This post was been corrected on 1/30/20. I was unaware of Article IV, Section 13 of the Virginia state constitution. That provision specifies that laws passed “shall take effect on the first day of July following the adjournment of the session.” This was brought to my attention by Richard Hutchison, whom I thank for correcting me. Accuracy is important, and I blew it due to a false assumption.
There’s a morbidly amusing video circulating that shows Virginia Delegate Mark Levine speaking at a town hall meeting. This is a man who knows virtually nothing about firearms. (Be sure to swallow your coffee before pressing PLAY).
We learn from Del. Levine that magazines are “red-hot,” mass shooting guns are “guns that go like this,” that “a semi-automatic is you can shoot with each finger,” and that his “assault firearm” bill carefully distinguishes between your hunting guns and the mass murder guns.
I’m sure there was more, but I didn’t manage to view it all the way through.
Most importantly, he asserted that, unlike Senator Saslaw’s SB 16, his bill grandfathers existing “assault firearms.”
As it relates to “assault firearms,” HB 961 amends two existing Virginia statutes, and adds a third.
First up is § 18.2-308.8. This is the statute that defines and outlaws “assault firearms.” The only exceptions to an otherwise total ban is for military and law enforcement official duties. Mere citizens have no exemptions.
Next is § 18.2-308.13. This is the new statute and it’s what Levine is peddling as the grandfathering part. At first glance, you might think that’s what it is. I think there’s a serious problem with the fact that this bill creates completely conflicting statutes.
Which statute do you think the state police will cite in order to arrest people; 308.8 or 308.13? Someone who is arrested, and their “assault firearm” is confiscated can fight back under 308.13, but that takes time and money. And you probably won’t ever get your firearm back. More on that later.
Initially 308.13 looks like grandfathering, but there’s a catch. You have to legally own the “assault firearm” “on July 1, 2020.” On, not before. You may apply for a permit which requires registration. There’s an amnesty period ending January 1, 2021.
The tricky part is the date of possession, and when the law would go into effect. The bill specifies no “law becomes effective on,” so it becomes effective once signed by Gov. I Coonman. If passed and signed, the law would be enacted on July 1, and § 18.2-308 kicks in and every newly-minted “assault firearm” becomes contraband unless it’s registered and permitted.
But until § 18.2-308.13 becomes effective, you cannot get a permit. Your firearm becomes illegal and you cannot lawfully possess it “on July 1, 2020″.
There are a couple of interesting tidbits in the grandfathering section. One is the government photo ID requirement.
A person shall have the permit on his person at all times when he is transporting an assault firearm in accordance with this subsection and shall display the permit and a photo identification issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. State Department upon demand by a law-enforcement officer.
That’s clearly racist. We know that because the same Virginia Democrats who are pushing this are also pushing HB 19 which eliminates the government photo ID requirement for voting because they say that requirement racially discriminates against blacks and minorities. (Yes, the real reason is to enable unlawful vote fraud, especially by illegal aliens who tend to vote Democrat.) But…racism. Take every opportunity to throw that in their faces.
Another point goes back to that town hall video where Levine explained how this doesn’t ban hunting firearms, just those nasty mass murder guns that “go like this.”
D. A person issued a permit to possess an assault firearm pursuant to subsection B may possess an assault firearm only under the following conditions:
3. While engaged in lawful hunting; or
Yes, those guns that Levine says aren’t used in hunting? Apparently you can use them to go hunting (despite being “wildly inaccurate”). Del. Levine is a blithering nitwit (as I took time to inform him).
Now, I mentioned that if the police arrest you under § 18.2-308.8 and take your firearm, you probably won’t ever get it back, even if acquitted under § 18.2-308.13. That’s because this bill also amends § 18.2-308.28, which now specifies that firearms may be seized under § 18.2-308.8 and disposed of under § 18.2-308.29, which in turn says they can just destroy them.
Buckle up, Virginians.