while bills can be KILLED in committee, they cannot be passed in committee. They have to go to the floor and delegates will have to go on record. A lot of Democrats in close districts have been telling their constituents they were moderates on gun control. Now they will have to go on record and the House faces re-election in 2 years. .

      If the Democrats go too far, they are feeding them to the wolves.


      1. You do what you can WHEN you can. The Democrats are in the position to get passed what they have been standing by for a good while. We need universal background checks and getting some weapons off the streets and store shelves
        No one’s rights will be infringed upon if ALL the measures are passed. But, the Democrats must get done what they’ve been promising to do.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. If you limit my choices of arms or accessories without showing that a vital public good will result, you have infringed on my rights.

          Own it, that’s exactly what you want to do, without demonstrating any harm coming to anyone as a result of my choice.

          It’s no different from silencing someone because you don’t approve of what you think they MIGHT say.


          1. Gun control is about limiting the choices of arms and accessories for those who would do us harm such as criminals and the insane. Certain weapons and accessories may require permits or more detailed background checks.

            That may cause a slight inconvenience for the law abiding, but in the end won’t infringement upon their rights as currently interpreted in the 2nd Amendment.

            You have a right to a trial by jury in both the 6th and 7th Amendments. In order to secure that right, you may have to be inconvenienced at some point by having to serve on a jury.

            You have a right to vote in elections as enumerated in no less than 3 Amendments. In order to secure that right, you will have to register by affirming your citizenship, your identification and your current address. A slight inconvenience for you but that also helps secure the validity of the election.

            You have a right to protest and peaceably assemble, but you may have to get a permit which could restrict where and when the protest could take place. That is inconvenient, but helps to protect your right since the public at large has a right to protection from unruly demonstrations.

            I think I have made my point.

            Any rights are also subject to obligations and responsibilities that may cause some inconvenience, or even restrict how you can effect those rights. It is not all about you. There are 320 million others to consider.


            Liked by 3 people

          2. And I did not object to being fingerprinted, and having my background checked to get a concealed weapons permit, nor have I objected to being checked again when I purchased a new firearm. Those inconveniences help keep arms away from people who should not have them.

            But that is not enough for others on your side of this. They are determined to deny me certain arms and accessories for no other reason than because they think they can.


          3. “And I did not object to being fingerprinted, and having my background checked to get a concealed weapons permit,”

            Nor should you have been. If this were the norm for all purchases of firearms and accessories, I think the background check systems would have some teeth. And it could easily be done with a renewable permit to purchase legal weapons and accessories. To my mind, the permit should also require some proficiency in handling, shooting and maintaining the weapons. In Virginia that part is a joke.

            Face it, if a criminal or a crazy with a record (or perhaps a red flag?) bought a gun, would it make any difference if he carried it in a visible holster or hidden in his pocket?

            If it makes you feel any better, the permit need not list your weapons.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. A proficiency test for the right to keep and bear arms?

            OK, if in return we have a proficiency test in civics and economics for the right to vote.

            If you require people to qualify ofr a right, it isn’t a right.


          5. Having to qualify for a right is not a right?

            A misunderstanding of economics to cast a vote is not the same as carelessly handling a gun that accidentally kills someone.

            Guns are deadly weapons and in the hands of a inexperienced or untrained person in a public venue could spell tragedy.

            If a person is incapable or unwilling to learn the basics of gun safety, mechanics, and laws, you say give him the gun anyway and see what happens. Sorry, but that is not a valid position no matter which side of the debate you are on.

            Your contention is without merit, as well as nonsensical.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. How exactly were you put-upon, so to speak, when the Brady Law and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban were the law?

            How many people did you NOT get to shoot because you were kept from owning a banned weapon?

            What did background checks back then keep you from doing?

            What did you really miss out on, by not being able to acquire more than one firearm a month?

            Why do you think keeping mentally deranged people from having guns/rifles is a bad idea?

            For the record I’ll ‘own’ anything you suspect I want to happen if keeps more victims of mass shootings from ending up dead. Yep, I’ll ‘own’ whatever I need to, if it gets some firearms off our streets and gets them off store shelves. I can’t be much clearer than that.

            Liked by 2 people

          7. @Len
            “A misunderstanding of economics to cast a vote is not the same as carelessly handling a gun that accidentally kills someone.”

            At least 100 million people died in the 20th Century as a result of embracing socialism. In terms of total deaths, the ballot box is far more dangerous than firearms, and if we are going to restrict the right to keep and bear arms based on objective competency, there is every bit as much justification to restricting the ballot box to those who truly understand the consequences if their vote.

            Not that I advocate either, but start with the more dangerous.


          8. @Tabor

            Re: Your utter nonsense.

            “Stalin, Mao, PolPot and other Socialist dictators did not exist?”

            They existed alright. But none of them were “socialists.”

            But that is beside the point. Whatever atrocities they committed had NOTHING to do with people “embracing socialism” at the ballot box. Which was your very silly claim.

            Liked by 2 people

          9. Odd, they claimed to be socialists. As did Hitler and Mussolini.

            And most of them stood for election at some point.

            And regardless of people’s intentions when they vote for or otherwise accept socialism, it always ends in poverty and oppression.


          10. @Tabor

            Re: Odd . . .

            Odd, you are incapable of gracefully backing away from nonsense. None of these despots came to power by the ballot box. They may have claimed to be “socialists” but that does not make it so. If you do not understand that, you should.

            The irony is that in their role as Dear Leader they are far closer to the man you uncritically support than any Democrat now or ever. Cult of personality. Power for its own sake. Denial of truth and even of science. Demonizing and threatening opponents. Attacking the press. Rampant corruption, favoritism and nepotism. All obvious characteristic of Trumpism.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. At least the Democrats are willing to go on the record. The GOP, both in the state and at the federal level, are afraid to do so. Just ask Mitch McConnell why NOTHING the House has passed has moved off of his desk.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Best to stay on point and use facts during these discussions. Never a good idea to denigrate or insult each other because it leads to a pissing contest and little is accomplished.

    Using the stats available from the DOJ/FBI (, our GA would be wise to develop “sensible” bills. Ones which will stand-up during litigation and aren’t based upon fears and prejudices.
    43% from underground market
    6% stolen
    10% retail store (includes pawn shops)
    11% strawman purchases
    15% from family/friends
    12% brought to the crime scene by someone else or were found there.

    Yes…I know that adds up to 97%. That’s due to rounding errors plus a small percentage of FFL’s held by members of organized crime (which the government won’t officially/openly admit to).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I see that straw purchases are not a big source. What is the source for the “underground market”?

      The guns were manufactured then distributed I assume legally, but then got diverted. I wonder how?


    2. Thanks for the link, but keep in mind that the source is interviews of convicts, who are not totally reliable.

      The first thing that comes to mind is how do modern firearms get into the black market?

      Those obtained from family and friends are likely really straw purchases as are many of those reported stolen. In short,

      I think the share coming from straw purchases is greatly understated.


      1. “The first thing that comes to mind is how do modern firearms get into the black market?”

        From the factory, to licensed dealers to the underground market.

        Somehow, keeping track of weapons falls apart when you cannot readily attach a serial number to an owner.

        Permitting and registration would slow that down immensely.

        Your comparison of the US to China, USSR, Cambodia and other failed dictatorships ignores so many differences. Not to mention blaming all the deaths on populations that were unarmed.

        For that matter, Hitler encouraged gun ownership by all Germans who were not Jewish. If White Nationalists take over our government, they could do the same with Muslims for example.

        The non-Muslim gun owners are not affected. And those same gun owners, like some of our “mililtias” and neo-Nazi groups that are well armed, would not have kept us from persecution because we are White and already protected.

        Right now the closest we have ever come to a White Nationalist hero in the Oval Office is our very own D. Trump.

        “I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers For Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough – until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

        Really? Bikers for Trump? Denim vests and chain wallets instead of brown shirts and clubs?

        So effectively, the gun owners themselves would be the lackeys for a White Nationalist dictator. You’re fine, others get killed.

        So forget the timeworn Cambodian references.

        Unless, of course, you are happy with destroying our country in a civil war that seems to be percolating among some yahoos on the net.


        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Somehow, keeping track of weapons falls apart when you cannot readily attach a serial number to an owner.”

          But you can.

          The serial numbers of manufactured firearms are traceable from the manufacturer to the licensed firearms dealer and the dealer keeps a record of the original purchaser.

          At least in theory, the BATF does not have access to those records(though they have been caught cheating many times) but if the gun is recovered by police, the chain of ownership from manufacturer to original retail purchaser is available.

          And in fact, there have been several cases of multiple firearms used in crimes being traced to the same straw purchaser.


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