The burgeoning Second Amendment sanctuary movement in Virginia seems to have shaken Old Dominion Democrats. So much so, in fact, that they’ve come up with a brilliant scheme to try to blunt its momentum.
From the Virginia Mercury . . .
[T]he proposed ban on particular types of firearms — and the prospect of criminal charges for gun owners who didn’t give them up — seemed to stoke the strongest outrage in the 40-plus rural localities that have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries within the past few weeks. Of the dozens of bills already filed for the session that begins in January, (incoming Senate Majority Leader Dick) Saslaw’s assault weapon bill was the most-read, according to the state’s online legislative system.
Some Democrats had already suggested that the assault weapon bill drawing the most attention may not turn out to be the final product.
Don’t worry, they still plan to enact an “assault weapons” ban and outlaw the sale of scary, especially assaulty looking firearms. But rather than attempting to outlaw possession — i.e. requiring Virginians to destroy/dump/turn in the guns they don’t like — Governor Ralph Northam now says he’s open to grandfathering the guns Virginians already own.
The Northam-backed plan mirrors the federal assault weapon ban passed in 1994, which included a grandfather clause for weapons that were legally owned when the legislation was enacted. The federal ban expired in 2004.
The seven states that have enacted their own assault weapon bans all grandfathered in pre-existing weapons, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Northam wants everyone to know that he’s really a big Second Amendment guy at heart.
“I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment. I grew up hunting and fishing,” Northam told reporters Monday morning at an event unrelated to gun policy. “Really what we’re trying to do in Virginia… is we want to make our streets, our communities safer.”
But don’t look for this “compromise” ban to placate gun owners.
In an email to supporters Monday, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the staunchly pro-gun group fueling the gun sanctuary movement in the state, said Saslaw’s bill was “a bridge too far” and was likely to be swapped out for something that included a grandfather clause. But the group made clear that it will continue to oppose any assault weapon ban and reject anything presented as a compromise.
“Who are WE to negotiate away the right of future generations to own AR-15s, or their equivalent, and magazines of whatever capacity they want?,” the VCDL email said. “Who are WE to give away the right of future generations to protect themselves from criminals or from a government that’s gone tyrannical, just so we can selfishly have our guns and magazines now?”
More than 40 Virginia counties have announced that they will not comply with new gun control laws by declaring them Second Amendment sanctuaries. If Northam actually thinks that enacting an Assault Weapons Ban Lite gun control bill will change any minds, he’s kidding himself.
“I hear people out there saying that they don’t want law enforcement to enforce unconstitutional laws. Well we’re not going to propose or pass any unconstitutional laws,” Northam said. “So that’s something we should all agree on.”
Feel better, Virginians?