From ProgressVA, this is utterly appalling…but not surprising coming from this ultra-extreme group, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).
Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Condemn Giveaway At Blacksburg “Stepping Out” Festival
Silent Vigil to be held in protest
Blacksburg, VA – The Virginia Citizens Defense League, an extreme gun group self-described as “a gun-rights organization that makes the NRA look moderate” will raffle off a Glock handgun this weekend at the Stepping Out festival in downtown Blacksburg. The move is especially traumatizing and insensitive considering a Glock handgun was one of two weapons used by Seung-Hui Cho to shoot and kill 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
Members of the Virginia Tech community and advocates for gun violence prevention criticized the giveaway. Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech, said, “The senseless act of violence at Virginia Tech, committed by a mentally ill gunman armed with a Glock handgun, produced a deep wound on the citizens of Blacksburg and the entire Virginia Tech community that has yet to heal. The VCDL’s thoughtless and offensive raffle of an identical weapon simply throws acid on that wound rather than show empathy for this community.”
“Raffling off this particular weapon at a simple celebration of the Blacksburg community is entirely disrespectful of the people who were injured and killed at Virginia Tech and the trauma this community has experienced,” said Andy Goddard, president of the Virginia Center for Public Safety. Goddard’s son, Colin, was also shot at Virginia Tech. “The VCDL should cancel this giveaway out of respect for the families that were destroyed by a weapon identical to the one they plan to give away.”
In silent protest of the VCDL's raffle, members of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities will hold silent vigil from
next to VCDL booth in the Community Connections section of Steppin' Out, Farmer's Market at corner of Draper and Roanoke St to remember those whose lives have been destroyed by senseless gun violence.
This is not the first time the VCDL has engendered controversy and accusations insensitivity to the effects of gun violence. In 2007, the organization held a gun raffle in Fairfax County amid criticism for ties to the Virginia Tech controversy.