UPDATED: PWC Board of Supervisors and Second Amendment Rights

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Yesterday I received the below NRA-ILA action update along with a contact list for the PWC Board of Supervisors.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors to Consider Proposal to Ban Hunting with Buckshot, Today! Your help is needed immediately, Tuesday April 18!

Virginia Prince William County of Board of Supervisors is meeting at 2:45 p.m. today to consider banning the use of buckshot, commonly used in hunting.

Please immediately contact members of the Board of Supervisors below and strongly encourage them to oppose this anti-hunting measure!

Unfortunately I received the following update today:

UPDATE - Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors passed this measure banning the use of buckshot by a 6-2 vote Tuesday afternoon. The following Supervisors voted in favor of the measure to ban the use of buckshot for hunting in Prince William County Virginia: Connaughton, Covington, Nohe, Caddigan, Jenkins and Barg.

Please be sure to thank Supervisors Stirrup and Stewart for their votes against the measure.

Looks like Connaughton and others had no problem voting for what appears to be an unecessary hunting restriction and anti-Second Amendment measure. Extremely disappointing.

The NRA-ILA coverage is available here. The Potomac News has a story here, and the Washington Examiner has a story here.

UPDATE: Young's has some excellent extensive coverage of this story here.

UPDATE 2: Apparently (Thanks Greg for pointing this out in the comments) it was previously unlawful to use slugs and now it will be the other way around. The vote was not, as originally thought, simply the elimination of the right to hunt with buckshot, rather it was the elimination of the right to hunt with buckshot while simultaneously restoring the previously revoked right to hunt with slugs.

This changes things somewhat and makes the decision less of an anti-Second Amendment vote, rather it was a decision of which of the two was a better policy and was in a sense Second Amendment neutral. While allowing the choice for either form of ammunition would be preferred by many (presumably including the NRA… and thus their actions) it isn’t as terrible as originally thought.

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13 Comments

Singleton said:

Looks like Connaughton can kiss the NRA's support goodbye in any future run.

Sophrosyne said:

Good point... Does he have any prior record of voting against gun owner's freedoms?

Greg said:

So how does requiring slugs rather than buckshot infringe second amendment rights here? Before, it was unlawful to use slugs. Now it will be the other way around.

Ever tried to bring down a deer with buckshot? How far did you have to track the animal before it fell? Three miles? Five? How may wounded animals were you never able to find? Did your sense of hunting ethics bother you as it has so many others?

Whoever the dumbbutt at NRA-ILA was who authoried this idiocy is probably the same knucklehead that has made it harder to repeal concealed carry prohibitions in restaurants for the past three years. How can NRA-ILA be so thoroughly out of touch with big game hunting and concealed carry so consistently?

I'm a hunter, a veteran infantry soldier and a die-hard second amendment supporter. I'm telling you this is hogwash, and that's too often the product of the incompetents managing Virginia politcs over at NRA-ILA. They'd be better off giving their money to VCDL-PAC where their resources could do some good.

Greg

Sophrosyne said:

Greg-

PWC had a ban on using slugs during hunting prior to this vote?

I did not know that... I thought this was the elimination of the right to hunt with buckshot rather than said elimination with a previously revoked right (hunting with slugs) restored.

Greg said:

See comment 9 on http://www.dgif.state.va.us/HUNTING/regulations/local_regulations.asp

What (not so much) amazes me is that the NRA-ILA didn't understand this either, otherwise they wouldn't have planted their foot in their mouth like this, again. Instead they tried to beat up on at least two excellent county supervisors for no good reason.

It irks me to no end when this happens, and it happens all too frequently.

Sophrosyne said:

Your point is excellent, thank you for sharing. I am surprised (should I be?) that the articles covering the vote did not mention this key fact.

Seriously- thanks for your input. I am going to put a note in the main post.

NoVA Scout said:

Sophrosyne: thanks for being an up-front guy and straightening this out. And thanks to Greg for making clear. A lot of people went winging out on this without understanding what was happening. Re the first couple of comments- Connaughton is a gunowner and an expert marksman (I know because I've been shooting with him). If the NRA had its wits about them, he'd be their dream candidate. As this issue shows, they sometimes make mistakes. This issue had nothing to do with gunowners' rights. It all had the look of some last minute stampede by people who either didn't take the time to study the issue or were playing games.

Singleton said:

Taking away one wrong and adding another in its place is that much better?

Buckshot is less likely to kill in a hunting accident whereas a slug misfired is more likely to cause a fatality.

Regulations about hunting in areas with a certain population density, I somewhat understand but limiting ammo choices seems to be an exercise in futility.

NOVA Scout said:

So Singleton, would your vote be to retain the buckshot requirement?

Greg said:

Oh, geez, here we go again.

If you think 00 buckshot is safer than a slug, you're mistaken. 00 (known as double-aught) and #4 buckshot are fairly common loads used for self defense because they are very deadly and are perceived as requiring less precision in aim than a slug. In the close range typical of a negligent discharge, I think it could be argued that buckshot (not birdshot, buckshot) would be more hazardous because of the somewhat greater liklihood of being hit by it. The safety argument is really so thin that it's not really worth engaging in. There is a small difference in projectile velocity (slugs go a bit faster) that makes buckshot not travel as far as a slug, but if you're depending on projectile range rather than hunter ethics and safety to prevent accidents, you've pretty much lost the battle anyways.

Hunting regulations make sense, and even though I hate firearms regulation in general, in this specific case I can understand the rationale and generally support regulations. These rules should be designed to mandate reasonable safety procedures, humane harvesting and private property rights. It makes sense to me, based on my experience, to require the use of ammunition that is the most likely to be lethal and humane to the animals we hunt. Buckshot too often results in wounded animals. It encourages rapid-fire multiple discharges that are relatively hazardous and unlikely to result in a lethal hit on an hunted animal. It causes a "spray and pray" hunting practice.

"Buckshot only" in PWC is a very unusual practice from a national perspective that is inconsistent with hunter ethics in my view. It's driven by a misconception that residents are somehow safer from injury and property damage by hunters that fire multiple 00-buckshot rounds (in a possible irresponsible manner) rather than one slug, responsibly. Get hit by either one, and it'll ruin your whole day.

But if you want to shoot an intruder in your house with your 12 GA loaded with 00 buck, this regulation doesn't stop you from doing so. Just be careful of what's on the other side of that wall, and the next one, and the next one.

Sophrosyne said:

"Taking away one wrong and adding another in its place is that much better?"

Well, not necessarily (although Greg seems to be making the case that if you are going to pick one it is better to choose the slug). My point was not that it was "much better" but that it wasn't much worse (as I had originally thought).

James Young said:

Thanks for the link, Sophrosyne. I freely confess that I'm no expert in this area (I'm a theoretical gun nut; my younger brother is the practitioner), though it SEEMS to me that buckshot is safer than slugs in an area like PWC, which is why I posted the alert I received from NRA-ILA. I don't particularly see it as a Second Amendment issue, rather than one over which reasonable men may differ, and Greg makes some valid points (points which would be more useful if he eschewed his attacks and promotion of the rivalry between NRA and VCDL). I think I end up being less concerned about wounded animals than I am about errant shots hitting people.

It also strikes me that this is hardly a reason to change your opinion one way or the other on Connaughton. As far as I know, his record on gun rights is fairly good.

Sophrosyne said:

No problem Jim.

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