Virginia's 'separate reality' on handguns
One curious thing about the Old Dominion is the "separate reality" that one experiences between what the talking heads say and what really is.
Take the concealed handgun issue. As in many states, the more vocal Virginians who constantly see their Second Amendment rights in jeopardy have raised a cry that Barack Obama's ascension into the presidency would mean new, police state crackdowns on personal firearms.
This fear, which has about as much credibility as the one that Obamacare would lead to "death panels" selecting which among the elderly will die, has been repeated by groups including the Tea Party types to "Going Rogue" Sarah Palin-ites to militamen and others. Fueling the fear has been Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who backed a strange law to allow heat-packing Virginians to sit their rear ends on barstools in saloons as long as they have gun permits and do not drink alcohol. The law took effect July 1.
Come to find out that State Police records show that for the first half of 2010, gun permits have dropped 40 percent compared with the same period in 2009. One wonders: If Obama is going to crack down on gun laws, why are fewer people getting permits?
Or could it be that the threat to the Second Amendment has been grossly exaggerated by various right-wing bloggers, politicians, gun store owners, hunters and that peculiar individual who expects Obama to send the "black helicopters" after him as he stocks up on survival gear?
The odd part is that the state's police -- the ones who are actually in jeopardy from bullets -- aren't exactly in love with the expansion of handguns.
But what does that matter? Our gun nuts say they are law-abiding and love cops.
It's just another quirk of the Old Dominion, like the one that we all hate the federal government and its spending but love those federal, notably defense, bucks showered on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
| July 12, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
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