Election Day is November 5 in Virginia, and if a new poll is to be believed, it could signal the start of the biggest assault on the Second amendment in state history. Every seat in the state legislature is up for election this year, and Democrats only need to seize four suburban districts in the House and Senate in order to enact a sweeping anti-gun agenda.
Some 53% of voters surveyed said they want Democrats to hold majorities in the two chambers of the General Assembly, compared with 37% who said they want Republicans to maintain control of both.
The survey questioned voters on prominent campaign issues including guns, abortion, health care, the minimum wage, transportation spending and education. Barring a few exceptions, Virginia voters supported Democratic positions.
For example, some 83% of respondents said they were more likely to choose a candidate who would support a law requiring background checks for all gun purchases in the state. Just over two-thirds of voters surveyed said they would be more likely to back a candidate who supports an assault weapons ban, and a similar number of respondents said they would favor a candidate who supports a $15 minimum wage.
Now, if you ask these same respondents about whether or not they support putting people in prison for non-violent weapons offenses, and I imagine support would drop dramatically (although given the anti-gun hysteria of many these days, it might not drop as much as I’d like to imagine). These gun control laws sound great to non-gun owners in theory, but in practice, it doesn’t always work out in practice. Of course once a bad law is on the books, it’s really hard to get it taken off, and that’s what gun control activists are hoping for.
The survey also reveals an enthusiasm gap among Republican and Democrats in the state.
The survey also found an enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters ahead of November’s elections. Some 84% of Democrats said they will “definitely vote,” while 74% of Republicans and 75% of independents said they would definitely go to the polls.
“Democrats have a pretty big enthusiasm advantage,” said Rachel Bitecofer, the assistant director of the Wason Center. She conducted the poll along with her colleague, Quentin Kidd, the director of the center.
Bitecofer added, “Democrats are leading pretty sizable advantages with independents.”
We’ve seen a fair amount of infighting among Republicans in Virginia lately, from Congressman Denver Riggleman being censured by a few county committees over his officiating at the same-sex wedding of two friends to State Senator Amanda Chase being booted out of the Chesterfield County Republican Party. We’ve also seen Delegate Nick Freitas, who won re-election handily two years ago, forced to mount a write-in re-election campaign after a paperwork issue left him off the ballot. It’s a shame, but it’s also understandable, that these incidents are sticking in the minds of Republicans more than the efforts of Republicans like Delegate Todd Gilbert, who unveiled a fantastic proposal to combat gang violence that the media and Democrats have steadfastly refused to talk about.
If Democrats win back the legislature next month, we’ll see a flurry of laws introduced, including “’red flag’ legislation, an “assault weapons” ban (perhaps even with a so-called “buyback” attached), a magazine ban, universal background checks, one-gun-per month laws, and perhaps even a gun licensing bill. Gun control groups from around the country are helping to volunteer for anti-gun candidates, and gun owners in Virginia need the support of Second Amendment supporters from across the nation. Volunteer with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, NRA-ILA, and any other group that’s actually on the ground and engaged in voter outreach efforts.
Virginia voters need to be engaged as well. I actually heard from Dale in Virginia, who’s gone from being a guy who just comments online to making contact with his local candidate and volunteering. We need more Dales right now. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and Virginia gun owners should be treating this election like their rights depend on it. In large part, they do.