Mother Jones: Virginia Citizens Defense League and SAF are ‘More Extreme Than the NRA’

Pro Gun Rally Virginia

Demonstrators are seen during a pro-gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Sarah Rankin)

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.”

VCDL richmond gun rights rally

A demonstrator stands on the sidewalk before a pro gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. There was a light crowd early morning Monday outside the Capitol ahead of the rally. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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.

Mother Jones was horrified by the VCDL’s ability to attract tens of thousands to their January, 2020 Lobby Day rally on the Capitol grounds in Richmond.
 

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.

Pro Gun Rally Virginia

People line up outside the capitol before a pro gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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?

comments

  1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    They had better be careful about labeling us as extremist and other vile things. We may soon embrace those labels. By demonizing us and attempting to exile us from polite circles and deplatform us from speech they will create the very monster that they falsely claim already exists.

    Payday today. Another 80% on the way this morning. Not giving it up, no matter what.

    1. avatar Debbie W. says:

      What the mother pucker is saying is they want a disarmed America and an armed marxist democRat Party.
      All one has to do is study the residue of the 1960s specifically the insane mentor of b.h. obama the infamous communist bill ayers. This is the sleazebag behind most of the dorm room filth permeating America today.
      How many useful idiots know that Ayers advised followers to “kill their parents?” Obviously Not many mainly because those who prefer getting their panties in a wad over non-issues either know nothing about ayers or are afraid to speak. Until those with sht for brains understand who and what they are in camp with expect more and more demoCrap on America.

      1. avatar Gene Ralno says:

        For those still maturing, Ayers & Dohrn, are vintage exemplars for today’s ignorant, snot-nosed delinquents now working to destroy the constitutional republic system of government. In 1981, they adopted Chesa Boudin, baby son of two getaway car drivers in the famous Brink’s robbery and murder.

        Chesa’s mother was released after more than 20 years of imprisonment and his father is working on a 75-year sentence in Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York. Chesa has been serving as San Francisco District Attorney since January. It figures.

    2. avatar Hugh Glass says:

      Truth. Just wondering what it will take to actually become what they say we are.

    3. avatar Ralph Humphrey says:

      “many gripping AR-15-style rifles or other assault weapons.”

      Really TAG?? Seriously…. “other “assault weapons”???

      Spreading bullshi* like that IS NOT HELPING ANYTHING!!!

      1. avatar Doc Samson says:

        It was a quote from the article, not written by TTAG…

    4. avatar Jerry says:

      MAYBE,just MAYBE these MORONIC Media, need to lookup” ASSAULT WEAPON”.Being “EX-MILITARY” the ONLY ASSAULT WEAPONS, I know of are “MILITARY WEAPONS ” capable of firing multipule rounds,with one squeeze of the trigger!!!!! FUCKING MEDIA MORONS

  2. avatar Justin says:

    Considering I’m a member of both organizations I don’t consider either one extreme. Now some of view points expressed by Mother Jones in what they choose to publish I find distasteful, but I fully support both the first and second amendments which is more that they can say.

    1. avatar Frank says:

      Mother jones is a left wing extr4emist POS!

  3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    It means nothing to me that I’m called an extremist, or a homophobe, or a racist’s. By gun grabbing anti-civil rights tyrants. They are all just like Bull Conner. Who was famous for calling black people names as well.

    1. avatar DinWA says:

      I was not familiar with Bull Connor so I looked him up.
      Wow.

      1. avatar Gene Ralno says:

        Most importantly, Bull Connor was a democrat.

  4. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Yeah, they’re right for a change! Someone’s gotta do it. Extreme? No. Pissed and very concerned? Most definately!

  5. avatar Ing says:

    The people who used to call themselves radicals are now the establishment. The corrupt, bloated creatures at the center of the web. Even extreme movements like antifa are merely more of the same.

    We are the dissidents and radicals now. The sooner we all embrace that fact and start behaving like the radical actors we are, the better off we’ll be. This nation was founded by people who would’ve worn the same label in their day, whether they wanted it or not.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      The radicals now in the gun community are the open carry activists. Their skin color doesn’t matter. Their sexually orientation doesn’t matter. And they make the rest of the gun community nervous. But you have a birth right to bear arms in public. And when the police (the government) is not there for you. When you call for them. That is why you need to bear arms in public. An armed presence is what keeps the bad guys in check.

      The police don’t have to help you. If they don’t want to. And the local government can order them to do nothing as well. Cities are ordering the cops to stand down. We now have a very real threat of mass organized violence in major US cities. And in the suburbs as well.

      People like to say you are on your own. If that’s true. And it is. Then the open bearing of arms, by law abiding citizens, is also necessary to keep the peace. Since armed patrol officers have stopped doing what we pay for them to do.

      1. avatar Gipper's Ghost says:

        Seriously Chris T, you need some lessons in grammar, especially beginning and ending sentences. Your poor placement of periods makes your postings hard to follow.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          Tank u mrs kravets,

        2. avatar DinWA says:

          Seriously, GG, you need to talk to a mirror to see someone who gives a flying fuck off a short pier about your nonsensical claptrap.
          None of us us here have any problem understanding what Chris T in KY has to say.

      2. avatar Hugh Glass says:

        “We now ARE a very real threat of mass organized violence in major US cities.”

  6. avatar GS650G says:

    “Mother Earth” can bet their sweet collective ass they are. The NRA is practically a gelding at this point.

  7. avatar Mudhunter says:

    Its transference. They mean mother Jones is the anti-liberty extremists and the Virginians are more constitutionally correct than the NRA.

  8. avatar Jim Warren says:

    Mother Jones et al should consider themselves fortunate that they are dealing with their so-called “extremists” in the courts rather than the streets.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Streets come in January.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    More extreme? They say that as of it was a bad thing.

  10. avatar Vincent says:

    Seem Mother Jones and most of the anti gun crowd are ignoring a few facts. Last January we had a pretty mixed bag of people with 1 common point to make. People of all races, colors, religions, social and economic standing, who are not happy with what the Governor and state house are trying to do to them and their rights to own fire arms. While most had and many openly displayed guns, not a shot was fired, not a window was broken, and not a business was looted. When was the last time a left wing demonstration could say that?

    1. avatar DinWA says:

      They also picked up their own trash.

    2. avatar frank says:

      And they picked up their trash when they left.

  11. avatar Dog of War says:

    Yeah, I’d agree to that. Obviously I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! 😀

  12. avatar Prndll says:

    The NRA is not extreme. It might be a financial sinkhole and something the left is afraid of but it isn’t anymore extreme than the American Constitution.

    The Virginia Citizens Defense League is obviously not living upto it’s name. Otherwise, Mr. Northum would be out of a job.

    I think it’s high time Mother Jones gets retired. Her days are well over.

  13. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    The left has been demonizing conservatives for years. It is part of communist SOP to demonize all who they think may resist their plans. It is easier to “dispose” of people who are already hated and feared by the serfs.

    Some may be sent to “reeducation” camps and others just disappear. Think “the Killing Fields” of Cambodia.

    The media is “Pravda” for democrats (communist party USA).

    Be Prepared !

  14. avatar BenJones says:

    Hey, Don’t forget about the GOA, (Gun Owners of America). NEVER COMPROMISE!

  15. avatar ICE says:

    Well with DEMENTIA JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS RUNNING THINGS IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE.! DEMENTIA JOE has said that he will ban so called assault weapons and people will be required to turn them in at a mandatory buy back or register them as NFA weapons and pay $200.00 per weapon for a NFA STAMP. DEMENTIA JOE has also said semi auto weapons have no place in our society. DEMENTIA JOE has also said he will limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds for all weapons. DEMENTIA JOE AND KAMALA ARE NOT THE LEGITIMATE WINNERS OF THE SOCALLED ELECTION WHICH WAS STOLEN BY THE DEMOCRATS WITH THE AID OF THE DEMOCRAT DESIGNED AND CULTURED CORONA VIRUS AKA COVID 19 WHICH THEY RELEASED IN WUHAN CHINA DUE TO KNOWING THEY DID NOT STAND ANY CHANCE OF DEFEATING POTUS TRUMP WITH OUT A WORLD HEALTH CRISIS THEY COULD USE TO STEAL THE ELECTION.!!

  16. avatar WI Patriot says:

    And I’ll counter that by saying that “mother jones” is more dangerous to the United States of America than china, the DPRK(north korea), and the cold war ussr combined…

  17. avatar former water walker says:

    Let’s hope EVERY pro-2A group is “more extreme” than Negotiating RightsAway! Seriously…

  18. avatar FormerParatrooper says:

    Protection of civil rights is neither radical or extreme.

    What is radical is labeling peaceful protestors as extremists. People who have jumped every hoop you have asked to practice a right and civic responsibility,and have done more for thier communities than the writers of these articles have done.

    It is not extreme for me to tell these mentally feeble imbeciles in which direction they should fornicate with themselves.

  19. avatar Montana Actual says:

    Well, when you advocate extreme infringements of our freedoms, you can expect the opposition to be extreme as well. Leftists did this to themselves, and this is the calm part.

  20. avatar Alan says:

    In reasonably polite terms, Devil Take Mother Jones, her alleged expertise , and her children, the legitimacy of whom is open to significant question.

  21. avatar sam says:

    I wish this sight didn’t play culture wars. That doesn’t help achieve the goal of restored 2nd amendmant rights. I highly recommend open source defense. Gun rights, no culture wars.

    I welcome the demise of the NRA. It was corrupt. Better to funnel our money to groups like FPC and state orgs, 2AF, and maybe GOA (not sure how effective GOA really is).

    So this would actually be helpful: what groups are the most effective legislatively? FPC? 2AF? FPF? Because I want to give my money to the most effective, and honest, organizations. The NRA was bloated, happily supported legislation to diminsh our rights, and visibly corrupt under Wayne Lapierre. The NRA ILA was still decent, but I’m no long seeing any effective action from them.

    So, TTAG editors: lets have a research piece on gun rights orgs! Who does the best work? What can they point to that they have tangibly accomplished through litigation or pushing legislation? And then, let’s strengethn those. But let’s stop demonizing those who disagree with us. It only reibforces their conception that we are radical extremists. Better for them to find that we are their calm-headed neighbors who greatly value their freedom and their lives, and would suffer no government infringement on either.

    I used to love TTAG. But it jumped in bed with Trump and largely lost its soul. And simultabeously didn’t even gain the world, as he was happy to do little! One thing I will give to Trump is his appointment of constitutionalist judges. That’s about the only thing I can appreciate from his administration when it comes to the 2nd amendment.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      ” let’s stop demonizing those who disagree with us. It only reibforces their conception that we are radical extremists. ”

      Been there, done that, didn’t even get a frickin’ t-shirt.

      The POTG have been playing nice for way too long, and that’s why our butts are pretty well locked against the fence now. The time for borrowing a few pages from their rule book is long overdue, and that rule book doesn’t say demonize less. It says demonize more. The gun-grabbing left needs to be exposed for what it is — power-hungry fascist racist psychopaths who hate democracy and will stop at nothing to subvert it. You don’t stop these people by putting on a tie and saying please.

      As for radical extremist, on the issue of the 2A I am one, so I might as well own up to it. There is nothing short of complete capitulation to the lefty point of view that will ever change their “conception” that I’m a danger to their agenda. Truth is, I don’t give a rat’s a$$ about changing their conceptions. I enjoy having them know that there are people — a lot of people — that are willing to stand up and challenge their bullsht. I hope it keeps them awake at night.

      No quarter; No prisoners.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “I wish this sight didn’t play culture wars. That doesn’t help achieve the goal of restored 2nd amendmant rights. I highly recommend open source defense. Gun rights, no culture wars.”

      We didn’t bring this fight to them, they brought it to us and are leveraging the culture war against *us*.

      All’s fair in love and war, and they are determined to defeat us…

  22. avatar Extreme meaning willingness to defend the constitution using the 2A! says:

    Shall not be infringed! Don’t even think about it!

  23. avatar JOLJ says:

    When will they realize that there are more of us, then there are of them.
    This year new gun owner have increased every month, Novmember was the highest yet.
    They are making a lot of nosie,but no one is joining the party.

    1. avatar PminFl says:

      New gun owners, yes, but are they on our side or are they extreme progressives hiding among the throng trying to buy firearms?

  24. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    “public protests meant to intimidate any push for tightening Virginia’s gun laws.” – So, public protests are bad???

  25. avatar Forrest Alley says:

    What because local people Democrats and Republicans come together to protect there second amendment rights, they get labeled as terrorists groups. Anyone that talks that way is an Idiot.

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