The National Rifle Association is the big bugaboo for the gun control crowd. It’s so much so that the NRA is used as a euphemism for gun rights supporters in general, many of whom have little to do with the NRA for whatever reason.
And that same gun control crowd is in firm control of the state of Virginia.
Ordinarily, this would be a minor setback for the gun-rights group except for one thing. They’re based in Virginia.
So, not only are they faced with hostility by anti-gun states in general, but also by the government of their home state, who has already tried targeting them with legislation.
Luckily for the NRA, someone else is more than interested in hosting them in a much more friendly environment.
A West Virginia senator is inviting the National Rifle Association to move to his state as lawmakers pursue gun-control measures in neighboring Virginia, where the group now has its headquarters.
The invitation came in a Monday letter from Republican Sen. Randy Smith to NRA leadership that said his home state lets residents carry guns without permits and its lawmakers have pushed to allow firearms on college campuses.
“Where Virginia is pushing for stricter gun laws, West Virginia has worked on and passed a number of legislation in support of gun rights,” Smith wrote, also noting potential tax incentives for companies that bring their headquarters to the state.
The NRA did not immediately comment.
Honestly, they wouldn’t.
The reason is that this is both an awesome offer, but a tricky position for the NRA.
If the NRA stays in Virginia, they face being targeted with more and more anti-gun legislation and other measures that will ultimately be focused on them and have little impact on anyone else within the state. The state government doesn’t like them and this particular government seems to be making it clear that they intend to have their way moving forward.
On the other hand, if they move, there’s an optics issue. There’s the potential for it to appear the NRA is declaring defeat in Virginia, that they’re just handing the state over to anti-gun forces permanently. It’ll look like they’re running.
That’s not necessarily the image the embattled gun-rights group wants to portray.
Of course, there’s also the fact that Virginia is still winnable. Monday’s protest in Richmond tell us that there is a massive groundswell of support for gun rights still in the state. More than 20,000 people (I hear 22,000 or more, to be specific) showed up on Lobby Day in the state to make their voices heard.
How many more couldn’t? How many simply were unable to make it to Richmond for whatever reason, such as having to work or due to family obligations?
Between Monday’s turnout and the sanctuary movement that swept something like 90 percent of the counties in Virginia, I’d say that the Second Amendment movement in the state is still strong and has the potential to take back all the ground they lost in November. If they can somehow manage to hold ground through the next two years, they can retake the legislature and the governor’s mansion.
With that on the horizon, it’s likely the NRA isn’t interested in leaving the state.
That said, it’s pretty cool of West Virginia to make the offer.