AP Photo/Steve Helber
Congressman Denver Riggleman, who represents Virginia’s 5th district that stretches from Charlottesville south to the Virginia/North Carolina border, says he’s concerned about Governor Northam’s declaration of a temporary state of emergency and a ban on firearms in Capitol Square in advance of Monday’s Lobby Day activities.
Speaking to WVIR-TV, Riggleman said that the governor has a duty to err on the side of the constitutional rights of Virginia residents.
“Yeah, there’s an emotional aspect of this – it’s awful. But I think you always have to err on the side of constitutional rights and know that there are bad people out there. I know that’s not the politically correct thing to say, especially in Charlottesville. But when you go down in Buckingham, when you go down in the south side, you don’t have gun violence. You have people who hunt every day, love their kids, protect America and as a constitutionalist, it’s very difficult for me not to support those who say this is an overreach by the new administration at the state house.”
Full disclosure; Denver Riggleman is my representative in Congress, and I’ve generally been pleased with what he’s done while in office. He knows full well that his comments are going to drive gun control activists in the Charlottesville area to hammer him, but he’s still speaking out in defense of his constituents and their constitutional rights.
Riggleman is right about the people in Buckingham County and Virginia’s southside. I’ve spoken to dozens of residents at various county supervisors meetings over the past two months, and none of them are calling for civil war or the storming of the governor’s mansion. They’re simply asking to be left alone, and they’re telling lawmakers in Richmond that they have no plans of complying with any unconstitutional gun control laws.
Their efforts in civil engagement may be starting to pay off. The Associated Press ran a little-noticed story a couple of days ago highlighting the fact that several Democrats in Virginia’s state senate are expressing reservations and concern about HB 961, a proposed ban on so-called “assault firearms”, magazines that can accept more than ten rounds, and suppressors.
Some top Virginia Democratic senators are expressing reservations about plans to ban assault weapons – a key part of the new Democratic majority’s gun-control proposals and one that’s drawn fierce resistance from gun-rights advocates.
“A lot of people don’t really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is,” said Democratic Sen. John Edwards. “It’s going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we’re studying it, that’s all I can say.”
He’s one of at least four moderate senators – the others are Sens. Chap Petersen, Creigh Deeds and Lynwood Lewis – who are skeptical of plans to ban assault weapons. None of them has ruled out voting for an assault weapon ban, but all have said they aren’t impressed with any of the drafts of proposed bans they’ve seen.
“I’ve not seen an enforceable bill that makes sense yet,” Deeds said.
Ralph Northam doesn’t need all four senators to sign off, but with a narrow 21-19 Democrat majority in the state senate, he needs at least two of the “moderate” Democrats to get on board. Senator Edwards is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has approved four gun control bills so far, though the senate’s gun ban bill was killed in committee at the request of the sponsor.
Today is the final day for new legislation to be introduced for this legislative session. We’ll see soon enough if another gun ban bill is filed, but in the meantime, I hope the good people of Virginia that Rep. Riggleman talked about continue to write, email, and call their lawmakers urging them to oppose Northam’s anti-gun and anti-gun owner agenda.