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reinstate a one-a-month limit on the number of handguns residents may lawfully purchase (a gun-rationing law that was repealed in 2012), and impose a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and “large” capacity magazines.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
NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

The Thurston County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association and ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The judge agreed the signature sheets did ...

Outrage of the Week: Shopify Targets America's Guns

News  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Outrage of the Week: Shopify Targets America's Guns

Hundreds of firearms retailers may have to close soon because a powerful Canadian tech company, Shopify, recently decided it was anti-gun and issued an ultimatum: Do business our way or not at all.

No NRA Members Need Apply

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

No NRA Members Need Apply

Like most people, we understand that educational institutions and staff tend to lean left. The degree and intensity of the bend varies across universities, but a leftward orientation is actually expected today. We’re aware that ...

Fake Blues: The Media’s Worst Enemy Isn’t the President, It’s Themselves

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fake Blues: The Media’s Worst Enemy Isn’t the President, It’s Themselves

On Thursday, over 300 media outlets joined in a coordinated effort to push back against President Donald Trump. That will hardly come as a shock to many Americans, as it seems mainstream news organizations have done little ...

Canada: Montreal to Endorse Nationwide Handgun Ban, Police Content with Current Laws

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Canada: Montreal to Endorse Nationwide Handgun Ban, Police Content with Current Laws

Politicians from the largest city in the Canadian gun control stronghold of Quebec plan to put their weight behind a raft of severe gun restrictions next week. According to a report from Radio Canada International, the Montreal City ...

King County Unveils “Common Sense” Action Plan: Ban “Semi-automatic, High Velocity Weapons”

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

King County Unveils “Common Sense” Action Plan: Ban “Semi-automatic, High Velocity Weapons”

In a July 23rd op-ed, Joe McDermott, the Council Chair of King County, Washington, introduced a multi-prong “King County Gun Safety Action Plan” aimed at reducing gun violence.

Shopify Targets Law-Abiding Firearm Businesses

Gun Laws  

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Shopify Targets Law-Abiding Firearm Businesses

This week, Canadian e-commerce host Shopify changed their company’s firearm policy with disastrous effects for law-abiding U.S. gun businesses that use their e-commerce services. Shopify’s abrupt overnight decision to block the sale of specific firearms ...

Divided Appeals Panel Upholds California Ban on Post-2013 Pistols

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

Divided Appeals Panel Upholds California Ban on Post-2013 Pistols

Imagine if California, to combat what the legislature considered the serious problem of manmade global warming, required all new vehicles sold by car dealers in the state to run on grass clippings, rather than fossil ...

NoFundMe: NRA Protest March Nets $70 in National Fundraising Effort

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

NoFundMe: NRA Protest March Nets $70 in National Fundraising Effort

Crowd funding is a relatively recent innovation that allows a person or cause to leverage the vast reach of the Internet to raise money for virtually every imaginable purpose. Even small donations of a few ...

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.