Virginia Gun Rights Advocates Shoot Themselves In The Foot OP-ED


Collecting data on innocent citizens for no actual reason is one thing, but collecting data on concealed carry owners because you want them to vote Republican and probably volunteer for someone’s campaign? Apparently that’s an unconstitutional violation or privacy, too, at least according to some Virginia Republicans.

The daily beast reports that the Virginia Republican Party is apparently under fire from its own base because of what they see as an unconstitutional violation of their right to privacy: collecting data on them so they can be encouraged to vote for elected representatives that would inevitably be tasked with defending their warped sense of a right to privacy from future ?intrusions.? If this sounds laughably ironic in much the same way as the NSA leaking scandal is, that’s because it is.

That sense of ?what Constitution do these people actually read?? is always present any time any member of the Tea Party feels the irresistible urge to comment on civil liberties they apply inconsistently and refuse to understand the fundamentals of. Or, in other words, whenever a member of the Tea Party says anything at all about civil liberties. Larry Nordvig, executive director of the Richmond Tea Party, said exactly that of a program designed by the state Republican party to mobilize gun owners to vote Republican: ?This is not the time to be jeopardizing peoples’ privacy,? the gentleman says about the decision to gather a list of individuals with concealed carry licenses for contact by the party.

Now, to the punchline of the massive political irony behind this story. According to the Washington Post, the state Republican party is collecting this data now because in a few weeks it will no longer be able to. In their infinite wisdom, legislators in Richmond has recently passed a bill that would make it illegal to collect information on people who filled out public licenses in broad daylight to carry concealed weapons. The innocuously named and not-at-all-fascist-organization-sounding ?Virginia Citizens Defense League? championed the new law as a victory for personal privacy.

And you know, I think liberals and progressives who want to take back the state of Virginia should do the exact same thing. That’s right, you read that sentence correctly. The Virginia Citizens Defense League, bless their hearts, may have just done more to hand over Virginia to the Democrats than anyone else in the state, with the possible exception of Virginia’s pro-life groups. The logic in this is very simple. The tea party is the base of the Republican party, despite their repeated claims to be a completely different social movement of some kind. Even though many in the Republican party wish the Tea Party were a separate entity, they simply aren’t. They vote Republican, they attend Republican events, and when they get mad at Republicans they don’t vote Democrat, they just stay home. They are made up of the kind of voters that turn out in droves to vote Republican in mid-term elections.

Gun owners who care about civil liberties and the ability to carry a concealed weapon into colleges and hospital delivery rooms are the core of the core for Republicans. They are the people who will show up and vote early or be there at the crack of dawn on election day to vote for anyone with an ?R? beside their name, no matter how pitiful an example of humanity they might be. The state party knows it needs these people to turn out to win, simple as that.

And thanks to the tea party, the Virginia Republican party is now seriously impeded in its efforts to gather data on its most loyal constituents. That means going into the 2014 election cycle, it will either have to spend time and money coming up with a new metric to connect with its supporters, field test that metric and apply it statewide, or they have to rely on obsolete contact lists for 2010 or 2012. Thousands will have moved between then and now. Thousands more will have changed their numbers.

In other words, the umbilical cord which attaches the state Republican party to its army of dependable voters is about to be completely severed. Virginia, remember, has been a swing state for the past four or five years now. Both parties need every vote they can get. And one of those parties is about to be put at a serious disadvantage by its most loyal supporters.

Irony tastes a lot like victory in Virginia, doesn’t it?

Edited and published by CB