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Yes, Virginia…They Are Selling Your Gun Rights

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Steve Helber

There are a few things you just want to believe in. When the truth comes out, though, it can be heartbreaking.

That was the case when Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam chose to sell out Virginians’ safety for political control to pass gun control laws that will not stop criminals. Northam rejected more than $660,000 in federal grants to reduce crime. At the same time, he’s welcoming the flood of millions of dollars into the Commonwealth to flip control of the state’s legislature to Democrat blue and finally pass his laundry list of gun control bills that the state legislature rejected twice in the past few months.


Control Guns Over Crime

Northam turned down two Department of Justice grants through the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, because the state refused to comply with DOJ federal immigration policies. Those grants were instead transferred to the non-profit Virginia Association of the Chiefs of Police.

House of Delegates Republican Majority Leader Todd Gilbert was vocally critical of the politics-over-safety move.

“Attorney General [Mark] Herring and Governor Northam have said the loss of lives in Virginia to guns is an emergency, yet they’re willing to walk away from grant funding for a program that has been proven to work,” Gilbert said, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re willing to put politics above saving lives. These programs work. They save lives, particularly those of young, African American men.”

Gun Control Cash

Virginia, at the same time, is seeing buckets of gun control cash being poured into statewide election campaigns in an effort to give Northam swayed legislature he wants to pass draconian and ineffective gun control measures. Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group bankrolled by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is exporting his New York City gun control ideas to the tune of $2.5 million. Giffords, the gun control group founded by former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, pledged another $300,000. 


The money wave is an effort to flip the majorities in the Old Dominion’s Senate and House of Delegates, where Republicans hold a razor-thin majority in both chambers. Those majorities are the only bulwark against Northam’s far-left gun control measures. Northam called a special legislative session following tragic murders in Virginia Beach. He demanded a ban on modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15, standard-capacity magazines, suppressors, and limiting handgun purchases to once a month. 

Northam got his special session, which was abruptly concluded in just hours. His gun control wish list was bust, mostly because Virginia’s legislators knew it was all a sham – just a way for Northam to step out from his blackface-scandal. Northam went on to even admit his control push wouldn’t have saved lives. 

Northam is already paying back the political favors to the gun control groups investing in Virginia’s elections. He’s launched an ad just two weeks before state elections promising more gun control.  While he claims his ideas are commonsense, they are indeed far from it. They’re far-left ideas that match the wish lists of other anti-gun states like California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

These aren’t notions that will make Virginia safer. Gun ownership has risen and the FBI’s crime statistics continue to show crime is dropping. Northam, along with his gun control cronies, prey on unfounded fears that law-abiding gun owners are the problem. It’s now clearer than ever. The problem, however, isn’t guns. It’s not those who own guns. It’s politicians who would jeopardize the safety of their fellow citizens to have political stump speech and bogeyman instead of actually tackling the issues. 


The firearms industry isn’t waiting. While Northam plays political football, we are working toward Real SolutionsSM. We are partnering with law enforcement to provide more than 38 million free firearms safety kits with gun locks through Project Childsafe. Those locks are given to law enforcement, including Virginia communities, to keep firearms out of the hands of those who shouldn’t possess them. We’re working with gun retailers to improve store security and matching rewards for gun thefts and robberies. We’ve changed the laws in 16 states to improve background checks through FixNICS and partnered with the largest suicide prevention agency in America to intervene before a moment of crisis.

Governor Northam wants the issue and not the answer. He rejected the solution over politics and his policies put Virginians at risk. That’s unconscionable. That’s also something Virginia voters should remember as they head to the polls November 5th.

Virginians need answers to fight crime. The answer they found, though, is their elected representatives were willing to sell them out for gun control campaign cash.

Lawrence Keane is the Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.



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