Virginia’s Democrat-controlled House of Delegates approved more than a half-dozen gun control bills Thursday afternoon, including a version of “red flag” legislation, “universal background checks,” and the gutting of Virginia’s firearms preemption laws.
Former delegate Scott Lingamfelter joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about the anti-gun agenda that’s being rushed through the legislature with fierce opposition but little time for debate. The Republican says the actions of Gov. Ralph Northam are a far cry from the man he served with in the Virginia legislature, and Lingamfelter says Northam as “sold his soul” to anti-gun activists and far-Left politicians in an attempt to rehabilitate his image and political career after his blackface controversy in 2019. Make sure you check out the entire interview above, and keep reading for a look at the bills that cleared the House on Thursday afternoon.
HB 2 is a so-called “universal background check” bill that differs significantly from the legislation already approved by the state Senate. HB 2 requires background checks on all sales and transfers of firearms, with only limited exceptions, while the senate version of the background bill applies only to private sales, not transfers.
HB 9 establishes a civil penalty for gun owners who fail to report their firearms lost or stolen within 24 hours. The bill is ostensibly designed to curtail “straw purchases,” but in fact could indemnify individuals who illegally purchase firearms for someone else, as long as they report the firearm missing afterwards.
HB 421 guts the state’s firearms preemption laws and allows for localities to set their own gun control laws regarding the “possession, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof,” meaning that Virginians could soon be forced to learn the various gun laws of dozens of localities in order to stay in compliance. The state senate has passed a similar version that doesn’t go as far as HB 421.
HB 674 is the House version of “red flag” legislation, and it differs substantially from the version approved by the state senate, most notably in the lack of due process protections and the ability for a single law enforcement officer to petition the court for a “substantial risk order”.
HB 812 is handgun rationing, limiting purchases of handguns to one-per-month. Unlike the version passed by the state senate, this bill does not contain an exemption for those who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm in Virginia.
HB 1083 states that any person who “recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony.” The big question is what counts as “reckless.” Some lawmakers expressed concern about what this might mean for minors who hunt, a point echoed by Gabriella Hoffman on Twitter.
What is deemed “reckless” usage for kids under 18 hunting is dubious at best and will be hard to enforce. This relates to minors access to guns during hunting and shooting sports. Hello erosion to Virginia’s sporting/hunting heritage… https://t.co/lSoBuRN3TQ
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) January 30, 2020
In addition to being highly problematic in terms of hunting, the bill could also turn parents into criminals for allowing their 17-year old daughter to access a firearm for self-defense while she was home alone. It’s just one of the many awful bills that have now cleared the house and are heading over to the senate side of the statehouse.
While none of the gun control bills that have cleared their house of origin are supportable from a Second Amendment or public safety standpoint, the House versions are generally more atrocious than the slightly-less-awful versions passed by the state senate. Now we’ll soon see what language the two chambers can agree on, and if the four Democrat state senators who are vocally opposing the current language of Ralph Northam’s gun ban also start to voice their opposition to the broad attacks on legal gun owners approved by the Virginia house.