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Val. W. Finnell

Saturday, August 1st, 1998

Val W. Finnell, M.D. of Springfield, Virginia is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for August.

In nominating Finnell for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that “with gun grabbers these days trying to attack the right of individual law-abiding citizens as some kind of a public health menace, it’s important that qualified physicians come forward with the truth to dispel this latest attempt at vicious anti-gun myth-making. Val has done this and is doing this in a big time way. He already has rendered the gun rights movement tremendous service and he intends to continue to do so in the future. He is most deserving of this Award.”

As a Virginia activist with Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research, Inc. (DIPR) a national organization dedicated to exposing the lies of the public health propaganda machine on guns and violence, Val paid close attention to what he calls “the biased and incompetent research on guns funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

He decided “to go public with this information through numerous letters to the editor and national television interviews.” He also was “able to expose the lies of the CDC before the American Medical Student Association’s summer intern program in Washington, D. C.”

When THE WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE in its March 29, 1998 issue published an anti-gun attack piece, “Trigger Points,” by Bob Thompson, purporting to show the public health benefits of restrictive firearms control policies, Val went into action, wrote a letter, and had it published, in the magazine’s May 10 issue.

Val called the Thompson piece “a thinly veiled attempt to discredit those who would challenge the politicized and incompetent ‘research’ of the public health, anti-self-defense gurus.

“Attempts to apply the medical model to a criminological issue are not only incorrect, but dishonest. Not only have these ‘scientists’ mischaracterized firearms, they have made a systematic attempt to selectively ignore the sociological and criminological literature. Many of these scholarly articles refute the various methodologies and conclusions reached by the medical gun prohibitionists. We find, however, no mention of these scholarly works in many of the public health advocates’ published ‘research.’

“Doctors across America should be ashamed of the peer review process that allowed these biased articles to be printed in some of the best medical journals.”

Val was born April 11, 1968 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received his BA in Philosophy in 1990 from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and his MD in 1994 from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He currently is a pathology resident in his last year of training.

Val is a United States Army physician. He and his wife, Tracy, who holds a BS in Elementary Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, were married in 1989 and now have two children, Zachary, 7, and Lucas, 4. The family attends Harvester Presbyterian Church in America in Springfield where Val is personally involved in biblical counseling and in the church’s evangelism ministry. Although stationed initially in Hawaii, Val now works out of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D. C.

He tells POINT BLANK he “first became involved in Second Amendment issues while living in Hawaii. I can remember taking my gun to the police station for mandatory registration and fingerprinting by the Honolulu Police Department. My first thoughts were, ‘Is this America?’

“I soon found myself in the Northern Virginia area. I was one of the many people who stood in line the first day concealed carry permits were made available to Fairfax County residents. Standing in front of the Public Safety Building, I met a man handing out flyers from the Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League (NCVDL). The flyer said that Fairfax County was breaking the law by charging excessive fees and conducting interrogations of CCW applicants. Having come recently from Hawaii, I was determined not to see the same sort of tyranny develop in another state. I joined NCVDL and got involved.

“During this first year in Virginia, I also got involved with DIPR…The majority of my activities, however, have revolved around NVCDL. My first major activity with NVCDL was to serve as the organization’s webmaster. It was through countless hours of maintaining the web site that I was able to educate myself on Virginia Second Amendment issues. I read everything I could about the history of the Constitution and the meaning of the Bill of Rights and became progressively involved in the legislative process in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Since I first joined in 1995, NVCDL grew from just a few dozen members to a statewide organization with nearly 400 members and supporters. NCVDL could no longer justify its regional focus and in May of this year incorporated as the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). Currently, I am serving as VCDL’s first President. We look forward to an exciting start as Virginia’s most aggressive pro-firearms and liberty organization.”

Over the last three years, Val has maintained a statewide e-mail alert list known as VA-ALERT; been active in Virginia legislative sessions in Richmond, the state capital; helped engineer in 1996 a change in Fairfax County’s “hunting laws” to exempt persons lawfully carrying firearms for personal safety from county hunting restrictions; organized grassroots support last year for defeating mandatory FBI fingerprinting of CCW applicants in Fairfax and Prince William Counties; organized grassroots support last year for a successful lawsuit against an illegal Fairfax County gun ban regulation; and attempted, along with others in VCDL, to repeal the “restaurant ban” from Virginia’s CCW law in the 1997 and 1998 legislative sessions.

Val’s current projects include a pending lawsuit of the Alexandria City facility gun ban as well as a challenge to Arlington County Police Chief Edward A. Flynn’s “Home Site Inspection” policy for Class III Weapons applicants.

Finnell said that if the home inspection policy is not rescinded, VCDL will take the case to federal court.