On Saturday afternoon, Republican Whip and Short Pump resident Eric Cantor hosted the 2009 Republican Round-Up, an annual rally at the Innsbrook SnagAJob Pavilion. Outside the gates, several hundred members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), protested the event’s venue choice. VCDL is the state’s largest firearms rights group and has been successful in influencing […]
On Saturday afternoon, Republican Whip and Short Pump resident Eric Cantor hosted the 2009 Republican Round-Up, an annual rally at the Innsbrook SnagAJob Pavilion. Outside the gates, several hundred members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), protested the event’s venue choice.
VCDL is the state’s largest firearms rights group and has been successful in influencing legislation affecting gun owners’ rights in the past.
The Innsbrook SnagAJob Pavilion is private property, separate from the rest of the Innsbrook Corporate Center. The venue, home to popular Summer concert series Innsbrook After Hours, does not allow firearms at the concerts or any other event.
“Four years ago, a couple of our members showed up and were turned away because of their firearms,” VCDL board member Bruce Jackson said. “We found [the Republican Round-Up] another location and they turned that down and said, ‘Well it’s pro-gun but it doesn’t allow alcohol,’ and apparently drinking is more important than the Constitution to Eric Cantor.”
Jackson went on to explain that the organization then found another venue that was was both pro-gun and alcohol, as well as conveniently located, which was also turned down. “The truth is they are just not pro-gun,” Jackson said. “They are holding their event repeatedly at a place that bans firearms. We’re trying to prove to the Republican Party that firearms are important and need to be allowed in their events.”
VCDL claims to be a non-partisan group with members from all across the political spectrum, but many seemed to hold issue with the party as a whole solely for its decision to hold the Round-Up at the Innsbrook Pavilion.
“Part of the platform of the Republican Party is the protection of the Second Amendment,” VCDL President Philip Van Cleave said. “Yet every year, they pick this one anti-gun location where we can’t do an open carry. You either believe in the Second Amendment or you don’t, and they’re apparently trying to have a gun-free zone and we’re protesting that. We have people who are even willing to pay for a new location, but they are simply not willing to move.”
Van Cleave calls the party’s actions “hypocritical” and says the group will continue to protest with more members each year until their concerns are heard.
Interact: What do you make of the Republican Party’s venue decision? Do you think the VCDL should protest it? Leave your comments below.