Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced that he will convene a special session of the General Assembly on July 9 in order to push a wide-ranging package of radical and ineffective gun control proposals.
A June 7 press release from the Northam’s office made clear that the governor is seeking to enact the following severe firearms restrictions:
- Criminalization of the private transfer of firearms;
- A ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms;
- A ban on firearm suppressors;
- Firearms rationing (described by the governor’s office as “one-gun-a-month law,” as opposed to Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law that was repealed in 2012);
- Procedures to confiscate firearms from otherwise law-abiding individuals without due process;
- Mandatory firearm storage requirements;
- Mandatory lost or stolen firearm reporting; and
- A weakened Virginia firearms preemption statute that would empower local governments to create a complicated patchwork of gun laws.
The wording of the press release suggested that this is not a complete list of the gun control measures the governor wants the General Assembly to consider.
Northam’s decision to convene a special session of the General Assembly came four days after a government employee shot and killed several people inside a municipal building in Virginia Beach. Given the facts of the case, none of the governor’s proposals would have prevented this tragedy.
According to multiple reports from law enforcement, the perpetrator used two .45-caliber pistols to carry out the attack. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has made clear that the firearms were purchased legally; one in 2016 and one in 2018. The perpetrator, a former member of the Virginia National Guard with no obvious criminal history, was a 15-year municipal employee who had badge access to the location of the attack.
Following the shooting, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC. Chief Cervera noted,
As far as more legislation on gun issues. I’m a member of Major City Chiefs, we did publish something about a year and a half ago. I don’t think most of that would have mattered in this particular case. We do have the Second Amendment it is very stringent for our country. In this particular case the weapons were obtained legally. Everything was done in a legal manner by this individual.
Given that Northam’s gun control proposals do not address the facts in Virginia Beach, some have suggested that Northam’s high-profile attack on gun owners is motivated by an eagerness to distract from he and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax’s political problems in the wake of scandals involving a racist yearbook photo and alleged sexual misconduct.
Law-abiding Virginia gun owners are being scapegoated by anti-gun politicians in their attempt to hastily force through ineffective gun control measures, many of which were already rejected earlier this year during the regular session. Such imprudent action should never be tolerated. Given the alleged conduct of the governor and lieutenant governor that has recently come to light, their impatience with the normal legislative process is all the more suspicious.
Virginia gun owners and all those who support freedom and demand integrity in the legislative process must take action to defeat Northam’s gun control opportunism.