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When It Comes to Guns, Virginia Can’t Get Out of the News

This is the kind of story you don’t read every day. The plot points:

1. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City sued two gun shops in Virginia, as part of his effort to stop guns being illegally imported to New York.

2. A gun-rights group called the Virginia Citizens Defense League mounted a fundraiser for the two gun shops, planning to raffle off two guns.

3. Government officials declared the raffle a violation of state gambling laws, so the V.C.D.L. instead made the gun giveaway open to the public. By now it was called the “Bloomberg Gun Giveaway,” and was held at a Fairfax County government building.

4. The two guns — a Para-Ordnance pistol and a Varmint Stalker rifle — were given away last night. Here’s what the A.P. reported:

The first winner, Jay Minsky, responded with an obscene hand gesture when asked what message he hoped to send to Bloomberg. “If he doesn’t like people in New York having guns, he should deal with New York,” said Minsky, who grew up in Brooklyn. “Just keep out of Virginia.”

5. Some people protested the gun giveaway, including the parents of some of the victims in the Virginia Tech shooting. “We’re not here to have a debate,” said one father. “We’re here to witness for our daughter. The victims need to be witnessed to. People of the commonwealth can make intelligent decisions about what’s right.”

Between this event, the Virginia Tech massacre, and a local gun tempest I blogged earlier, it seems that the people of the commonwealth suddenly stand at the very center of the everlasting U.S. gun debate.