Importance of pro-gun volunteers' work in Virginia highlighted by recent loss of right to carry for 6.3 million

Editor's Note: Last week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring joined the list of politicians pandering to the anti-gun agenda of Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton by arbitrarily severing concealed carry reciprocity agreements with half of the United States. What follows is a look at the ongoing battle in the purple state of Virginia - a state not unlike our own...

As a leader of Buckeye Firearm Association, and a NRA Board Member, I am often made aware of battles being waged against the Second Amendment rights of patriots in other states. I understand that I can’t be everywhere for everybody, but when it comes to fundamental inalienable rights under attack - you know, those rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws - I have a hard time staying out of it.

That being said, even during an “off year” election, I found myself again drawn from Ohio into the fight against Michael Bloomberg, and the 2.3 million dollars he threw into races to elect two anti-gun Virginia Senate Senators. As is commonplace, wherever Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun money go, Bloomberg’s anti-gun minions (“Everytown for Gun Safety") follow. And so did I, joined by Timothy Knight, founder of the successful 2013 Colorado recall elections.

What does the election of two state senators in Virginia mean to us in Ohio, and to the rest of the country? Plenty. In my view, it was the progressive anti-gun crowd’s opportunity to test their power on the gun issues - sort of a scrimmage aimed at getting them ready for 2016, helping to test their current plans and form a new strategy if necessary, in their continued quest for power. As an added bonus, if Bloomberg could flip just one seat, cheerfully anti-gun Governor Terry McAuliffe, already owning the tie-breaker, would control the Senate, giving the Bloomberg disciple more power and control.

When it comes to the battle surrounding our civil rights - in particular the right to keep and bear arms for personal protection, and protection from the tyranny of government - Bloomberg and his progressive followers' latest modus operandi is to back door the citizenry by quietly taking over the state legislatures, or by amending the state constitution to affect their changes. This is certainly a battle that is worth all of us engaging in, and one that will come to us if we don’t stop it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

With that in mind, I wanted to update you on what I have been doing, and most importantly show you how easy it is to get involved and make a difference.

The 2016 elections are right around the corner, and I hope you are asking yourself how can you get involved and secure our freedoms. The answer to that question is, "it’s easy!"

1) Recruit and educate like-minded volunteers

One of my favorite Campaign Election Activities is really not work at all. I sometimes forget that this very effective campaign activity is campaign-related at all. I simply visit places I have been hundreds of times before, and find different ones to visit my local gun or sporting goods stores. It is the single best place to find like-minded, freedom-loving patriots, already engaged in, and actively exercising the same rights that the anti-freedom, anti-gun, anti-civil rights, anti-liberty politician on the opposing side are trying to take away.

Trust me; it’s easy to start a conversation about are rights with people who actively exercise those same rights. After everyone offers you their gun to put a few rounds down range, ask them about what they are going to do to put the pro-gun judge, legislator, county commissioner, or mayor in office. You would be amazed what you will learn, and how willing the people are to get involved. In short, pledge to each other to call all of your friends and relatives and make sure they understand the issues and who best protects your rights.

By visiting your local or out of the way gun store, you’re essentially “hunting where the ducks are.” You’re already naturally engaged in freedom-loving conversation while you’re ogling the inventory, and it’s so very easy to turn the conversation to politics. So feel free to engage in a little politicking. Chances are whomever your talking with will not even notice he or she is being educated about the candidate get out to vote for. All those 15 or 30 second commercials will be wasted on those you make contact with, after all who are the like-minded patriots you spoke with going to vote for? The candidate with a fast-talking disclaimer paid for by some unknown political action committee, or the like-minded shooter they just had a conversation with while admiring the same black gun?

2) Get out the vote

Politicians spends thousands of dollars to get one person to the polls - all you have to do is ask your friends to go along with you, or offer someone in need a ride! Also, remind people that many of their friends and relatives are not even registered to vote. After they give you the excuse that “if they registered they will be eligible for jury” educate them that they no longer use board of election roles for jury duty - they use driver’s license lists. Take them to the board of elections and help them register. Remind them that they can register at their local license bureau; or encourage them to contact their board of elections online to get it done. Voting is the single most important exercise for freedom we have, it’s easy, and in any given election no more than 20 or 30% of the people at best even bother to show up. Want to take over a country by sacrificing about 30 minutes of your time and barely lifting a finger? Vote - Freedoms best kept secret.

Why do you think the “Obama phone” exists? Could it be because the Obama machine has the phone number list of everyone who took advantage of their free phone? Or was it to cross-match their phone registration with voting information to make sure they are registered? Or was it to call and remind them to vote, because they have not yet done it? Offer them a ride? Ask them if any of their friends need phones? The phones, and information volunteered to receive one, is one community volunteers key to success, much the same that our lists of friends, armed women groups, hunting buddies, shooting enthusiasts can become. There are more of us than are of them, vote!

3) Volunteer for a candidate's campaign

Reach out and ask your chosen freedom-loving pro-gun candidate if they need a volunteer. Then be prepared for the experience of a lifetime. I never feel more like a freedom-loving American than when I am going door-to-door for my candidate, passing out bumper stickers, or speaking on behalf of my chosen candidate. The connections you will make, the experiences you will have, the laughs, the tears, and the heroes you will meet will change your life.

4) Volunteer for your NRA

Another great way to get involved is by simply contacting your local NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator, Campaign Field Representative, or NRA Grassroots Coordinator. When you sign up at, NRA ILA Grassroots coordinators will provide you with pro-Second Amendment activities and candidates to volunteer for. The time commitment is totally up to you. As a volunteer, the candidate owes you everything, and you will be appreciated. It is a great feeling to know that you have made a difference.

5) Attend high school athletic events

During our time in Virginia, and as the weekend approached, I asked Tim if he was in the mood for some local high school football. One look at him and I was sure he was aware of what I had in mind: a high school athletic contest - voter central! Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents of high school athletes have more in common than a relationship with the players. I learned long ago that those who care enough about their loved ones to brave the cold, rain, and snow of a fall evening to watch a football game also care enough about them to register to vote.

Do you want to know the advantage of a sporting event? They all come to you to be reminded of whom to vote for...well, kind of. They are all filing past you to watch the football game, but they still all have to walk past you to do it! If you position yourself properly near the gate, they all come to you! There is nothing more efficient than having the voters come to you, so on game night, while Tim and I held our chosen candidate’s signs, we wished everyone "good luck,"&passed out a little free candy, and reached thousands of potential voters as they entered the stadium.

6) Influence those who influence others

Often times you never quite know what opportunity will present itself. While in Virginia, I was contacted by a good friend who was aware I was helping out and campaigning in the Richmond area. He asked if I would take the time to drive about an hour to Powhatan County, a rural part of the voting district, to talk to nine or so members of a “coffee clutch” that had been meeting for some 13 years. He mentioned that often times this part of the district is ignored, but nevertheless full of freedom-loving Americans that may also need reminded of who the candidates are in need of our support.

We traveled away from Richmond and pulled into a general store that looked like it would be a great place to film “Pickers.” As promised, there were several tables in the corner, and two old coffee pots straining to keep up nearby. After short introductions I began to point out how close the race would be, and that Glen Sturtevant need every vote, and how important their votes and the votes of their friends would be. After I spoke, answered a few questions and listened to their thoughts and views, I started to learn a little about some of them.

There were two church leaders who had the ability to reach hundreds in their congregations, a retired Marine who regularly attends and is involved with many different kinds of veterans' organizations; a retired highway patrolman still very active in the community, and the owners of the general store, who come in contact with countless numbers of people every day. As we left, they all promised to make an effort reach out to everyone that they could influence, or would listen.

Over the next few days, I received call from each of them reporting what they had accomplished and what was left for them to do. That small group of friends reached out to hundreds - maybe thousands - of voters. I cannot tell you they were responsible for the victory, but I can tell you that Glen Sturtevant was declared the winner only after Powhatan Registrar Karen Alexander reported that Sturtevant had won the county by a 5,100-vote margin, fueled by a big turnout. The race was neck in neck throughout the district, and Glen Sturtevant won by only 1,484 votes.

How important, and what kind of impact did these nine unassuming patriots have? Some say we will never know, but I know - I was there. I saw it in their eyes, and heard it in their promises to each other.

So what does the election of two state senators in Virginia mean to me in Ohio, and to the rest of the country? This article sat on my desktop for several weeks waiting to be finished, it waited through a terrorist attack in America, it waited as the president and numerous states propose to ban the sale of firearms to anyone listed on the "no-fly" list - a list no one knows who creates, where the list is located, how you earn a place on the list, or how you get off the list - a list which strips inalienable rights from those on the “list” without due process.

Then, as this continued to wait on my desktop, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was elected using the money and support generated by Barack Hussein Obama, announced Tuesday that the Commonwealth will no longer recognize out-of-state concealed handgun permits. This causes more than 6.3 million people who could legally, constitutionally carry concealed handguns into Virginia today to lose the inalienable right when the change takes effect next year. An additional 420,000 Virginians with concealed-carry permits will no longer enjoy reciprocity when they travel to six states.

At a time when this country needs it most, when we are under terrorist attack and, more than ever, need the ability to defend each other, Herring has chosen the path of making self-defense harder, and made Virginia a less safe place.

Make no mistake about it - this is a part of a national push to circumvent legislatures opposed to tightening gun laws, by the Obama Administration. In much the same way President Obama says over and over that he's not going to wait for Congress anymore, and enacts executive orders, now the same can be said for leaders at the state level who use their authority to take strong dangerous steps on this issue.

What does the election of two state senators in Virginia mean to us in Ohio, and to the rest of the country? I am confident now, you have the answer. America, it’s time to use the gifts our Founding Fathers left us. For now, all it takes is for “us like-minded people” to get out and vote!

We cannot risk relying on anyone else to fight our battles. All it takes is a vote.

Sean Maloney serves as legal counsel for Buckeye Firearms Association, and as an NRA-ILA EVC in Ohio. His efforts have led to his induction into the NRA-ILA EVC Hall of Fame. He is a member of the NRA Board of Directors and is currently seeking re-election.

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