The General Assembly will recess for a couple weeks to cool off in the summer heat. Maybe when constituents get hold of them, the legislators will want to get back to the Capitol!
(Cartoon from The News Leader)
The Supreme Court ruling in the D.C. gun case is, of course, front page news in the Shenandoah Valley where hunting and gun ownership are taken for granted. It is a landmark case because, for the first time, the court has found (5-4) an individual right to keep and bear guns. But a close reading of the decision makes clear the justices were not endorsing an absolute right for anyone to own/possess any gun at any time or place. In the majority opinion, Justice Scalia wrote that the U.S. Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home." In typical fashion, the court's decision is pretty narrow and left open the power of state and local governments to enact reasonable regulations such as gun-free school zones, registration, and laws about concealed weapons. We'll see future cases that will spell out the meaning of reasonable. With some of the least restrictive laws in the nation, the ruling will have little impact in Virginia.
Augusta Republicans elected Bill Shirley chair during a Thursday night meeting. Not to dig through all that litter again, but you'll recall the dispute between the reactionary right wingers (the Kurt Michael/Scott Sayre faction) and the conservatives (Larry Roller/Emmett Hanger faction) that led to disputed meetings, appeals to the district and state committees and threats of law suits. Some say Shirley was a compromise candidate, but that hardly seems likely as only the reactionary right wing faction (44 of them) was seated at Thursday's meeting and their loudest cheerleader is crowing. Mr. Shirley is a nice guy whose style will be dramatically different from the abrasive Michael's leadership. But, he's pretty far to the right so the ideological bent of the local GOP will change little. Senator Hanger, how do you spell O U T C A S T in your own county committee? I do agree with Mr. Shirley's observation that the hen fight in the Augusta GOP is "stranger than fiction."