Virginia’s 11th is an odd-shaped Congressional District stretching from the rural Virginia horse country near Warrenton, then meandering east through the battlefields at Bull Run, and finally racing north headlong towards the uber-metropolian suburbs of Fairfax and Arlington. Nestled near the armpit of the District lies the impressive headquarters of the National Rifle Association. The Washington bad-ass lobbing group, made up of one part gun industry protector and one part hunter’s friend, is the alpha dog among Capitol Hill law pushers. Strangely, this NRA stronghold is represented by the kind of guy the Right loves to hate. Democrat Gerry Connolly is a Harvard-educated, Washington insider who served as a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
On Tuesday, Connolly faced Republican challenger, Keith Fimian, who is a Second Amendment absolutist. Fimian’s views on guns are so extreme that he famously said: “I think that at Virginia Tech, if one of those kids in one of those classrooms was packing heat, I think that would not have happened … The perpetrator of that crime would have thought twice before walking into a classroom if he thought there was any chance of someone being armed and preventing him from doing that.”
Nothing better for higher education than a good, old fashioned shootout with everybody getting in on the act. Yippe-ki-yeay!!
That ‘s enough to get you a portrait at the NRA or at least mention in its “Armed Citizen” column which mostly extols the virtue of firearms to handle disputes with thieves or robbers. What it didn’t do was get Fimian elected. In a stinging rebuke, Fimian now stands 920 votes behind the Connolly, who in no uncertain terms, made his opposition to the so-called “Gun Show Loophole” a feature of the campaign. The “Gun Show loophole” allows most anyone to purchase a gun from a private seller at a gun show without the federally mandated background checks. The NRA has fought this sensible requirement for years on Second Amendment grounds.
Connolly was aided mightily in his campaign by a moving television ad featuring Omar Samaha, brother of Virginia Tech victim Reema Samaha. The ad seen below pointed up Fimian’s opposition to closing the “Gun Show Loophole’ and thus keeping his NRA street cred. Said Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was shot and wounded in the Virginia Tech massacre, “We told him [Fimian] his remarks were offensive and he apologized. But we also asked him to take a stand for closing the Gun Show Loophole. He would not make that commitment, and on election day Virginia voters punished him at the polls for protecting criminals instead of public safety.”
Makes one proud to be a Virginian today.
Source: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence website
— Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger