Virginia's Democratic Governor's Anti-Gun Package Is Straight-Up Confiscation

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Posted: Jan 14, 2019 9:50 PM
Virginia's Democratic Governor's Anti-Gun Package Is Straight-Up Confiscation

Elections have consequences and all elections matter, especially at the state and local level. For nearly ten years, the Virginia Republican Party has yet to win another statewide race; the 2009 gubernatorial election was the last time they won. In 2017, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam beat Ed Gillespie, and they virtually wiped out the GOP in the state. The GOP maintains two-seat majorities in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate. It’s not pretty, given that Republicans use to control over 60 seats. That sizable majority was the reason why former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, another Democrat, couldn’t push a far left agenda. He even signed into law a deal on the state’s concealed carry reciprocity laws, which were about to be shredded by state Attorney General Mark Herring, who is considering running for governor in 2021; Virginia bars consecutive terms for governors.

With the tide changing in the state, Northam is going all-out on this anti-gun blitz. He smells blood. And even if he isn’t successful this session, he’s laying the groundwork to pass this gun control package that includes a so-called assault weapons ban and universal background checks. The latter is a prelude to a national registry. The former is grounded in total confiscation. Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon has more:

The plan to ban the sale and possession of certain kinds of firearms proposed by Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) could affect millions of gun owners, an industry group said on Friday.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun manufacturers and dealers, said the vague description of the legislation released by Northam on Jan. 4 would apply to most firearms currently on sale in the commonwealth.

"The legislative proposals being discussed would put most firearms beyond the reach of law-abiding Virginians who choose the firearms of their choice to protect themselves, hunt, and practice recreational target shooting," said Lawrence G. Keane, the group's general counsel. "That could potentially impact the availability of tens of millions of firearms."

While short on details, Northam's announcement said part of the proposed gun-control package would ban the "sale, purchase, possession, and transport" of undefined "assault firearms" including "any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition." Since the vast majority of semiautomatic handguns and rifles in the state are sold standard with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, it appears the proposed ban would affect most firearms on sale in Virginia. Additionally, the announcement of the ban did not include mention of any grandfathering to allow what NSSF estimated would be millions of Virginians who already own such firearms to legally keep them.

The National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, VA Republicans, and other pro-Second Amendment groups have vowed to block these measures, but I’m not optimistic. The next governor will be a Democrat, and the legislature is likely to flip in the next cycle of elections. Some of this horrendous anti-gun package will become law, and the VA GOP has already caved on Medicaid expansion. It’s a mess. The first round will likely end up being a victory for the GOP and gun rights groups, but the long-term outlook does not look good.