Let’s start with a simple evaluation of the efficacy of HB 2. It sounds like a great idea, right? let’s be clear on what this really means and whom this is aimed at, because it’s not retailers, its private citizens.
How about a word swap; Firearm = Motor Vehicle and Background = Drivers License. Now let’s read that again.
“Requires a Drivers License check for any Motor Vehicle transfer and directs the Department of State Police (the Department) to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed Motor Vehicles dealers.”
Such checks would become mandatory, rather than voluntary. Selling without the required Drivers License check would be declared a Class 6 felony; receipt of a Motor Vehicle without the required Drivers License check would be classified a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
Putting the same language to that very simple test shows that it is unreasonable. First if we wouldn’t put the burden of validating a person’s driver’s license on the person selling a vehicle, so why shouldn’t the same be true for selling a firearm. Second the sale of the gun is what’s being made a felony, but the purchase is only a misdemeanor. If the goal is to keep guns from criminals, why is the penalty less for the theoretical criminal buying the gun? Now on the other hand if the goal is the widening of bureaucracy and over burdening an already understaffed state agency it might sound like a swell law. Or perhaps its just designed to pray on the fears of the citizens of Virginia? Theoretically the goal is to keep guns from those already bared from having them so shouldn’t it be written that way and not to place an undue burden on law abiding citizens?
To the earlier metaphor comparing guns to cars, driving a car requires you be a minimum age, get a permit, show proficiency with a road test. Many drivers will only ever go to the DMV to get a new photo or register a new car. There is no continuous requirement to prove themselves eligible to drive. Yet every gun I have purchased over the past 20 years has required a background check, including my black powder, to prove I was eligible to make the purchase. Just like driving you must be of legal age to purchase a firearm. Obtaining a permit to carry requires not only a background check but a review by the circuit court for approval, after submitting proof of proficiency with a firearm. Every future purchase will still require an additional background check for each gun I buy. The dealers from whom I have purchased these guns face a mountain of paperwork. Each dealer is required to maintain completed forms for 20 years in the case of completed sales, and for 5 years where the sale was disapproved as a result of the NICS check. If I went to any auto dealership in town do you suppose they have records proving person they sold a car held a valid license even 5 years ago.
On maximum clip or magazine size: “Another aspect of SB 16, the maximum clip or magazine size, is another legitimate topic for legislative debate. Should the general public have access to military-sized clips carrying 30 or more rounds? Is a 10-round clip limit too small or too large for recreational shooting use? Is there justification for public access to larger clip sizes, and if so, how large? Correct me if I’m wrong hunters, but to my knowledge semi-automatic assault-style rifles and their large clips are not legal for hunting, and certainly wouldn’t be very sporting if they were.”
Do you enjoy country music, or perhaps classical, or R&B maybe? What’s the point? Just like there are many types of music and fans there are many types of gun owners and shooting sports. Just because the popular misconception is that the only legitimate private use of a firearm is hunting doesn’t make it true. Simply because someone may not be fully versed in sporting arms and the various ways in which other individuals may choose to enjoy the use of their firearms dose not make those pursuits any less valid than an individual’s personal choice in music. Under that same flawed logic NHRA, NASCAR, and F1 should not exist because cars are for transport to work and not racing. There are many a gun owner whom have never stepped foot into the woods to hunt and have no desire to do so, but it doesn’t mean that their right to enjoy shooting targets should be limited due to a lack of knowledge on the part of others.
There are a lot of statements made, often with little or no supporting facts given, and the responsibility is then on the reader to “fact check” and determine what is “news” and what is “opinion”. We are frequent Royal Examiner readers because in general you do a good job of limiting the rhetoric and clarifying what is opinion. However, some statements like this that refer to trends, really need the numbers to help clarify the magnitude of what we are discussing.
“Okay, I can live with background checks. In fact, in the face of the rising tide of mass shooting violence in America I believe a majority of Americans, perhaps even a majority of gun owners, support them.”
So, these are some of the “facts” as I understand them from sources, I was able to find readily available via Google. (numbers are from 2017 with sources cited below).
- There were 4.26 times the number of deaths due to overdose (1,507) than to gun related homicide (353).
- Automobiles accidents (843) accounted for 2.38 times the number of deaths as gun related homicide (353).
- Gun related deaths (1028) in Virginia represent 29.2% of the top three causes of non-natural death (Motor Vehicle, Gun, & Overdose totaling 3520).
- 10% of the other than natural deaths in Virginia in 2017 were gun related homicides (353).
- 64.5% of gun related deaths in Virginia are suicide.
- 7.8% of all deaths (6,7762) in Virginia are of unnatural causes (5,298).
- Gun related homicides (353) represent 0.52% the all deaths (6,7762) in Virginia.
- Gun related suicide (664) represent 0.98% the all deaths (6,7762) in Virginia.
- 79% of gun-related assault injuries were among persons aged 15-34 years, 89% were male, and 77% were minorities.
- 47% occurred in the Eastern region, followed by 34% in the Central region.
- 51% of gun-related self-harm injuries were among persons aged 25-54 years, 76% were male, and 74% were white.
To my earlier metaphor comparing guns to cars, driving a car requires you be a minimum age, get a permit, show proficiency with a road test. Many drivers will only ever go to the DMV to get a new photo or register a new car. There is no continuous requirement to prove themselves eligible to drive. Yet every gun I have purchased over the past 20 years has required a background check, including my black powder, to prove I was eligible to make the purchase. Just like driving you must be of legal age to purchase a firearm. Obtaining a permit to carry requires not only a background check but a review by the circuit court for approval, after submitting proof of proficiency with a firearm. And any future purchase will still require an additional background check for each gun I buy. The dealers from whom I have purchased these guns face a mountain of paperwork. Each dealer is required to maintain completed forms for 20 years in the case of completed sales, and for 5 years where the sale was disapproved as a result of the NICS check. If I went to any auto dealership in town do you suppose they have records proving person they sold a car held a valid license even 5 years ago?
If were looking for things that need to be discussed in our community, commonwealth, and country let’s try a few of these:
- Let’s start looking at the under lying socioeconomic issues that result in firearm violence.
- Let’s start focusing on the treatment and prevention of mental health issues.
- Let’s start focusing on the growing suicide epidemic.
- Let’s start focusing on education both for gun safety and understanding.
- Let’s start putting funding into micro-loans to foster economic development.
- Let’s start helping community leaders develop mentoring programs.
- Let’s start by installing hope and breaking cycles of violence.
- Let’s start focusing on the growing addiction crisis in our community.
As a responsible gun owner, I have the right to hunt, target shoot, and project myself, my loved ones and my property. My second amendment right is not a bargaining chip for anyone, pundit or politician, that would use my ownership of guns to strike fear in others.
Patrick A. DeZess
We can write a story of tragedy to triumph–COVID-19 is Good Friday to the Easter Sunday that awaits
Today is Good Friday. Many of us aren’t feeling so good these days and few will experience a traditional happy Easter on Sunday. But what if the tragic story of COVID-19 has a happy ending and prompts a triumphant shift in humanity’s destiny just as in the well known story of Easter? These three days of Easter weekend represent a time when heartache, agony and despair were replaced with the ultimate victory–the promise of a brighter future than ever imagined before.
As the entire world (a world most consider broken and in need of serious saving) faces this crisis, we are in the process of writing a chapter in history that all future generations will recount. Let’s not forget, even in our worst moments, that we each have the power to make choices and take actions in our own lives to create a happy ending to this chapter we’ll one day read about in history books. If we look for the silver linings in the cloud that is COVID-19 and pledge to use this trying time to take steps to make changes to improve our own lives, the lives of our family and of the world (in whatever ways our heart calls us to do so), we can experience the Easter that awaits us. From small acts of kindness towards our friends to loving gestures among our families to heartfelt generosity to complete strangers–we can rewrite this tragic period of our present into an Easter-like triumph in the future.
What can YOU do in your own life to get us one step closer to our happy ending? DO IT! What matters is your heart. LET IT!
I wish you a blessed Easter–please stay safe and happy and healthy,
The next days of staying at home
Working from home is not new to me. Although I like seeing people and talking and visiting, I frequently spend solo time in my little study to think and to write. My most recent book, A WARRIOR OF MANY FACES, went online at Amazon and Kindle on Thanksgiving Day, 2019.
Recently I came upon a quote from the late English humorist and writer, Jerome K. Jerome. I was actually looking for quotes for a book I’m working on when I came across the following: “It is impossible to enjoy idling unless there is plenty of work to do.” Written by Mr. Jerome many years ago, the quote could almost fit today. It is so strange to be asked to stay at home. But we all know that “social distancing” and working from home is going to be the way we must be, at least until this recent health crisis is over. The Rabbi of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh ( the site of a terrible shooting) tells us online that he would like to see us all use the terms “physical distancing and social connecting”.
I’m lucky too in a way. I love spending time with my housemate and wife, Bryane, a beautiful and talented writer and artist. Even though it is only the two of us (plus our tuxedo cat, Baby), I’m never bored around her. So, a voluntary or even compelled lock-in is not the worst thing.
Another quote from Jerome could easily have been written today. “I like work. I can sit and look at it for hours.” I know the feeling. Sometimes I sit and think about what I am writing and how to put it in words. Finally, I do get something on paper, but from now on I’ll also think of Mr. Jerome. I wonder what he might have to say as he looks at people all over Virginia, America and the world forced to sit at home and many people even being paid to be idle. Ironic isn’t it that Jerome K. Jerome died in 1927.
Let’s all try to make the most of being home. I know I will.
Charles “Chips” Lickson, JD, Ph.D.
Front Royal, Virginia
Just ‘thanks’ for keeping the community informed
This is a really tough time for the publishing industry as ad volume is on the downswing. Your on-line service to the local community who cannot afford paid subscriptions is an especially important link to accurate information about the COVID-19 public health crisis.
And frankly, everyone in Warren County owes the Royal Examiner and its editorial staff a huge thank you for the hard questions asked that led to the uncovering of the EDA scandal. Without those hard questions, Warren County residents would not have known the extent of the harm done to our community.
So thank you to the publisher, Mike McCool, to the reporters and editorial staff. In my opinion, you are all heroes who are doing their best to serve the community.
Front Royal, Virginia
A very interesting way with words
Our Interim Town Manager, Matt Tederick, has a very interesting way with words. The way he can skirt around an issue is a huge criterion of the game of politics. He has mastered this very well.
An example of this is in the article from the Royal Examiner titled, (Council poised for a decision on the CDBG pavilion project despite added costs). Mr. Tederick states, (needless to say we’ve had some challenges with the CDBG in general. One of those challenges was the approval of amendments to bylaws to address personnel changes in the Facade Advisory Board).
Here is where Mr. Tedericks skill comes in to play. He states several members got off the board, we have to add new members. What he doesn’t say is, these several members are the town employees he fired. If this isn’t skirting around an issue, I don’t know what is. This amendment to the bylaws would make him the program’s Grant Administrator, another role added to his list. It would also make Director of Finance B.J Wilson as the Assistant Project Manager and Chris Brock who is Interim Planning and Zoning Director as Project Manager.
It seems Mr. Wilson has become Mr. Tederick’s go-to guy lately on several issues. But then again, like every other town employee, I’m sure he is afraid for his job. Becoming the next victim on Mr. Tederick’s list is not part of Mr. Wilson’s agenda.
Also in this article is the funding issue for the pavilion. Since the construction estimate has increased from $140,000 to $283.349., this leaves a difference of $143.349. This would be split 50/50 by the state and the town or $75,000 each. The Town Council seems poised to give Mr. Tederick the okay to spend this $75,000 even though it is not in this year’s budget.
This kind of action seems to me there is a lack of financial understanding and competency from Mr. Tederick and the Town Council. With the economic instability we now face, and will face for several years to come, it doesn’t take an economist to know we should be using less money from this year’s budget and moving more money to future budgets. Is spending now and not looking into the future Mr. Tedericks and Town Council members’ way of doing their personnel finances? One would think not.
On a different note, several weeks ago Mr. Tederick stated the Council should consider an assistant Town Manager due to the workload of the Town Manager. I assumed the workload of being Town Manager and running who knows how many LLC’s, Mr. Tedericks workload would be too great. So why has he taken on other roles if his workload is so great?
Let’s count them.
1 – Interim Town Manager
2 – Grant Administrator
3 – FOIA Officer
4 – Town Director of Emergency Management
5 – Running his multiple LLC’s.
Absurdity to its highest level. I do believe we may be in the presence of a real-life superhero. At least according to the Town Council. And so goes the Front Royal saga of destruction.
The Cross: Gift from the Savior
But how? Understand that the Savior of mankind had to be more than just a man; otherwise, man would be saving himself, and that is impossible. Clearly then, the Savior had to be God! For again, only God can forgive sin and save sinners. Jesus spoke to the absolute necessity to see and believe this truth when He said, “…if ye believe not that I am He (God), ye shall die in your sins.” (Jn. 8:24) Meaning to be cast from God’s presence and light into eternal darkness and damnation. Jesus also said, “…I am come that they might have life…” (eternal life) (Jn. 10:10), which He gives by dying in our place on the Cross! Jesus was saying to the Jews that in spite of their Covenant history, they did not have life and were dead (lost) UNTIL HE CAME! Note that this lost, hopeless state applies to Gentiles also; indeed, to all people of the world.
To help believe that Jesus was the God-Man on the Cross, consider the definition of Incarnate: Embodied in flesh, esp. human form. Also consider Incarnation: 1. The assumption of Jesus Christ of bodily form. 2. The bodily form assumed by a deity.
Jesus Christ, as a man, did not exist before being born of Mary. In this regard, God said, “…thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” ( Heb.1:5) Please note there is no separation between Jesus as man and Jesus as God! So as the Incarnation reveals, the Creator Father God dwelt with His creation as the begotten God-Man (flesh), Jesus Christ! And, thereby, entered the blood line of mankind. In so doing, He shed His own blood as a sacrifice for mankind’s sin!
ENTER: God’s Lamb, The Lamb Of God!
Cries for a Savior were answered at the Cross. The King of the Jews, the King of Israel; yeah, the Eternal Father God who said, “…I am the first and the last, and beside me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6), was buying back what was lost to Him to establish a holy nation and an everlasting kingdom! Being fully (100%) man and fully (100%) God, Jesus as a man died, but Jesus as God did not. So the 100% God (Jesus) raised up the 100% man (Jesus) from the dead with a new and glorified body!
Jesus, speaking in the first person singular as a man and as God said: “…destroy this temple (kill me) and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:19). By saying “I will”, Jesus is saying He is God, for it shows Him present (alive) in the past, present and future at once (the same time), having no constraints as to time or space. Existing not only from the “beginning”, but from everlasting! So, He is alive as God while dead as a man, and is speaking from all time frames because His is an uninterrupted and never-ending life!
So, because of His glorious resurrection, I can shout with the song writer who said, “He’s alive… He’s alive and I’m forgiven. Heaven’s gates are open wide!” Eternal thanksgiving to my Lord and praises to the Darling of Heaven; and oh that I could bow before Him and kiss His lovely feet!
His message? I love you. My life, death and resurrection in your place for your life. So respond with the hymnal writer who said, ” I am coming Lord to thee, dear Lamb of Calvary. Humbly at thy cross I bow. Save me Jesus, save me now.”
Reverend Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, Virginia
Christ is alive, He is living today
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” – John 21:25
The Season of Easter is the high point of the Christian Church year. Traditionally, worshipers participate in an extended feast wherein the paschal candle is lit at every service as a sign of the risen Christ. Scripture readings highlight every Christian’s connection to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The scripture readings proclaim the power of the resurrection that gives strength in suffering, unity in diversity, consolation in sorrow, perseverance in adversity and faith in times of doubt. On this, the holiest day of the year and for the entire Season of Easter, many Christian’s greet each other with the words, “Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!”
Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is one of the principal doctrines of the gospel.
If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). The essential New Testament revelation balances on this as a historical fact. On the day of Pentecost, Peter argued the necessity of Christ’s resurrection from the prediction in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:24-28). Christ also clearly prophesied his resurrection (Matthew 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19-22). Thus we can preach that Jesus is alive; that He has risen as He said He would and that He is the Son of God as He claimed to be. Christ is alive! He is living today.
The Bible informs us that Jesus did appear many times after his death and resurrection:
- The empty tomb – Resurrection Sunday – Matthew 28: 1-10, Mark 16: 1-8, Luke 24: 1-12, John 20: 1-9.
- To Mary Magdalene at the garden – Resurrection Sunday – Mark 16: 9-11, John 20: 11-18.
- To other women, “the other Mary,” Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the tomb – Resurrection Sunday – Matthew 28: 9-10.
- To Simon Peter alone – Resurrection Sunday – Luke 24: 34, 1 Corinthians 15: 5.
- To the two disciples going to Emmaus – Resurrection Sunday – Mark 16: 12-13, Luke 24: 13-32.
- To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) in the upper room – Resurrection Sunday – Luke 24: 36-43, John 20: 19-25.
- To the disciples again (Thomas being present) – Following Sunday – Mark 16: 14, John 20: 26-31, 1 Corinthians 15: 5.
- To seven disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee – sometime later – John 21: 1-23.
- To the eleven at an appointed place in Galilee – sometime later – Matthew 28: 16-20, Mark 16: 15-18.
- More than 500 brethren – sometime later – 1 Corinthians 15: 6.
- To James, but under unknown circumstances – sometime later – 1 Corinthians 15: 7.
- To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet and there they saw him ascend “till a cloud received him out of their sight” – Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection – Luke 24: 44-49, Acts 1: 3-8.
In addition to the above appearances, Christ will return by way of vision and appear to Stephen, several times to Paul, and finally to John to give him the final Revelation:
- Paul at Damascus, speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Savior – several years later – Acts 9: 1-19, 22: 3-16, 26: 9-18, 1 Corinthians 9: 1, 15: 8.
- Paul tells us in Galatians 1:17 that he went immediately into Arabia and then returned to Damascus and three years after his transforming vision of Jesus, he went up to Jerusalem to see the Apostles. During Paul’s 3 years in Arabia he received the Gospel from the Lord (Galatians 1:11-17). He made a visit to the Throne of God (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) where he saw things he was not permitted to reveal. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, when Paul recounted all the Lord’s post resurrection appearances, he included himself as one who had seen Him. So, at some point, he apparently did have a physical meeting with the Lord.
- Stephen in his dying vision saw “Jesus standing on the right hand of God” – sometime later – Acts 7: 55-56.
- John of Patmos experienced a vision of the resurrected Christ described in Revelation – many years later – Revelation 1: 12-20.
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.
2 Corinthians 13 cites that, “in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word shall be established.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ has been established as fact. The scriptures tell us of the many appearances of Christ and the witnesses who experienced the events encompassing the resurrection. In Christ we can be confident of our salvation and in Christ we can be confident of our own resurrection.
The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” We should find the assurance of our salvation in the truth of God’s Word. We should have trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared.
A final note: Ephesians 5:13-15
Children of Light
13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.
Mark P. Gunderman
Stephens City, Virginia