Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

Friday, January 12, 2018

Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

This week, Virginia Governor McAuliffe and Governor-Elect Ralph Northam outlined their top priorities for the upcoming legislative session, and highlighted expanded background checks for all firearm sales and other transfers (so-called “universal” background checks) as a key measure the new governor will be pursuing upon taking office.

This is no surprise. Gov.-elect Northam has “proudly voted” to restrict Virginians’ gun rights for years. As a state senator, he pushed for expanded background checks, and laws that would ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and magazines. As lieutenant governor, he notably opposed permitless carry, casting a tie-breaking vote to block legislation that would have allowed residents, otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed carry permit, to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere in the state where a handgun may be carried openly. In addition to his pledge to expand background check laws, the incoming governor campaigned on promises to further restrict gun show sales, reinstate a one-a-month limit on the number of handguns residents may lawfully purchase (a gun-rationing law that was repealed in 2012), and impose a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and “large” capacity magazines. All of this attracted the support of billionaire anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown group, which reportedly donated almost $1.5M towards Northam’s gubernatorial bid.

Indeed, Gov.-elect Northam describes his legislative priorities as “common sense,” echoing the terminology consistently used by Everytown and the like to justify expanded background checks, gun bans, purchase limits and other gun control measures touted as the key to ending gun crime in America. None of these proposals, though, have proven to be effective in stopping gun crimes. 

The kind of expanded background check law likely to be proposed (here, here and here) would make it a crime for any person to participate in a sale, rental, trade, or other “transfer” of a firearm without first having the transaction brokered through a licensed gun dealer, unless the sale or transfer falls within a narrow exemption. Because such laws are written to include temporary transfers, changes in the possession of a gun, regardless of whether ownership changes, come within the kind of transaction that must be processed through a licensed dealer. 

The NRA has universally opposed such background check laws in Virginia and in other states because these measures accomplish little besides burdening law-abiding gun owners with new fees and extra government paperwork for ordinary “transactions” of guns while training, hunting, at the range, and in other legitimate pursuits. A recent study of laws in three other states confirms the NRA’s apprehensions as to the utility of expanded background check requirements in crime control – “the state most compliant with its ‘universal’ background check law also had the highest homicide rate and the biggest increase in its homicide rate of the states studied.” And earlier this month, we highlighted a federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which negates claims of private sellers knowingly breaking the law to make guns available to felons and other prohibited persons. In advocating for expanded background checks, gun control proponents have consistently relied on a narrative whereby criminals may easily acquire guns through “unregulated” private channels, including online sales. Apart from the obvious retort – that criminals are as likely to comply with enhanced background check laws as with existing background check requirements or other laws – the GAO report failed to validate these assertions in any way. Undercover ATF agents who tested the willingness of private individuals to sell guns to disqualified persons using the “relative anonymity of the Internet” were unable to complete a single transaction: every seller refused to complete a sale on learning of the agent-buyer’s “prohibited” status.

We can’t help but notice that the McAuliffe-Northam legislative package includes a proposal to significantly raise the threshold for felony larceny from $200 to $1,000, something Governor McAuliffe is “very, very passionate about.” At a joint appearance with Gov.-elect Northam to present legislative priorities, the governor explains that an “18-year-old stealing an iPhone” is “branded as a felon in Virginia for the rest of [his] life,” and raising the felony threshold would mean fewer people are liable to be “ensnared in this lifelong punishment for making a small mistake.” This anxiety over the potential impact of laws on convicted thieves and felons provides an interesting counterpoint to the ease with which these two officials push hard for new and additional restrictions that encroach on the fundamental rights and freedoms of Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners.

TRENDING NOW

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

There are some odd dynamics in international relations. Countries in which people are not free serve on the UN Human Rights Council. Political considerations guide every action.  Of course, the NRA is a single-issue organization so ...

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

NRA member Darrell Kennedy was on vacation with his family at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month when an anti-gun vacationer snapped a photo of his holstered firearm and tweeted out a hate message. “Sat ...

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

Joe Biden has been out on the primary campaign trail working hard. Maybe a little too hard. “We got to let them know who we are,” he recently told a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State ...

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy ...

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

The Christian Science Monitor describes itself as “an independent international news organization” that wants to “help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations.” Its editorial board recently published an article, A seed for society’s ...

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

A smart person learns from his mistakes. An even smarter person learns from the mistakes of others.  Beto O’Rourke, an unemployed Texan running for president, must not be too smart.           

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

In the wake of the recent two criminal mass attacks, a number of gun control proposals have begun to circulate in our nation’s capital. None of these proposals would have prevented the recent tragedies, but they all ...

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Monday, June 17, 2019

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session.

Important Statement from NRA CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre

News  

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Important Statement from NRA CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre

The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of violence in America.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.