News and Commentary

Virginia Democrats, Fearing Retribution, Change Language For Governor’s Gun Ban

   DailyWire.com
Thousands of gun owners rallied outside of the capitol in Richmond, Virginia, US, on 20 January 2020 to protest new legislation as the Democratic Party retakes power in the state.
Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Democrats in Virginia will try to change the language of Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D-VA) gun ban bill to avoid losing their jobs in the next election.

Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms reported that the state’s House Public Safety Committee was meeting Friday morning to discuss a bill proposed by Northam that would effectively ban “assault firearms” – the vaguely defined term applied to guns by people who do not understand them.

“Democrats will move to modify the current language and remove a registration requirement for so-called ‘assault firearms,’ [sic] as well as changing a ban on ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds to a ban on those that can hold more than twelve, according to a draft copy of the legislation reviewed by Bearing Arms,” Edwards reported.

Virginia’s state elections are a year behind the nation, meaning state assemblymen will be up for re-election in 2021. Anger over the proposed gun laws appears to have made many Democrats uneasy about their political futures, as more than 90 counties in the state have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. As Edwards reported, even if Democrats are successful in removing the registration requirement, the bill would still “turn the vast majority of the state’s legal gun owners into felons overnight.”

“There are many problems with the draft substitute language, but let’s start with the fact that by banning the sale, manufacturing, and transfer of so-called ‘assault firearms,’ [sic] the legislation is still declaring that these firearms are only allowed to be owned through the good graces of the government,” Edwards wrote. “We also know what Democrats really want, which is the outright ban on the possession of these firearms. That was the intent of SB16, the original gun ban bill backed by Gov. Northam. If HB961 becomes law, Democrats will be back in 2021 with their registration requirement, and then back to impose their ban on possession in 2022.”

The new language Democrats are trying to insert would make it a felony for gun owners to continue to possess a magazine that can hold more than 12 rounds. It would also be a felony to continue to possess legally purchased suppressors. This means that people who have legally purchased these items would become felons overnight due to this bill, even with the updated language.

Edwards reported that similar language in New Jersey resulted in gun owners not complying with the law. Further, the bill would immediately face a court challenge. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Virginia, previously ruled semi-automatic rifles aren’t covered by the Second Amendment because they’re “like” machine guns (they’re not). But as Edwards noted, the 4th Circuit has changed in the past three years and may be more open to ruling correctly this time around.

Democrats appear to still be working on the language in an attempt to make the bill more favorable. This may include changes to the substitute language regarding magazines and suppressors. At some point, the Democrats are going to have to realize that coming for Virginia’s gun owners is simply a losing battle.