AP Photo/Steve Helber
Virginia gun sales soared in December as tens of thousands of Virginians stocked up on firearms, ammunition, magazines, and more in the wake of the Democrats’ takeover of the state legislature in the November elections. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports gun sales in the last month of 2019 were the second highest in state history.
While December is always the busiest month for firearms sales, we are truly in the midst of a buying spree of historic proportions. I was speaking to Scott Ayers at Farmville Sporting Goods not long ago and he told me that any AR-15’s he gets in are pretty much sold as soon as he puts them up for sale (with the exception of those chambered in .223, for some reason). The same goes for 20 and 30 round magazines, but what really surprised me was that Ayers says he sold more suppressors in December than in the past five years combined.
All of these items would be banned outright under HB 961, though owners of AR-15’s and other designated “assault firearms” could receive permission to continue to own their firearms as long as they registered themselves and their guns with the State. Magazines would be illegal to own unless they were permanently modified to only accept ten rounds, and lawfully owned suppressors would be banned with no grandfather clause as well. Yet despite the fact that these items may soon be illegal, it sure looks like a lot of Virginians are buying them, and I doubt they’re considering their purchases a short-term rental.
No, the fact of the matter is that Governor Ralph Northam has surpassed Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke as the state’s best gun salesman, and these gun owners seem like they’re in it for the long haul. That means they either think Northam will fail to get his gun ban through or that he won’t be able to enforce it if the bill does become law.
There is no doubt that Northam’s gun ban is struggling in the legislature right now. In fact, in its current form it doesn’t have the votes to pass, at least at the moment. Is it a safe bet to make that it will fail? No. I’d say right now it’s 50/50 at best, and many other awful gun control bills are almost certain to be signed by Northam even if the gun and accessories ban doesn’t make it to his desk.
It’s my belief that most of these Virginians buying new guns, mags, and suppressors are doing so because they don’t intend on complying with the law and are prepared to engage in a non-violent act of civil disobedience. We’ve seen this in New York with their SAFE Act and in New Jersey with their magazine ban. Honestly, why should we expect anything different in Virginia? These laws are virtually unenforceable, unless it’s an add-on charge against someone arrested for a violent crime. We shouldn’t be surprised if compliance rates are absurdly low.
We also shouldn’t be surprised if gun sales continue to skyrocket in the state of Virginia ahead of the July 1st effective date of any gun control legislation that gets signed by Gov. Northam. If December of 2019 was good enough for the number two spot, look for June of 2020 to set a new state record for gun sales.