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reinstate a one-a-month limit on the number of handguns residents may lawfully purchase (a gun-rationing law that was repealed in 2012), and impose a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and “large” capacity magazines.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
Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

News  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

On Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court created a dangerous new exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a strong safeguard for our right to keep and bear arms.  

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

News  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) unabashedly embraced the tactics behind one of the most shameful policies of the Obama era, openly using the guise of her federal authority to berate and not so ...

Canada’s Senate Holds Hearings on “Rube Goldberg” Gun Control Law, Bill C-71

News  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Canada’s Senate Holds Hearings on “Rube Goldberg” Gun Control Law, Bill C-71

Last month, the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) concluded two days of hearings on Bill C-71, the Liberal government’s gun control bill. (An additional hearing date has been set for March 18, ...

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

News  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

The NRA applauds Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin for signing Senate Bill 150 into law, an NRA-backed bill that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm.

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Washington: Gun Ban Bills Fail Crossover Deadline

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Washington: Gun Ban Bills Fail Crossover Deadline

Today, March 13th at 5:00PM, was the cutoff deadline for all bills to be voted out of the chamber in which they originated.

Kentucky Governor Welcomes NRA to Bill Signing Ceremony

News  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kentucky Governor Welcomes NRA to Bill Signing Ceremony

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin welcomed NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox to a ceremonial bill signing for SB 150, an NRA-backed bill that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed ...

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Introduced, Legislator Bill Introduction Deadline Extended

Monday, March 18, 2019

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Introduced, Legislator Bill Introduction Deadline Extended

Today, Assembly Bill 291 was introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-41).  This omnibus anti-gun legislation is a threat to both gun owners residing in Nevada and those who are visiting. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Florida Alert! Moms Demand Action Publicly Criticized for INACCURATE Testimony

On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, two bills supported by NRA & USF were heard and overwhelmingly passed in the House Criminal Justice Committee.  Ms. Shannon Guse, speaking on behalf of Moms Demand Action, made patently false ...

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.