2nd Place for Editorial Writing

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I took second place in the 2015 Virginia Press Association news writing contest for editorial writing for a trio of editorials on our community’s efforts to fight rampant heroin addiction, the lack of funding for public defenders, and the Virginia Attorney General’s decision to end concealed carry reciprocity with other states.

The judge said of one of the three editorials we submitted that:

“A strong package, but “Virginians disarmed” stood out for its well-defended exposure of a public servant’s failure to uphold his oath of office.”

Here’s the text of the concealed carry piece:

Virginian’s Disarmed

Va. Attorney General Mark Herring last week unilaterally disarmed law abiding Virginians.

On Dec. 23, he said the Commonwealth will no longer honor reciprocity agreements with other states that issue concealed-carry permits to handgun owners.

That means residents of 25 states can no longer legally carry their weapons in the Commonwealth. The decision also means that Virginians visiting those states will likely lose their ability to protect themselves and their families.

AG Herring squeaked into office in 2013 with a mere 165-vote margin out of more than 2.2 million votes cast.

Moments after swearing to uphold the Constitution of Virginia, he declared he would not defend that Constitution’s amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Regardless of one’s position on that particular issue, it’s worth nothing that the Virginia marriage amendment passed by an overwhelming majority of Virginia voters.

Had Herring campaigned on revoking the amendment, former Senator State Senator Mark Obenshain would likely be attorney general today.

Similarly, had he campaigned on a platform of restricting Virginian’s Second Amendment rights, he would be elsewhere employed now.

Last fall, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dumped more than $2 million into Virginia races in an effort to wrest control away from the pro-Second Amendment Republican majority.

Virginian voters recognized that effort for what it was – an attempt to quash our rights – and soundly defeated Bloomberg-backed gun control advocates.

Now along comes AG Herring, who unilaterally decides the Commonwealth will no longer recognize concealed-carry permits issued by 25 other states.

Outgoing Cedar Run District Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn, who himself often carries a pistol, called the move “another example how our Democrat leaders in Virginia think it is OK to make or change the laws as they see fit.”

According to General Assembly Speaker William J. Howell, Herring “consistently seeks to interpret and apply the law of the Commonwealth through the lens of his own personal, political opinions.”

Del. Rob Bell called the move “another Washington-style overreach from a nakedly partisan Attorney General.”

Make no mistake, this decision will have zero impact on crime. There is no evidence that concealed-carry permit holders from other states come here to commit crimes.

Fauquier Del. Scott Lingamfelter asked the Virginia State Police about crimes committed by out-of-state concealed-carry permit holders.

“They have no data on crimes committed by in-state or out-of-state CWP holders,” Lingamfelter said. “What are we stopping?”

Like Virginia, most states require permit holders to pass background checks, receive firearms training and demonstrate a level of marksmanship.

For instance, Minnesota, one of the states targeted by the AG’s order, requires eight hours of training, range qualification, and the normal background checks for a five-year concealed-carry permit. The differences between the two states is miniscule.

If the AG is truly concerned about the safety of Virginians, rather than simply burnishing his reputation among the fevered swamps of leftist imagination, perhaps he could work with those 25 states to bring about uniformity in concealed carry requirements.

Better yet, why not push for national concealed carry reciprocity standards applicable to all states.

So if you’re worried about losing the ability to peacefully and lawfully carry a weapon beyond the state line, urge state legislators to roll back the AG’s partisan attack on your rights when the General Assembly meets early next year.

A pdf of all three editorials can be found here: W05-combined