northam gun control virginia beach
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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By Larry Keane

A new Virginia proposal is closer to receiving the governor’s signature and announcing loudly and clearly: assaulting a law enforcement officer is now more acceptable to legislators in the Commonwealth. The bill, which downgrades the penalty for assaulting a police officer in some cases from a felony to a misdemeanor, passed the Democratic-controlled state senate by a vote of 21-15 and is supported by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

This new proposal is the latest development in the Commonwealth, where the legislature is also considering “defund the police” proposals, in addition to passing stringent gun control measures on Virginians earlier this year.

First, More Gun Control

Existing gun owners in Virginia, as well as those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right for the first time, have already faced severe infringements on their right to keep and bear arms by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. The governor and the Democratic-controlled Virginia Assembly and Senate, with the help of billionaire and failed Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, passed and signed into law several gun control bills during the 2020 legislative session that would turn unsuspecting and law-abiding Virginians into criminals.

Ralph Northam
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

During this time, Virginians already faced unrest and uncertainty due to the initial worries from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Law enforcement was stretched thin. Virginia criminals were even released from jails, many of whom turned back to commit violent crimes right away.

These concerns were legitimate and felt across the country and as a result thousands of Virginians, and millions of Americans, decided to purchase firearms to take their safety into their own hands. But that didn’t stop Gov. Northam and the Virginia legislature from closing down gun stores and shooting ranges, limiting the Second Amendment options of Virginians. That the governor was rebuffed by the courts for his overreach didn’t matter as gun control supporters pushed forward.

Next up, Riots and Looting

In recent months, Americans have witnessed rioting, violence and looting erupt as calls to “defund the police” have echoed across the country. If Virginians weren’t already concerned about their safety or the ability of law enforcement to safeguard their communities, they needn’t look any further than the words of Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. Speaking of the legislature’s remaining 2020 priorities, Filler-Corn stated in June, “We must reimagine the role of policing in our commonwealth and recommend changes in the budget that divest resources from policing.”

Richmond confederate monument
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

The Virginia governor and legislature have now enacted laws to limit Virginians’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights, while at the same time voicing their desire to “divest resources from policing” in Virginia communities.

We know the Virginia General Assembly will be back at it during the 2021 legislative session working to erode even more rights of law-abiding gun owners, including eyeing a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” “large capacity” magazines, suppressors and more.

“What in the World Are We Doing?”

The passage of Virginia Senate Bill 5032 now escalates the concerns of Virginians already worried about public safety and the rise of violence perpetrated against law enforcement officers across the country. Republican State Senator John Cosgrove, Jr., criticized the bill and admonished his Democratic colleagues for passing the proposal, stating “What in the world are we doing? Have you seen the attacks on police officers?”

The proposal heads to the Virginia House now, where Democrats hold a 55-45 advantage. The prospects of the bill passing are good and would then head to Gov. Northam’s desk for his signature.

Ralph Northam closeup
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Americans have voiced their concerns for their own safety by exercising their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm. In fact, nearly 5 million have done so for the first time so far in 2020.

As the 2020 elections draw near and communities face more calls by citizens to protect their right to keep and bear arms, or for more gun control limiting that right and to further “defund the police,” Americans should utilize NSSF’s #GUNVOTE campaign so they don’t risk their rights at the ballot box in November.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. Why doesn’t someone in VA make the same rule regarding legislators? It should be legal to assault them with no consequence. This “Not for me, but for thee” crap needs to stop. Make them vote FOR one and then make them vote AGAINST the other one to show their hypocrisy.

    • In the latest numbers 32 officers have been killed (shot) in the line of duty nationwide in 2020, In 2019 53 officers were killed (shot) in the line of duty. In 2018, 2 were beaten to death and 53 were killed(shot). What each person needs to do is ask your State and Federal Congressmen and Senator how they would react if it were politicians that were dying at this rate for simply doing their job. I’m sure the responses will be priceless.

    • If you look at what is actually happening, you would see that they are bringing crimes against the police back in line with crimes against citizens. This actually brings crimes against police back in line with the same crimes against legislators… They are literally doing what you are suggesting- making the crimes against legislators, police, and everyday citizens the same.

      • Actually No. If you assault a Federal Congressperson, Senator or Federal Employee it is automatically a Felony even if the assault would be classified as a simple misdemeanor when committed on Joe Citizen.

        • The logic behind the extra protection for Federal agents and reps is the “continuity of government”. If Joe Six Pack gets assaulted and has to miss a day of work, the country still runs. If a Federal agent (LEA, Senator, Rep, etc.) is assaulted and is traumatized enough to have to miss a day of work (chuckle, snort), the government is hampered from operating as designed (again, chuckle, snort) and we all allegedly suffer for it. Or so the logic goes.

        • Assuming you are correct, what prison is now home to the neighbor who nearly killed Rand Paul, attacking him from behind and breaking 6 ribs? Or is that only if you assault liberal legislators?

        • “Assuming you are correct, what prison is now home to the neighbor who nearly killed Rand Paul, attacking him from behind and breaking 6 ribs?”

          Already wrapped up :

          “Sen. Rand Paul’s attacker receives longer prison sentence”

          “Sen. Rand Paul’s former neighbor has been resentenced to an extra seven months behind bars and six months in home detention for tackling the Kentucky lawmaker over lawn care”

      • Just as looting is not theft but assault on civil society so is an assault on its guardians. Penalties for attacking civil society have always been higher than crimes against individuals. That why looters used to be shot where a common thief would not be.

        • some years ago illinois made utility worker assault a felony. in august, our one man mass gathering guvna made it a felony to assault anyone enforcingmask or distancing protocols.
          so if you’re a cop you better be enforcing chingchong policy when assaulted.

        • It is now a felony to assault 1st Responders of any classification as well as state workers while in the performance of their duties in many states, Even again if the assault against Joe citizen is classified as a Misdemeanor. A DCFS in Illinois was attacked and beaten by a father out on bond for child endangerment while attempting to take control of a child. She sustained traumatic brain injuries. Because DCFS workers were covered under the 1st Responder Law. The attack was considered a misdemeanor assault. until she died several weeks later. All attempts to provide DCFS workers with enhanced protections as well as Felony status for Assault while on duty have been blocked by Democrats who have been focusing on Decreasing the jail and prison population and Criminal Justice Reform. DCFS worker’s death sparks calls for change – News – Journal Star – Peoria, IL

        • “some years ago illinois made utility worker assault a felony.”

          I think that came about because some folks started attacking utility workers turning off the power (perhaps because they they didn’t pay the electric bill?)…

    • VA legislators have made it illegal to engage in political demonstrations near the homes of VA legislators, at least while the legislature is in session.

      But I’m sure a majority of those now in office are, or at least were before it caused political backlash, fine with burning down property belonging to people who have no connections to government or politics and calling it a political demonstration.

    • Back the badge.
      Not just legislators.
      Same rules for everyone (including protestors, judges,…)

      As noted, the rules gor thee apply to me…

  2. Is this making the penalty for assaulting police less or the same for assaulting other people? I don’t think there should be special classes under law law – either with greater or lesser protection.

    • Yes, that is basically what they are doing. I’m no fan of what the pols in VA, but this article (and those like it on other platforms) are misleading.

        • Basically assault against anyone should warrant the same punishment. Off-Duty, On-duty, or simply the local garbage man should be protected equally under the law. VA is just making it so crimes against law enforcement don’t automatically carry felony charges. It’s still an additional charge, but its not an auto-felony.

        • You getting assaulted is not the same think as an assault on a police officer. You don’t represent anything. He represents civil order. Assaults on the civil order have always been treated more severely.

        • I have no objection against enhanced penalties for assaults on UNIFORMED police officers, including off-duty but still wearing the uniform, like going home after shift. If you are some manner of undercover, pretending to not be police while looking like not police, then someone who assaults you should not be prosecuted for attacking police. Seems kinda duh!

  3. anyone who instigates an assault is already voting for these jamokes. i don’t see some new group being persuaded to vote stupidity from this. we’ll see if all this blumeburg inspired crap motivates virginians to oust this clown.
    tasked with law enforcement i’d want skull cracking to be mandatory for defending against attacks. this will just cause more popo fetality.

  4. I’m going to be the odd man out on this one. I say we end all carve outs for police, politicians, teachers etc. Enforce the laws vigorously when anyone hurts anyone else. This is anything from higher sentences for assault to guns that are allowable.

    • “I say we end all carve outs for police, politicians, teachers etc.”

      Ditto for “hate crimes” charging and enhanced penalties. Assault is assault, murder and mayhem is equal regardless of one’s race, gender or sexual preference/identity.

      Want to go beyond the law as it applies to everyone equally? Let God be the judge. Protected classes, in general, are a joke.

  5. “Equal justice under law” is supposed to be the way things are done in this country.
    There should be no special “carve-outs” for politicians, police, or other groups. This should apply especially to “hate crime” enhancements which actually put certain “protected” groups “above the law” in many cases.
    Police are no more “special” than anyone else and should be treated the same as everyone else.
    While we are at it, get rid of official “immunity” for all public officials…

    • Come to think about it, your right. The penalty for attacking civil order should be the same for everyone. The death penalty. That means looters and those who assault representatives of civil society.

      • “Come to think about it, your right. The penalty for attacking civil order should be the same for everyone. The death penalty.”

        That’s one way to cure chronic speeding. Summary execution, roadside.

        Blow through a red light, get blown away by ‘Johnny Law’, right then and there.

        (Imagine the fear as you notice a lot of notches on the nightstick of a cop walking up to your car… 🙂 )

    • Equal justice is fine. What about unequal risk levels? Equal justice tempered with levels of exposure and increased risks?

      We’re gonna send people out to actively engage with known and unknown criminals, a whole wide range of volatility and danger, and we’re just gonna sit back at home and Monday morning quarterback the shitshow they deal with? Every. Single. Day.

      Misdemeanors my azz.

      • When James Hodgkinson attacked the members of Congress on the softball field he wasn’t attacking a bunch of people. He was attacking the Congress of the United States. That is at least sedition and arguably taking up arms against the United States. There are a lot of people here who cannot differentiate between this and a guy wh shoots up a bunch of random people. You can make an argument that someone who unknowingly attacks an off duty officer or doesn’t know his mugging victim is a judge, legislator, Member of Congress or other elected official should be subject to same penalties that an attack any other citizen but that is not what they are arguing. There is a subset of the gun community that has the same mindset of Antifa even if they see themselves on the other side of a particular issue.

        • “There is a subset of the gun community that has the same mindset of Antifa even if they see themselves on the other side of a particular issue.”

          Also many in the same subset are against using deadly force to protect private property. But they are very comfortable allowing government and private property to be burned and looted. By criminals.

    • Because of the statements you’ve made against the ‘ebil jooz’ and your denials of the holocaust I see where you’re headed with eliminating ‘hate crimes’.

      You want to be able to burn crosses with no consequences.

  6. Government employees should not have protections that citizens do not have. While we are at it, end all immunity for actions of government employees too.

  7. Cops are bootlickers that do as they are told not what’s right! They enforce laws not protect us! They only arrest the good people that protect themselves!

  8. You can get an assault on a LEO just trying to talk your way out of arrest. Just putting your hands up, like when you normally talk to someone can get you a resisting arrest. Tripping on the way to the back seat can be turned into assault. Not to mention punching an undercover/off duty cop when he gets in your face. This stuff happens especially when alcohol is involved(by either party).

    Maybe it is time to adjust these laws. LEOs used to be part of the community, but like in big cities, many seem to take an us vs them attitude. We need people to be reasonable on both sides, which is the reason we are at this crossroads today in our country.

    • “LEOs used to be part of the community, but like in big cities, many seem to take an us vs them”

      What helped community and police relations were the police athletic leagues and the “Officer Friendly” program. That were discontinued by Left wing controllers of the cities. There are some departments that are running Jr. Police Academies. A police summer camp for kids. You tube has many very positive videos. The kids even train with guns. Perhaps this is where Kyle Rittenhouse had gotten his training?

  9. VA changes so much the past 20 years. The elections reflect the new demographics of the most populated areas of the state in numbers and money. It will be exactly like M.D. very shortly.

  10. Mean while in the other socialist Paradise state of California:

    “California lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would reduce penalties for adults who have oral or anal sex with a willing minor child if the sex offender is within ten years of the age of the victim.”

    Just making California even more attractive for the “rainbow crowd”. So of course they disarmed the population first. And removed 2A education and rifle teams from the public schools. But you can still have sex in public on days the government gives you permission, during The Folsom Street Fair or any average pride parade.

  11. The extreme left and the Democrats hunger for power has led them to really go overboard. They would rather oppose the Republicans and take from citizens than create laws that provide fair treatment and that are reasonable. They’ll take away our right to own guns just to make the point that “they’re in charge”.

    It’s a blind drive to demonstrate power and to turn the country socialist. This will not benefit them and in fact it hurts them and their own supporters and families. They can only execute so many exceptions for politicians before it’s obviously a system where they are untouchable and are never held accountable while the rest of us are always subject to restrictions, limitations, arrest, prosecution and punishment.

    Perfect example are these protests. Many innocent people have been hurt, killed or lost their livelihoods through destruction of businesses or social media harassment of employers who bow and pander to the mobs and fire anyone the left dislikes. When these measures backfire and happen to a liberal they cry foul and act so offended and disgusted it’s a joke. Simply put they love to dish it out, but if any of theirs are affected they can’t take it and seek retribution or forgiveness.

    What was once a two party system is now the Republican party and the party of traitors who want to seize total power and control all so they can destroy this country and make us vulnerable to outside influences that want to see the downfall of the United States. And then those fools will cry foul again when they are backstabbed and discarded, maybe even imprisoned or executed by their foreign allies.


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