Friday, April 28, 2006

Why Is Chairman Sean Attacking the NRA?

Interesting article today in the Potomac News on the controversy over the Prince William Board of County Supervisors' decision on 18 April to ban buckshot for deer hunting, and its decision this week to reconsider.

Chairman Sean was quoted in response to the efforts of the NRA:

The National Rifle Association had a link on its Web site giving all Prince William County board members' e-mail addresses.
The Web site said that outlawing buckshot might have been a signal that the county was ready to ban all hunting in Prince William County.
Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, said Prince William County is not about to ban hunting.
"That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard," Connaughton said.
"The NRA has not done itself any great service in this issue, because they knew about the potential of going from buckshot to slugs, yet waited until after the meeting began to ask people to contact us," he said.
The county supervisors have no intention of doing anything to restrict hunting. There are too many deer in the county and the herds need thinning to keep deer from becoming a nuisance, Connaughton said.
"We're just seeing a rapid growth in the number of deer and we're not going to do anything to inhibit hunting and culling of the deer population in Prince William County," Connaughton said.
Connaughton said the NRA didn't do its homework about Prince William County.
"To put out that information like this is clearly erroneous," Connaughton said.

I guess that some people, when they've made a huge mistake, attack those who dare to point out that mistake.

I don't necessarily endorse the particulars fo the NRA's actions, but the fact is that the organization drew attention to the BOCS's arguably ill-considered and certainly precipitous decision to ban buckshot for deer hunting. As I've stated in another post and in comments, it seems to me that the issue is one of safety, and in a rapidly developing and suburbanized area, buckshot is safer for the public. I realize that others have views that differ, and express concerns about getting a "clean kill," but --- so long as we're not talking about banning hunting --- the public safety issue is more important.

What is disturbing is Chairman Sean's response. Apparently the Weapons Control Board --- made up of appointees of the BOCS --- made an ill-considered recommendation, based upon a falsely asserted recommendation of State Game Commission. Moreover, according to the published agenda, the only item which was supposed to be on the agenda on 18 April was a motion to schedule a public hearing, not an effort to amend County hunting regulations.

The NRA called attention to this ill-considered action, controversy ensued (with the fullest discussion occurring in the blogosphere, by, inter alia,

So why is Chairman Sean mad at the NRA? Because it suggested that the action was a precursor to banning hunting altogether? Over the top, to be sure (Chairman Sean is absolutely right about the need to cull the County's deer population), but is that a reason to attack? Sadly, it looks as though, as usual, Chairman Sean attacks when the more appropriate course would have been to thank the NRA for informing interested persons of ill-considered actions by the BOCS. Why? After all, when he ran for the GOP nomination for Lieutenant Governor, he pandered to the Virginia Education Association and obtained its endorsement. Is this simply another effort by Chairman Sean to pander to elements outside of the Conservative coalition?

Inquiring minds want to know.