Virginia Citizens Defense League

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Virginia Citizens Defense League
Formation October 0, 1994; 20 years ago (1994-10-00)
Type NGO
  • Virginia, United States
Leader Phillip Van Cleave

The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is a grassroots, pro-gun organization that was founded in October 1994 as the Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League (NVCDL). The group experienced enormous growth in membership statewide and was incorporated as VCDL in May 1998. VCDL is a non-partisan organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians and the proposition that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental human right.


from the VCDL web site

VCDL believes that to win the fight to restore our Rights, we have to 1) go on the offensive and 2) make use of the best lobbyist – the voter.

VCDL rejects the approach of focusing on a defensive battle until “the time is right”. Even if you win 95% of the defensive battles, you lose 5%. Over time, this defensive war of attrition slowly whittles away our Rights until we have none.

The time isn’t going to magically become right to introduce pro-gun legislation. Instead, WE have to make the time right. And we do that by constantly pushing a pro-gun agenda – getting pro-gun legislation before the General Assembly, getting voters to contact their legislators, and hounding any locality that violates the law.

Even if we win only 5% of our pro-gun agenda each year, we are advancing our rights each and every year, instead of losing them bit-by-bit.


VCDL doesn’t have a paid lobbyist. Instead, VCDL relies upon the voters in each legislative district to contact their legislators. Voters are very effective lobbyists that legislators do listen to.

VCDL focuses its efforts on promoting gun-friendly legislation in the Commonwealth, especially in regards to concealed carry and ensuring that localities comply with state law.

The VCDL website lists many anti gun laws they helped repeal, and pro-gun laws they helped pass.

Their motto is "Defending Your Right To Defend Yourself".

In May 2007, VCDL made news by organizing the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway drawing. The drawing was designed to help two Virginia gun dealers fight Mayor Mike Bloomberg's attempts to drive them out of business through lawsuits. The drawing was originally scheduled for April 19, 2007 at VCDL's regular public meeting, but due to the massacre that occurred at Virginia Tech earlier that week, the drawing was postponed until the next public meeting on May 17.

The Washington Post ran a series of stories on how Fairfax County politicians worked overtime to try to stop the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway, including an article on May 16, 2007.[1] In August 2007, VCDL filed suit to compel Fairfax County to drop its efforts to declare the drawing illegal. The reference is a tinyurl link that has been blacklisted;[citation needed] the source for this item can be found on the VCDL website, VA-ALERT 8/6/07, Part 1, item 1.

VCDL also made headlines by leading the successful campaign to compel the Roanoke Times to take down their online searchable database of Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holders.

VCDL operates a free email alert service, known as VA-ALERT, to keep interested persons updated on legislation and local issues.


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