Friday, November 4, 2011

"...shall not be infringed"

Seems pretty straightforward don't you think? Apparently those four words are confusing to the NRA, and to Virginia Senator Ed Houck.

Senator Houck is in a tight race for reelection in Virginia's 17th District, against newcomer Bryce Reeves. One of the issues important to many is the Right to Bear Arms, otherwise known as the 2nd Amendment. This portion of the Bill of Rights is quite succinct. It's one sentence, ending with the clear statement "shall not be infringed."

In this contest the National Rifle Association has endorsed Senator Edd Houck. The NRA excuses their endorsement thusly:
We have an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates our support for pro-gun incumbents seeking reelection over pro-gun challengers, as voting records trump statements in support of the Second Amendment.  We stand with our friends who stand with us in Congress or the state legislature.  We would lose all credibility if we abandoned our friends who have stood by us.  Of course, should a pro-gun challenger win his election, then he will be the beneficiary of this policy when he seeks re-election.  
For candidates who are not incumbents, or who have not previously held elective office, we review answers to NRA's candidate questionnaires.  NRA staff also interviews candidates, reviews campaign literature and candidate statements, and factors in intelligence from local NRA members.
Past voting records are one thing. How about actual public statements? Let's look at some of the evidence regarding the candidates' 2nd Amendment support records. The Virginia Citizens Defense League surveys candidates regarding their gun stance. Edd Houck chose not to provide his views in response to the questionnaire. Bryce Reeves did reply and received a pro-gun rating from VCDL.

Another telling point came through loud and clear during Thursday evening's debate between the candidates at the University of Mary Washington. During that debate, the candidates were asked about their positions on the concealed carrying of guns. I obtained a recording of the event and have transcribed the main points here.
Question from Moderator: "The Attorney General has opined that college campuses can ban guns by enacting regulations, not merely policies which some schools have. There have also been bills introduced that would prohibit colleges from enacting such regulations.

"Police agencies generally have been against having guns on campus, but every year more bills are introduced to give the right to students to have concealed carry on campus.

"How would you vote if or when this matter comes before you?"

Bryce spoke about his experiences in the military, law enforcement, and as a civilian with a concealed carry permit. He was then pressed specifically regarding college campuses.

Bryce answered, "I do believe in concealed carry on college campuses."

Edd replied "No I'm not in favor of that."

and then, "I dont think the law in VA is broken despite Attorney General Cuccinelli's opinion. I think what we have now is adequate."

Bryce followed up with "We need to adhere to the Constitution."
Bryce Reeves openly and clearly stated his support of the Second Amendment. In contrast, Edd Houck clearly and openly stated his opposition to the right it enumerates. He supports restrictions on the right to self defense and on where citizens can carry. That is Edd Houck's admission that he does not believe the words "shall not be infringed." Senator Houck thinks that your God-given right to self defense stops when you enter a college campus. He is certainly aware that mass shootings happen on college campuses.  He is certainly aware that most mass-casualty shootings happen in "gun free zones." Why then does Edd Houck support "infringing" on our right to self-defense?

Will the NRA choose to ignore Houck's admission? I did contact the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, the NRA-ILA, and inform them of the debate statements. Let's see if they really do react to "intelligence from local NRA members." After Houck's anti-Second Amendment statement in the debate, one would hope that NRA would rescind their endorsement, and either stay neutral or change thier endorsement to Reeves.

UPDATE, November 7:  The VCDL has issued an alert reminding its membership about Houck's anti-freedom votes and his statements at the debate.

1 comment:

  1. Contact the NRA-ILA at and let them know their endorsement of Houck is wrong. So far, they are sticking with their "support the incumbent" line. But they don't have to support anybody, they can simply pull the Houck endorsement. There is not much time, but let them know they are wrong. Remember, grassroots feedback stopped their endorsement of Harry Reid.


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