Del. Ken Plum: The Tactics of Fear

by Karen Goff June 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm 23 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoI recently received a “Dear Mr. Plum” letter from the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).  Had it not been for the obvious marketing design of the envelope, I may have thought that he was writing to me about my monthly appearance outside his office as part of our End Gun Violence Vigil.

No, he was writing to invite me to become a member of the NRA! The mass marketing firm responsible for the mailing may have lost their contract after sending a letter to me.

I get many solicitations for membership and contributions in the mail, but I found this one to be particularly alarming. While it promised me an “NRA rugged duffel bag” for joining, its main pitch was to scare me and the thousands of other persons receiving it into signing a “National Petition to Protect Our Rights to Keep and Bear Arms” and joining the NRA. Signing the petition was important the letter explained because “the Obama-Biden-Bloomberg gun ban machine and their anti-gun media allies are waging all-out war on our gun rights!”

And if that was not enough, the letter went on to explain in bold type with underlining and capitalization that “They’ve vowed to fight on and never surrender…Not until they BAN tens of millions of commonly owned firearms…SHUT DOWN gun shops and shows…Impose crippling TAXES and FEES on firearms and ammunition…REGISTER gun owners…and DESTROY your right to defend yourself, your home and your loved ones.”

The tone of the letter was disturbing with its repeated references to “fight, defend, destroy, war, muscle, defeat.” All the bluster and loud noises are attempts to distract from the efforts on the part of many organizations to have common sense gun safety measures passed that leaves the Second Amendment in place but enhances safety in our homes and community. I continue to introduce a bill to close the gun show loophole as a way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and persons who are violent.

The purpose of the signed petition is explained later in the letter again in bold type: “When NRA is fighting gun control legislation and regulations, we can point to these signed petitions and tell your Virginia politicians that there are thousands of gun owners standing ready to elect the Second Amendment’s allies and defeat her enemies!” Unfortunately this fear tactic works with too many elected officials.

The theme of our monthly vigil at NRA on the 14th of each month is “We will not forget,” and it started after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. We will not forget, for unfortunately we are reminded too often about gun violence — last week it was the pastor and eight members of a church in Charleston, SC, who died from gun violence.

Not to adopt the tactics of others, but I do fear for the future of our free society if violence like this continues.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinion does not necessarily reflect that of Reston Now.

  • Clayton Abernathy

    the NRA screwed up by offering Ken Plum a duffel bag, he is clearly a fanny pack/murse kind of man.

    • Ming the Merciless

      A pair of Depends with the NRA logo would be most appropriate.

  • MJay

    For all of the NRA’s bluster, Plum is doing the exact same thing. Closing the “gun show loophole” sounds nice in theory, but in practice, it will have very little effect on gun crimes. Politicians like Plum are very good at talking without actually proposing any real solution. For example, how will more stringent background checks work if the government doesn’t keep their background checks lists (NICS) updated? Plum should push for enforcement of existing laws before blustering on about the NRA. I have had no problem being subject to a background check before accumulating my Reston-based arsenal of firearms/assault rifles (yes Mr. Plum, these exist in homes all throughout Reston) because I am not a criminal and do not lie on my forms (also, I’ve never attended a gun show). Criminals, on the other hand, have no such problem with lying on their paperwork, particularly if their info is not updated into NICS.

    • Ming the Merciless

      First and foremost, THERE IS NO “GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE”.

      If you buy at a show they will run a background check just as if you bought in a store.

      • ICallBS

        That’s not true, they are not required and will not run a background check as if you bought in a store.

        • Sue L

          If I may clarify, licensed dealers are required to run background checks at gun shows. It’s the independent sellers that are not required to run checks.
          And to MJay – it’s up to the states to keep NICS data accurate. Congress can’t even get enough votes to make NICS mandatory and current.

  • Guy Montag

    How will these laws get the guns out of the hands of so many criminals in Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit?

    • Sue L

      A lot of weapons in those cities come from neighboring states, such as Virginia and Indiana, with looser gun laws than Maryland, Illinois and Michigan.

      • Paul

        Luckily no firearms can get through the top notch border security this administration has in place…except those that do. Face reality, there are well over 300 million guns in this country this very moment, there is no “common sense” law that will reduce violence.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    Studies repeatedly confirm that 1 in 4 Americans is mentally ill and until that problem is solved we need to put the constitution on hold, it’s that simple. The right to bear arms is totally taken out of context, in fact the war is over!

  • Chuck Morningwood

    You miss the obvious, Ken. The easiest way to undermine the NRA is to join it. If everybody who believes in tightened gun control were to join the NRA, pretty soon the NRA would be owned by gun control advocates.

    • Cluster Tycoon

      Borderline mentally ill, based on comment.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        If by that you mean, “Crazy like a fox”, then, yes, “mentally ill”.

        • Cluster Tycoon

          Let’s not mince words, you could be mentally ill. 90+% of all gunshot wounds – self inflicted. 50/50 chance of having your gun taken and used against you by a criminal during an incident. Last but not least, when confronted eye to eye with a criminal intent to leave the scene of a crime unrecognized who has the stronger will to kill – you or the criminal? Chances he/she has killed before…

          In my mind all gun advocates are industry spokespeople for the defense industry. An industry that has little to offer to their shareholders as it reinvents itself through bankruptcies time again despite record profits!

          Shame on the constitution if that is what you are quoting!

    • Sue L

      The NRA uses its members for their cash and to get the votes. If the NRA leadership cared about what their members actually think they would listen to the 80+% of members who support background checks. It’s the manufacturers who don’t want background checks and give mightily to the NRA to be their lobbyist. Several years ago, speaking before a Congressional committee, Wayne LaPierre stated that the NRA SUPPORTED background checks – until the manufacturers directed him to change his position. It’s in the C-SPAN video file.

      • Paul

        Why is it that a Democratic President with a Democratic House and Democratic Senate could not get this done?

  • Cluster Tycoon

    Please someone step forward and present the mentally ill “militia of one” argument.

    Also. Based on comments here on the board the mentally ill outnumber the healthy and the healthy all don’t want any guns in our community!

    The situation is far worse than medical scientists have concluded. The constitution needs to be amended to accommodate the mentally weak, hopefully without guns.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      The Constitution doesn’t need amendment in order to accommodate the mentally ill. Only the PPACA and Medicare and Medicaid would need amendment in order to make it easier to get treatment.

      BTW, Hurray to SCOTUS for upholding the Federal Subsidy provisions of the PPACA.

    • Charlie Iron-Knife

      that picture is repeating itself, much like history

  • Rational Reston

    NRA = Kettle
    Del Ken Plum = Pot

    It’s just incredible that Del. Plum calls out someone for using “Tactics of Fear” where the majority of his talking points are just the same thing. He’s just not a man of leadership, vision, or solutions. Just selfish talking points.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    “We need to be focusing on the nine families that are left and see that this doesn’t happen again. These people sat in there and waited their turn to be shot. That’s sad that somebody in there with the means of self-defense could have stopped this.”

    Anotherr loose cannon, spraying the public with their folksy nonsense, without actually being there or understanding the facts.

  • Paul

    Mr. Plum “fears for the future of our free society if violence like this continues”. Has he gotten anything done about it? After thirty-three years of being part of the legislature has he been able to have any affect whatsoever on the violence he refers to? No, but he does stand in front of an office building every month.

    • Guy Montag

      Don’t forget the fundraisers for his campaign where he runs unopposed. He does that too!


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