At times, I wish I could see what lies ahead for Virginia, regrettably I don’t. I can only follow the evidence. Consider what some candidates ran on in their campaigns. We have no idea how serious they were or how their fellow party members felt about what they were saying. Some have offered legislative proposals that match those campaign speeches.
In coming weeks we will find out if they have the votes to get these bills passed and signed by the governor. In one instance, he has already rejected their campaign promise.
Last week he publicly announced he would not approve legislation to do away with Virginia’s “Right to Work” Law.
However, there are many more that you should watch and be concerned about. This week I will focus on gun proposals -- several that have raised concerns. Those that begin with SB have been proposed in the Senate, HB bills in the House.
w New firearms regulations: SB16 Assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; prohibiting sale, transport, etc. Expands the definition of “assault firearm” and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony.
This bill not only makes those firearms that are referred to as “assault rifles” illegal to sell, but it also adds to that definition the following: any rifle or pistol that can be operated as a semiautomatic that holds 10 rounds of ammunition or, in the case of shotguns, 7 rounds. It would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to buy a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.
• SB12, SB70 and HB2 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks: This bill is often referred to as a “universal background” check to ensure that criminals are prevented from buying firearms. The problem with this is fairly simple, few criminals even try to buy guns from reputable dealers. They either steal them or buy them on the street. How many truly believe that if one is buying out of the trunk of a car, a dirty dealer is going to contact law enforcement to see if the buyer has a criminal background?
• SB18 Firearms; criminal history record information checks, age requirement: This bill raises the age in which someone can buy a firearm from 18 to 21. It would also ban young people from transporting guns they currently own, therefore, limiting young people from being involved in hunting.
• SB22 and SB69 Handguns; limitation on purchases: This bill would return the policy of allowing a citizen from buying more than one gun a month. A law that was on the books for a couple of decades that did little to prevent criminals from getting anything they want on the street.
• SB35 Firearms, etc.; permitted events: This bill would effectively ban firearms by the vote of the city council or board of supervisors.
• SB67 and HB9 Firearms; reporting those lost or stolen, civil penalty: This bill would make the gun owner a criminal if they do not report their gun has been stolen within 24 hours. Most citizens that legally own a firearm report the robbery as soon as they realize it has been stolen.
What many of these bills do is simply tell us in rural Virginia that we must live by the standards of those in Northern Virginia. Their proposals do not take into consideration the concerns of sportsmen nor the facts of life in rural areas. They relate to the fact that law enforcement may be moments away in their cities and urban counties. They ignore the fact that in many of our communities, law enforcement may be 20 or more minutes away; therefore, we need to be able to protect our families ourselves.
Nor do these legislators have much concern that the Bill of Rights of our Constitution guarantees our right as upstanding citizens to own firearms. Expect more bills to be offered.
• Second Amendment Sanctuaries: I am very proud that many of our counties have been alerted to the problems this creates for our citizens. Each county that I am honored to represent has passed or are planning to pass local ordinances to protect those rights.