A sweeping ban on many popular guns has been proposed in Virginia, which in November handed total control of the state’s legislature to Democrats.
Senate Bill 16, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Saslaw, seeks to expand the state’s definition of so-called “assault weapons.” Violation of the law’s provisions would be a Class 6 felony, which in Virginia is punishable by up to five years in prison.
In its analysis of the legislation, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action waved a red flag.
“The restrictions included in the proposed legislation does not grandfather current owners. The legislation is clearly designed to be firearms confiscation, as current owners would be forced to dispossess themselves of their property or face a felony conviction,” the NRA-ILA wrote.
Much of the legislation is devoted to a discussion of the characteristics of what would be called, in Virginia, an assault weapon. In reducing that to plain-speak, the NRA-ILA said that “SB 16 would outlaw America’s most popular rifle, the AR-15, along with countless other rifles, pistols, and shotguns that Virginians use for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.”
“A knowledgeable firearms owner will take a look at the ridiculous definition and realize that such ham-handed legislation must be born out of petty vindictiveness or a complete ignorance of firearm technology, as there is no logical public safety rationale,” the NRA-ILA said, noting specific weapons that would be banned.
Meanwhile Virginia Democrats are filing bills to make the possession of millions of currently-owned firearms illegal. SB16 bans possession of many rifles without any grandfathering provision which means it’s confiscation. https://t.co/i0SnJNDTxm https://t.co/j6DaJAj7g2
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 2, 2019
Handgun users could also become instant lawbreakers, the NRA-ILA warned, citing the bill’s provision that bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
“Many handguns commonly-owned by law-abiding citizens for concealed carry come standard with magazines that would be banned. Otherwise law-abiding gun owners who violate the magazine provision could be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail,” the NRA-ILA wrote.
As the state pushes to grab guns, many citizens are pushing back to keep them.
Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave recently told the Washington Free Beacon that 20 Virginia counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years,” he said. “It’s a sleeping giant that had been pretty much not paying attention to politics, and now they’re awake, and now they’re flooding these sanctuary county hearings. Flooding them.”
“It’s sending a huge message to the General Assembly that a lot of the state does not want more gun control, certainly none of the crap that they’re pushing that does nothing but affect law abiding citizens,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything for criminals.”
Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make Virginia’s gun laws worse than New York. First up: a total ban on commonly-owned semi-auto firearms and common firearm parts.https://t.co/Z7EKnKF9XA
— NRA (@NRA) November 27, 2019
The legislative attack against gun rights was among the items cited by Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in November when Democrats swept into total control of Virginia’s legislature, according to The Washington Post.
At the time, he said the state would push for gun control laws calling for universal background checks, banning the sale of so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, restoring the law that limits purchases to one gun a month, and imposing a red flag law to remove guns from those a court deems at risk.
“We will at least start with those,” he said.
Asked if he would take so-called “assault weapons” from their owners, Northam said, “That’s something I’m working [on] with our secretary of public safety. I’ll work with the gun violence activists, and we’ll work [on] that. I don’t have a definitive plan today.”
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