AP Photo/Steve Helber
As a Virginia gun owner who would love nothing more than to watch an intra-party fight between Democrats over how far to push their anti-gun agenda, more of this please.
People in the room — including gun control advocates who liked the bill — believe Democrats killed it because Petersen voted against the assault weapons bill yesterday https://t.co/jm9L9aoZD2
— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) February 18, 2020
Friedenberger’s the state capitol correspondent for the Roanoke Times, and she’s one of the only reporters I’ve seen that’s covered this act of political pettiness on the part of House Democrats angry that their gun ban bill was killed in a Senate committee this week, though the Virginia Mercury‘s Graham Moomaw noted that Petersen, a northern Virginia Democrat, appeared on Fox News to defend his vote. For House Democrats, that’s almost as bad as his vote on HB961.
Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, went on Fox and Friends this morning to explain why he voted against the assault weapon bill.
“I was surprised, frankly, that the bill came over from the House of Delegates,” he sayshttps://t.co/ptZXyeXR6W
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) February 18, 2020
Killing Sen. Petersen’s bill that passed unanimously out of the state Senate is an act of pure political pettiness on the part of House Democrats, but Petersen won’t be impacted. Instead, it will be part-time law enforcement officers who bear the brunt of the anti-gun Democrats’ willingness to play games with public safety. House Democrats aimed for Petersen but ended up hitting Virginia residents, all because they wanted to send a message to Petersen that he’s going to pay a political price for his intransigence.
Will House Democrats also target bills by Sen. John Edwards, who chaired the Judiciary Committee that sent HB961 off to the Virginia Crime Commission to be studied instead of voting to pass the gun ban? What about Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat who was the one to propose letting the VCC study the bill instead of lawmakers voting on it? If not, why not? They’ve already demonstrated their petulance with the political temper tantrum they threw on Tuesday morning. Why stop now?
We have about three weeks left in the legislative session, and the more in-fighting among Senate and House Democrats the better. Many of the gun control proposals passed by the state Senate have been modified by the House of Delegates, and they’ll likely end up in a conference committee to hash out the differences. I suspect that behind closed doors, Democrats will work for a way to come to an agreement on the gun control bills, but stories like this give me a little bit of hope that the rancor will last long enough to kill the momentum for at least a few more of Ralph Northam’s gun control proposals, whether its in a conference committee or even on the Senate floor.
We’ve already seen the state Senate vote down a bill dealing with lost-or-stolen firearms, as well as Senate committee reject a bill that would have criminalized parents allowing their 17-year old daughter access to a firearm for self-defense while she was home alone. Similar measures have passed the House, however, and those versions will likely be considered in Senate committees in coming days.
There are also major differences in the “red flag” bills passed by both the House and Senate, as well as legislation that would remove some of the firearms preemption language in state law. In both cases, the House version is worse than the Senate language, though in neither case did the Senate approve bills that would be supportable by Second Amendment advocates.
In fact, on Wednesday’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co I’ll be sharing an interview I did today with Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about the red flag proposals and why the sheriff believes the measure doesn’t just infringe on the rights of Virginians, but fails to address or even acknowledge the crisis in the state’s mental health system. Be sure to check out the interview tomorrow, and in the meantime, stay tuned for more tales of Democrat disunity from the Virginia state capitol.