Per Lori Haas, when CSGV meets with legislators they’re “building a safer Virginia.” When VCDL does it, they’re “a domestic terror organization.” (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence/Facebook)
U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Virginia cannot afford to elect Glenn Youngkin* and his outdated and harmful stance on gun violence,” a June 8 press release statement by Lori Haas, Virginia State Director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence announced. “His willingness to say anything for a vote is deeply troubling, as we’ve already seen him cozying up to those with deep ties to those at the forefront of the insurrectionist movement, like Senator Amanda Chase and the domestic terror organization, the Virginia Citizens Defense League.”
“Domestic terror organization”? VCDL? The “non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms” that focuses on educating gun owners about pending legislation and involving them in lobbying their representatives?
“VCDL has never even been accused of being involved with or committing any kind of violence, much less a violent criminal act,” the League said in response, linking to the FBI’s “domestic terrorism” definition. “In fact, VCDL had the single largest gun right rally in the nation last year and not a single act of violence or any other criminality arose from it. We got accolades for leaving Richmond cleaner than it was before our event … Lori Haas and CSGV owe VCDL a public apology for, and a retraction of, the false, completely baseless, and legally libelous accusation that VCDL is a domestic terrorist organization.”
Instead, CSGV just changed its press release to delete the offending sentence and did so without a retraction notice informing readers that a significant revision had been made. I compared the release at the current link with the Internet Archive link to the original on my The War on Guns blog.
Issuing after-the-fact corrections and retractions can be a fact of life for anyone who puts their findings and thoughts out there for others to read, and while I know from personal experience doing so can be painful and humbling, those of us who have made honest mistakes understand our obligation to the readers and to the publishers that host our work to be forthright about it. It’s not only the ethical thing to do, our credibility should depend on it.
In this case, the defamatory lie was deliberate and considered, and put out to the world by an individual and group with many years of media experience. Sneaking a deletion into the release and not telling anyone shows they know they have crossed a legal line and are trying to cover their tracks to avoid liability. But without a retraction and apology, the damage cannot be undone. Everyone who saw the original went away with the accusation in mind and anyone seeing the “revise” version will not know that the “inconvenient” version has been “disappeared.”
That’s an old and time-tested tactic.
Such inflammatory smears are hardly new for CSGV. Speaking to the UK’s The Guardian, CSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz said this about armed Americans who believe the Second Amendment to be a safeguard against tyranny:
“Number one: there needs to be a clear public response, that people who exercise this ‘right’ are not patriots, but traitors.”
That means you if you are a gun owner who believes that. It also, as CSGV has shown in the past, means me. Smearing gun owners as terrorists is a calculated narrative that demonizes them made by those demanding a “monopoly of violence.” And that’s really what CSGV, formed in 1974 as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns, demands.
That’s not their only goal. They would reportedly “require[e] licensing of gun owners, registering firearms, and banning private ownership of handguns [with] ‘Reasonable limited exceptions’ … allowed for ‘police, military, licensed security guards, antique dealers who have guns in unfireable condition, and licensed pistol clubs where firearms are kept on the premises.’”
To paraphrase Beto, hell yes, they want to take your guns. But even that won’t satisfy them if you think about it. Because if you are disarmed (assuming you survive the experience), according to CSGV, you’ll still be a “traitor.” You’ll still be a “domestic terrorist.”
And what happens to those?
Words have meaning. CSGV’s actions after being called out on their libelous press release show they understand that. They now need to be shown that those defaming others have accountability.
* For the record, Youngkin is no great shakes for gun owners but even he is portrayed as too “extreme.”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.