Northam Lost the Legislative Fight, Now the Political Battle Begins

ralph northam special session gun control

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, right, applauds speakers along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, left, during a rally at the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Governor Northam called a special session of the General Assembly to consider gun legislation in light of the Virginia Beach Shootings. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s bid to enact a raft of gun control laws in the Old Dominion went down in flames yesterday when the GOP-controlled legislature abruptly adjourned the special session that Governor Coonman had called in the wake of the Virginia Beach shooting. It was a naked political play meant to deflect attention from news of his inconvenient racial past and take advantage of what he no doubt figured would be intense public pressure to do something about “gun violence.”

So the fact that the legislature took less than two hours to call and end to the whole charade without enacting even one item on Northam’s extensive gun control wish list was a defeat for the cause of civilian disarmament.

But as we wrote when Northam first announced the special session,

It’s a no-lose proposition for Northam. He gets to look like he’s doing something about “gun violence” no matter what the legislature does (or doesn’t do). And he puts Republicans in the difficult position of having to vote on “common sense” gun control measures after a tragedy.

If they vote some of the measures into law, Northam looks like a hero. He and his fellow civilian disarmament fans win and the red-shirted moms will dutifully applaud and tweet huzzahs.

If the GOP, by some miracle, develops a spine and rejects Northam’s proposals, he can rail against them for ignoring 12 dead bodies and failing to address “gun violence” in an election year (primaries are next week, the general election in November).

Virginia gun right supporters can thank the heavens that the miraculous development of GOP intestinal fortitude actually came to pass. But now comes the election year political battle.

After yesterday’s rejection of Northam’s gun control gambit, the state now becomes the locus for a significant battle over gun rights and the anti-gun left’s attempts to roll those freedoms back.

Here’s the AP’s report detailing the battle lines.

Deep-pocketed interest groups and activists on both sides of the long-running fight over gun laws are gearing up for a major clash in Virginia, now a key election battleground in the issue after Republicans on Tuesday adjourned a special legislative session called by the governor to consider gun-control measures in the wake of a mass shooting.

The state’s off-year election will be closely watched because Virginia is the only state where control of the Legislature is up for grabs in 2019. Republicans currently hold a narrow majority.

GOP lawmakers abruptly ended the session after less than two hours and postponed any movement on gun laws until after the November election. Democrats and gun-control advocates vowed to force them from office.

“If these ‘leaders’ won’t enact solutions that their own constituents are demanding, then we’re going to fight tooth and nail for representatives who will,” Kris Brown, president of the Brady gun-control group, said in a statement.

Scores of gun-control advocates gathered Tuesday outside the Capitol, jeering at Republicans like House Speaker Kirk Cox. Meanwhile, hundreds of gun-rights supporters filed through a legislative office building to meet with lawmakers and in a show of force against stricter gun laws.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen called it “deja vu in Virginia.”

“The gun control lobby says this every election cycle, and time and time again the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who support their fundamental right to self-defense go to the polls,” she said. “…This year the gun control lobby is screaming louder than ever in an effort to distract voters” from scandals involving top Democrats.

Virginia is generally considered a gun-friendly state and is home to NRA’s headquarters. The General Assembly has rejected numerous gun-control bills — including several proposed for the special session — year after year.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group made a splash at the tail end of the 2015 legislative elections by announcing it was spending $2.2 million in two open state Senate races to help the Democratic candidates.

Republicans were shocked at the amount the billionaire’s group was putting into Virginia, but the spending did not appear to make much difference. One Bloomberg-backed candidate won in a Northern Virginia district that has voted reliably Democratic by large margins in past elections while the other Democratic nominee lost in pivotal swing-seat in the Richmond area.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam summoned the Republican-led Legislature to the Capitol to address gun violence in the wake of the May 31 attack that killed a dozen people in Virginia Beach. He put forward a package of eight gun-control measures and called for “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers” in response to the massacre.

Republicans said it was Northam, still dealing with the fallout of a blackface scandal that almost drove him from office, who had acted improperly. They assigned the state’s bipartisan crime commission to study policy proposals that might have prevented the shooting.

“Quite frankly, we need to take a little bit deeper look at these issues and actually do something rather than stage manage a vote in which we’re just trying to embarrass each other,” state Sen. Mark Obenshain said.

Richard Keene, a 51-year-old gun owner from Chesterfield, said the session turned out to be “a lot of hype for nothing.”

“I’m a little disappointed in everyone, actually,” he said. “I don’t feel like the common, normal person, the normal American, is represented anymore. It’s frustrating.”

The special session got off to a chaotic start, with the Republican Senate majority leader averting a mutiny in the GOP caucus by publicly disavowing a gun-control bill he proposed only a day earlier.

On Monday, the leader, Tommy Norment, shocked fellow Republicans by filing surprise legislation to broadly ban guns in any government building statewide. That prompted an immediate backlash in the GOP caucus, which controls the chamber by a slim 20-19 advantage. His top vote-counter, Sen. Bill Stanley, resigned as majority whip in protest.

But the departure did not last long. Stanley said Norment apologized and asked Stanley to reconsider his resignation. The caucus quickly restored him to his position, and Norment announced that he would throw out his own bill.

After the adjournment, Northam issued a statement saying it was “shameful and disappointing” that Republicans “refuse to do their jobs and take immediate action to save lives.”

The Virginia Beach attack began when a civil engineer opened fire on his co-workers and others. Police said DeWayne Craddock used two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines to kill 12 people at a municipal building. Craddock was then killed in a gunbattle with police.

 

comments

  1. avatar Enuf says:

    Disagree, it is delay, not a win. The shopping list of truly bad ideas did not go down in flames. It was simply pushed out for action after the next election. That is not a clear, decisive win by any stretch of the imagination. It was a parliamentary procedure, a bit of political slieght of hand. The next election will be the determining factor in this round..

    1. avatar Kyle in Upstate NY says:

      It was probably as much of a “win” as could be done in this scenario. The GOP did not go for any of the proposals, which is good. But yes, the real true victory or defeat or somewhere in the middle will be in how the legislative election goes down. Hopefully this will have seriously fired up the gun rights base to get out there and vote while hopefully the Northern Virginia gun controller types will not be as passionate.

      1. avatar Helms Deep says:

        And the N.R.A. was nowhere to be seen , M.I.A,

        But will no doubt claim ” credit ” just the same.

  2. avatar Draven says:

    yeah, my house rep is running for senate and responded to my email in opposition to these gun control measures with reassurances about ‘common sense’ gun control measures and it being ‘about time’….

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      My, how comforting.

    2. avatar Kyle in Upstate NY says:

      Write a very respectful reply explaining how a lot of these so-called “common sense measures” are nothing of the sort.

      1. avatar Baldwin says:

        The only respectful conduct displayed at the event was by the gun rights crowd and the Virginia State Police. I was there and there was nothing “respectful” coming from the mouths of the “common sense” gun grabbers. They wanted all the guns gone…period. Because, you know, guns are violent. There were many, many open carry firearms at the event…none of which jumped out of their holsters and commence to spew violence upon the crowd. But they didn’t let the facts get in their way.

  3. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    All of these gun control politicians should be impeached for being anti constitution fanatics. These dangerous idiots are breaking their oaths and should be removed. I do have a common sense gun control measure, repeal all gun control laws beginning with the 1934 gun control act. Suggest going to the Convention of States website and reading up on this movement that would restore our constitution to what the founding fathers envisioned.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Northam is a not a RINO. He is a DMAR. Democrat Masquerading As Republican.

      1. avatar Frank says:

        Just call them what they are COMMIES

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        I’m pretty sure Northam is a pure democrat not a RINO

  4. avatar DrDKW says:

    Crocodile tears. Wonder how many lIves Northam’s radical abortion ideas were going to save?

  5. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

    It is nothing but virtue signaling from the Democratic Anti-gun Mafia. What ever the Republicans do, the media will use to propagandize against them. The left wants to eliminate gun ownership from the honest citizen, but it will do nothing to hinder the criminal element! Makes one believe that the left supports Satan in his desire to destroy humanity.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Is he trying to get on the Bloomberg gravy-train?

  6. avatar daveinwyo says:

    I really wish I could train my guns to go out and commit some “gun violence”.
    When they get home I will say “bad gun”!! How did you get out?!? bad gun!! wink, wink.

  7. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    Has anyone actually seen a photo of the “silencer” allegedly used by the spree killer? There was speculation initially that it was a barrel shroud or that it might be a homemade oil-filter or similar type of thing. As far as I know there’s no photographic proof that has been provided. This long after the event that cannot be happenstance. It is a deliberate concealment. What is the possible harm in showing a photo of the devices actually used in this crime?

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      According to the enlightened luminaries of the media, it might inspire copycats.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      If they don’t produce proof he did an NFA on a suppressor it either didn’t exist or he did it illegally. An illegal suppressor won’t be disappeared by legislation.

    3. avatar Aaron says:

      They have not shown anything.

  8. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

    The spineless republicans kicked the can. Yeah, they put Ralph, the baby-killer, in his place but now we have to deal with these damned things in November. Had they actually grown a spine or set of cojones, they would have called them up and voted them down. 2 maybe 3 hours. As it is now we have to bust our butts getting out the votes that would have flowed in had they done their job. Fortunately the Republican redistricting plan is in place. That will help a lot. I hope.

  9. avatar George from Alaska says:

    Every day, another battle… and meanwhile many of the young today hunt and fish less and go to rallies against everything, while still living at home and making no contributions to society. Not all though as I see lots of “normal” appearing young shooters at leagues involving shotgun, pistol and rifle. Appleseed is big in Alaska and most every young person I run into here at the stores, food places and gas stations are into the shooting sports and hunting and fishing for food. It was a young woman that worked at the local Walmart who told me in 2016 after I was coming home late from the range (I voted earlier that day) that “Trump won!” I asked her how she knew it was safe to tell me that and she said I just looked right!? There was a 35-ish African-American man who worked there as a checker or bag boy (big career for a middle aged guy – and I knew him for years) who was pretend whining because Trump had won. His chief cry was “I have a daughter”… The other African-American checkers (all women) and the other mixed mutt race employees were jumping his ass very hard… he was actually sent to another check-stand and told not to whine or complain about politics when customers are present…

  10. avatar TFred says:

    The Democrats, especially the Governor, has given their opponents a LOT of ammo for this election. From “The infant would be kept comfortable” to the very long list of draconian gun-control bills that we KNOW would be passed and signed into law, should they take over the legislature.

    Among the worst if them are HB 4021, which outlaws and requires the dispossession of the very vast number of semi-automatic firearms commonly owned by law-abiding Virginia citizens today. With that bill on the record, no honest person can claim that they are not “after your guns.”

    The bill’s summary is:

    “HB 4012 – Prohibiting sale, transport, etc., of assault firearms, certain firearm magazines, trigger activators, and silencers; penalties. Expands the definition of “assault firearm” and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 6 felony to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, purchase, possess, or transport large-capacity firearm magazines, silencers, and trigger activators, all defined in the bill. Any person who legally owns an assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator on November 1, 2019, may retain possession until July 1, 2020. During that time, such person shall (i) render the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator inoperable; (ii) remove the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator from the Commonwealth; (iii) transfer the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator to a person outside the Commonwealth who is not prohibited from possessing it; or (iv) surrender the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator to a state or local law-enforcement agency. The bill establishes an appropriation for the fiscal impact of the bill and authorizes the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget to allocate such appropriation among the agencies and programs impacted by the bill.”

    https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?192+ful+HB4021+hil

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      That right there is a ban and surrender bill for sure. In VA no less.
      We are becoming balkanized very quickly in this country.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    Geez and no one mentioned the crazy black killer was a MUSLIM?!? All the ammo(pun intended!) you need…where was PROOF he had a silencer? “We heard gunshots”. Coonman babykiller and a sexual deviant in power…it should be over😫

    1. avatar RMS1911 says:

      With the proof that a bumpstock was used in Vegas.
      What would it matter what he used?
      Murder is still illegal.
      The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.( It’s to abolish politicians and government that thinks it rules the people)
      Maybe we should punish the fucktards that infringe.

  12. avatar Rokurota says:

    They should have introduced “Kate’s law” to repeal the ban on lawful carry in state government buildings. Northam would have refused to sign it, therefore refusing to “do something”. That would have been a win.

  13. avatar RMS1911 says:

    They should have passed Constitutional carry.

  14. avatar Kyle in Upstate NY says:

    Florida is the one that really has me concerned, that is a real battleground right now with them trying to get the ballot initiative to change the Florida state constitution to ban “assault weapons.”

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Except the ballot initiative process in FL was fixed, and now most of the methods that the leftists normally used to fraudulently inflate their numbers have been forbidden. The larger danger there is in the legislature.

  15. avatar GS650G says:

    Northram has to atone for his sins with the black community. Gun control bills are seen as giving the black voter what they want but what they really want are jobs. Meanwhile the invasion of illegals continues and that strips jobs at the low end of the market. Gun control doesn’t do much for that.
    Ralphy is counting on the influx of new voters from Mexico and the liberal transplants from MD to carry him next time. He’s not going anywhere else from the Gov mansion.

  16. avatar Joe says:

    I truly wish it was possible to send every last one of these government officials who detest the Second Amendment so strongly, back to the country I grew up in. That is, the “wonderful” (cough, cough), now-former Soviet Union. You know it as Russia today. These anti-freedom, anti-gun politicians would feel quite comfortable over there. They could be happy as pigs in you-know-what knowing that no one-not even them-is “allowed” to own those scary guns they are trying to rid the nation and citizens of. I often wonder: Do these crooks-called “politicians”-really understand what it is like to exist being in a disarmed society, living in constant fear? Or are they merely assuming (and taking the risk) that they are going to be one of the top, one percent that is “allowed” to own firearms to keep the rest of us in line?

  17. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Tommy Norment was in my high school class, I respect who he has been in the 55 years since. I can pretend to myself that he was somehow misled or confused about silly-ass gun control concepts which would accomplish exactly nothing. At least he folded quickly on a way-far Democratic bill. Tommy! Just use some common sense!

  18. avatar Zakkova says:

    Ralph Northam is a stupid motherfucking liberal with shit for brains.

  19. avatar Aaron says:

    Republicans should constantly be pushing for “criminal control” for violent perpetrators by enforcing EXISTING laws.

    Additionally, they should loudly and often point out when democrat gun control proposals wouldn’t have impacted the sensational crime that precipitates the proposal. historically, most of the proposed gun control measures would have made zero difference to the crime being used to justify them.

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