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Virgil H. Goode

Wednesday, January 1st, 1997

Congressman Virgil H. Goode, Jr. of Virginia is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for January.

In nominating Rep. Goode for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that “this Virginia lawmaker, throughout his public career, has demonstrated repeatedly and forcefully his commitment to the individual right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

“Recently, when my wife and I were talking with the newly-elected Congressman Goode, a Democrat, and his wife during a reception in Washington, D. C., Goode said that ‘we need a permit to carry concealed law for Washington, D. C.’

“Of course I agreed and volunteered to introduce him to Congressman Clifford B. Stearns of Florida, a Republican. Rep. Stearns, himself a CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Awardee, is the author of legislation which would allow the holder of a permit to carry a concealed firearm issued by any state to carry concealed in any state.

“Congressman Goode was happy with the prospect of meeting Congressman Stearns and so I introduced the two Representatives to each other. It seems that, as a result, we now will have in Congress bipartisan support for the federal reciprocity permit to carry concealed concept.”

Goode, as Virginia State Senator, was the chief sponsor of Virginia’s concealed carry legislation. The 1995 Personal Protection Act, adopted after a spirited fight by legislators favoring restrictive gun control, set standards so that Virginia’s law-abiding citizens would have a fair chance of obtaining a concealed carry permit regardless of the locality in which he or she lived.

Prior to the Virginia law, it was almost impossible in many jurisdictions in Virginia to get a concealed carry permit.

When the Goode proposal was being debated in Virginia, R. Cort Kirkwood columnized in the Arlington, Virginia COURIER that “those who don’t want citizens to carry guns might explain how crime will increase if more citizens carry guns. Criminals will always commit crimes, but law-abiding citizens will not, and their newly-won liberty to protect themselves isn’t likely to cause more crime. More shootings, however, are another matter. If and when Mr. Goode’s bill becomes law, more shootings may indeed occur, but it is unlikely those shooting will be defined as ‘crimes’ in the sense of predator and prey. Where citizens are prepared to defend themselves as the rule rather than the exception, criminals will fear being shot dead while plying their trade…

“Aside from the obvious advantage an armed man has if he must defend life and limb, he also has the undying respect of those who see the bulge under his jacket, which says, in the words of the old cliche: ‘Don’t tread on me.’

“Those words don’t mean much to those who want to live in a risk-free community where people no longer know how to use, and in all likelihood fear, firearms. But what those folks don’t understand is that a measure of danger always accompanies liberty, and no society is truly free unless its citizens have a right to defend themselves. Accidental shootings will occur, but for the same reason we do not curtail the right of the press because a newspaper might err, we should not curtail the right of free citizens to defend themselves.”

As a Virginia State Senator, Congressman Goode voted against banning certain shotguns on the grounds that they could be used for self-defense purposes. He also voted against then Governor Wilder’s “one-gun-a-month” registration scheme.

Born October 17, 1946 in Richmond, Virginia, Goode, a Baptist, holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Virginia. He lives with his wife Lucy and one child in Rocky Mount, Virginia.