Democrats in Virginia are already pre-filing bills in preparation of the 2020 legislative session that will kick off in early January. It’s the first time in 26 years that Democrats are in complete control of the state’s levers of government, and there are few signs that they’ll be treading lightly with their legislative majorities.
State Sen. Dick Saslaw, who represents a blue district in the D.C. suburbs of Fairfax County, has introduced SB 18, a gun control bill that not only imposes universal background checks on firearms transfers, but makes it a “Class 1 misdemeanor for any person knowingly to authorize a child under the age 18 to use a firearm except when the person is under the supervision of an adult.”
When I was in Amelia County last night, I heard several folks in the crowd talking about their kids not being able to go hunting or plinking on their own property if this bill passes, and by my reading, that’s exactly right. In fact, the bill would prohibit juveniles from being able to access a firearm in self-defense, even if you’ve taught your daughter how to use a firearm and believe she’s responsible enough to use one if necessary. If she’s home alone, she better not have access to a gun. If she uses one in self-defense against a burglar, Sen. Saslaw wants the state to argue that the girl would’ve been better off not being able to protect herself, and to charge mom and dad with a misdemeanor.
Meanwhile, under another bill filed by Saslaw, if that same underage daughter decides to get an abortion, you as a parent have no say in the matter. SB 21 removes the requirement that a parent or a judge provide consent before a minor of any age can get an abortion, as well as several other changes to the state’s laws regarding abortion providers.
Saslaw’s not just any state senator. He’s the incoming Senate Majority leader, which means that his bills are going to have the votes they need to become law. That means before long in Virginia, parents won’t be allowed to let their children access firearms for self-defense, and won’t be able to prevent their child from getting an abortion. I called it a double standard earlier, but really it’s not. The commonality is a weakening of parental authority and (ironically enough) the right of mothers and fathers to choose what’s best for their child. The State is swooping in and taking over that responsibility, whether you like it or not.
I’ll take no position on the merits of SB 21 here (I really do try to keep the focus of the website as single issue as I can), but I see no argument in favor of Saslaw’s bill stripping parents of the ability to decide for themselves whether or not their children are responsible enough to handle firearms without adult supervision. Perhaps a case can be made for children under the age of 13, though I still think that infringes on parental authority, but the state is now telling me that if my 14-year old daughter is home alone and someone tries to break in to our rural farmhouse, it’s a crime for me to allow her to use a gun that she’s trained with? If a 17-year old wants to go plinking on his family’s property with his .22, Mom or Dad now has to tag along? A 16-year old can’t be in a tree stand by herself, even if she’s grown up hunting? It’s a ridiculous idea, but before long it’s going to be a ridiculously bad law.