The far-left site Mother Jones has taken a look around the modern gun rights movement and has proclaimed that orgs like the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the Second Amendment Foundation are both poised to take over where the National Rifle Association is leaving off. And they’re sounding the alarm, declaring that the successors are even more radical than the hated NRA:
As he stood on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol, Van Cleave—a 68-year-old balding and mustachioed software programmer—delivered a stern warning to the Democrats who had recently gained control of the [Virginia] state government: “We’re here today to remind Governor [Ralph] Northam and the general assembly that the last election was not a referendum on gun control.” In front of him, an ocean of pro-gun protesters whooped in solidarity. Nearly all were armed, many gripping AR-15-style rifles or other assault weapons. A good number were decked out in paramilitary outfits and tactical gear. Confederate and Gadsden flags waved high and wide.
It was a scene that once would have been credited to the National Rifle Association—the nation’s oldest gun rights group, which, over the past several decades, has inflamed and radicalized a broad coalition of conservative gun owners through alarmist messaging, especially during the Obama administration, and cemented itself as a formidable political force. But the NRA has since dwindled in power, and the rally was the work of [software programmer Philip] Van Cleave’s Virginia Citizens Defense League, a no-compromise, far-right gun rights group that he once boasted was “proud” to have been labeled an “extremist” organization.
A little background: The Virginia Citizens Defense League was founded in October of 1994 for the purpose of defending Second Amendment rights in the Old Dominion. The aforementioned Philip Van Cleave is the president of VCDL, which was founded by Paul Moog.
VCDL is officially non-partisan, or at least as non-partisan as you can get when fighting for gun rights. On their website they state their two key points to fighting to restore gun rights are to “go on the offensive” and “make use of a very effective lobbyist – the voter.”
Over the past 19 years, VCDL’s Lobby Day protests in Richmond…were relatively mild affairs, with about 600 to 800 attendees. But this year it attracted more than 20,000, and the days leading up to the protest put the state on edge.
Over the past 19 years, VCDL’s Lobby Day protests in Richmond—an annual event on MLK Day when special interest groups, predominantly ones with conservative ties, advocate to the General Assembly—were relatively mild affairs, with about 600 to 800 attendees. But this year it attracted more than 20,000 and the days leading up to the protest put the state on edge. …
The rally was a bellwether: the sudden downfall of the nation’s most powerful gun group and the rise of more radical pro-gun organizations and militias seeking to take its place. Since 2016, the NRA has seen a steady decline in its ranks. Meanwhile, there’s been a boon in membership for more extreme groups like the VCDL and the Second Amendment Foundation, which recently filed a number of lawsuits challenging state gun control laws, and the National Association for Gun Rights, which paints itself as a more conservative alternative to the NRA.
Here I have to hit the pause button. If seeing VCDL listed as a radical rights group made me blink, reading the name of the Second Amendment Foundation as more extreme than the NRA made me giggle. Alan Gottlieb must be amused, too.
Mother Jones goes on to detail what it believes is going on in the gun rights movement today:
…as groups vie to fill the NRA’s void, extremist gun violence is increasing in ever concerning ways.
Never mind the fact the increased violence of 2020 has been perpetuated by people rioting and looting during so-called protests. Not to mention defunding police departments. And turning criminals loose.
The author notes that the Socialist Rifle Association and National African American Gun Association are also seeing an uptick in membership (and, of course, he implies heavily that these two groups aren’t nearly as “extreme” as the others).
He then ludicrously highlights Giffords’ latest AstroTurf Fudd deception operation effort to allegedly fill the NRA’s shoes among gun owners. Not that anyone who frequents this site would fall for the idea that a Giffords front group is going to support your gun rights in any way, shape, or form.
This agitprop falls under the category, “consider the source.” Mother Jones will never be mistaken for an unbiased or gun-friendly site. But it’s always worth getting some insight into what the anti-gun movement is doing. Painting us all as extremists furthers their agenda and hammers home the message that gun control measures are for everyone’s good.
The Mother Jones article also falls under the category, “be careful what you wish for.” Democrats, the anti-gun left, and the media — but I repeat myself — have been working for the NRA’s downfall for decades. Now that the NRA has been weakened, they’re not liking what they’re seeing behind it.
What do you think? Are the VCDL or SAF extremist groups?